Traditionally the idea of “customer touches” has referred to the minimum number of communications a prospect needs to receive before taking some form of action. (Research consistently suggests around 6 to 7 contacts)
The evolution and rapid growth of internet marketing alternatives (Google/Yahoo, Constant Contact, Social Media, self-developed e-mail campaigns etc.) have complicated and in many created false expectations of the associated cost/benefits. Organizations assume that internet marketing is a low cost (no print or postage expense) and more targeted approach to building sales and either eliminate or substantially scale back print communications. As with a lot of other experiences, reality is a lot messier. The internet customer “touch” process is dependent on many variables often outside the control of the sender:
- computer processing capability,
- internet access speed/firewalls,
- ineffective networking,
- “delete” without reading,
- “save” without ever reading,
- printing out on a poor printer thereby degrading the intended message,
Additionally, search engines are steadily increasing “hit” fees and the productivity of these “hits” are steadily eroding. One final (and often overlooked) factor is that effective Internet marketing requires substantially enhanced human and technological resources to transfer creative design/content onto a computer platform, optimize it for effective Internet distribution and electronically archive it.
At the same time print media companies are improving efficiencies with low cost/high quality process color printing, variable data printing allowing highly targeted information every bit as effective as the internet, with the added bonus of a highly appealing visual communication that the prospect can process at a time/location completely of their own choosing.
Further complicating this process is the reality that the purpose of the communication can vary dramatically, from long term brand building to gathering market intelligence to building short term sales.
Inevitably, this suggests a need to intelligently use both internet based and print ( and of course TV/radio depending on the scale of enterprise) strategies in order to achieve the most effective customer “touch” experience and that the relative emphasis between the two approaches will vary from project to project.
Post by Mehdi Alister