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After all my meetings and discussions with marketing professionals, in agencies and with advertisers, I’m forced to the conclusion that there are thousands of ways of approaching the same idea and the same concept, thanks to the boundless creativity of marketers. And if there are thousands of ways to bring an idea to life, there are as many ways of activating it through the plethora of channels that are now available for customer interaction. However, one concept remains static and unchanging, spreading terror in the marketing departments of all the brands with which I’ve had the opportunity to work: marketing pressure.

First of all, let’s start by approaching it from the opposite angle and talking about optimisation marketing instead of pressure marketing (some people say commercial pressure). That’s a good thing: marketing campaign solution providers almost all talk about optimisation. That leads us straight away to two conclusions: the tools exist, and we do indeed talk about using them as levers for improvement and optimisation. We’re not looking at remedial action.

To be able to address this second finding, the subject of this article, I am going to linger a little on the first and consider it, too, against the grain. Optimisation tools for marketing campaigns exist, but they provide absolutely no understanding. It’s the way that marketers tackle their strategy and their contact plan, allied to all the accessory factors, that can turn what might seem like a stone in your shoe into a distinguishing factor and added value for the positioning of the business.

The customer – The message – Outbound communications

The marketer must understand what campaign optimisation, or pressure marketing, consists of. Many people define it as an indicator measuring the average number of messages received by the customer when all the channels used for outbound communications are aggregated. Often, there is a focus on marketing or commercial messages, excluding service messages or management e-mails (subscription confirmations, invoice notifications, etc.)

The constitutive elements in this marketing pressure are therefore:

  • The customer
  • The message
  • Outbound communications (the linkage between customer and message) and their characteristics (timing, channel, etc.)

Thinking through your marketing optimisation strategy

Some major questions need to be addressed beforehand when setting out your marketing optimisation strategy.

Let’s start by asking: what is the point of upgrading this marketing optimisation?

Try applying the seven whys technique, you’ll be surprised. It is very difficult not to fall into banalities in which you have no real belief. So if you have to do it, start by understanding why, and what objective it will serve.

In a very basic way, you’ll establish some levels, some thresholds (the number of communications per channel that represents the upper contact limit). It’s entirely arbitrary, but failing anything better, it’s a start.

It is crucial to take account of attachment to the sector/brand/product or service type via the behavioural data that you can now cross-reference with your customer and transaction data. That’s just what your DMP colleagues are talking about (Data Management Platform). I recommend that you get in touch with them!

Finding the right balance

Nothing human is immutable. So we have to take account of the elasticity of customer perceptions. What seems intrusive to one is within the balance range for others.

You are not the only people to contact the customer! Overall pressure should be imagined within a system that takes account of competitors. Of course you have no wish to do your competitors a favour by leaving them space in your customer’s heart and mailbox. So your actions must be more accurate and relevant. Target the opening of the message, not its reception, and stop sending the same message to the whole database.

Think about the cross-fire on multi-brand customers (mixers). Receiving several newsletters from associated brands rather than one joint mail could be a hindrance.

Consider outbound and inbound communications

Only thinking about outbound communications fails to consider the phenomenon as a whole. Inbound communications must be considered too. For example, if a customer calls to open an incident, take it into account!

Analytics are your friend. We pay enough to that data scientist so let’s make use of his analytical thinking to take decisions based on data and statistics. Make the data talk!

Use marketing trends to detect the accelerators, differentiators, facilitators, and simple measures to introduce. This is where – in my view – the marketer’s talents can be expressed and on which a large part of the victory depends. Have you heard of Nudge marketing? A pity! (it’s another subject that we’ll need to talk about soon).

Keep in mind the reasons for the perception of marketing/commercial pressure

The marketer must keep in mind the reasons for the perception of commercial or marketing pressure.

The quality of the message

The key criterion, without doubt, is the quality of the message as opposed to the quantity of messages (from quantity to quality).

Send as many messages as you like but only if the message is a good one and expresses who you are. Never send a message that you think is incomplete. You have a marketing plan to follow? OK, carry on firing into the void. Your message will not be read and the concept of ROI will become just that bit more inaccessible…

The relevance of the message

The relevance of a message to the customer is crucial if you want him to take notice of it (from mass marketing to targeted marketing).

The message must be in line with the customer’s context and interests. Of course, it is the relevance of the messages that will automatically reduce the number of communications you can allow yourself to send to a given customer.

Customer proximity and relationship with the brand

The degree of customer proximity and his relationship with the brand will be a significant factor in how likely he is is to welcome an interaction with you.

Should we take a different approach to a prospect, a brand ambassador, a descendant (with an identified attrition risk), a good customer? Definitely!

Come back soon for a new article in which we’ll tackle the issue of channels.

Business & Decision

I was part of the Digital Transformation Business unit as a manager where my mission can be summarized like that: “Design business for IT and the other way round”

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