Chief Marketing Officer

Conversant's SVP of Business Development Explores How to Build Successful Brand Relationships

Matt Martella, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Conversant, examined brand relationships and how companies can foster meaningful partnerships with their clients during a Thought Leadership Spotlight to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2016 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum: Spotlight on Retail and Consumer Goods & Services in New York on April 13. In his presentation, “From ’50 First Dates’ to Creating Real Relationships for Your Brand,” Martella discussed the concept of one-to-one marketing and its impact on today’s businesses.

2016 represents the year of one-to-one marketing, according to Martella. And with the right one-to-one marketing plan in place, a company can bolster its partnerships with customers for years to come.

Typically, a business may offer consumers a wide range of products and services and market these offerings online. But in many cases, a company will fail to build a long-lasting connection with an individual consumer if it simply blasts out messages to a broad target audience. And in the long run, a business that lacks insights into its customer base could put its brand reputation at risk.

Martella used an example to highlight his point. He noted that he once searched for running shoes online, and afterwards, was bombarded with ads for running shoes for several weeks.

This example shows that a company that repeats the same message over and over is unlikely to foster a long-lasting partnership with a customer. And ultimately, this company may damage its brand reputation, and perhaps even worse, risks alienating consumers.

“When I think about brands that connect, it’s like having lunch with your best friends,” Martella noted. “When you sit down, the conversation picks up where you left off.”

Marketing should be additive, Martella said, and marketers should be able to provide value to consumers day after day.

“It’s not just what you’re doing digitally, it’s what you’re doing across all of your marketing channels.”

However, consumers often suffer poor experiences with businesses, which can have long-lasting effects on both consumers and companies.

For example, a consumer who continues to repeatedly receive promotional messages from a company may tune out these notifications. Furthermore, this consumer may choose a rival. Plus, there is always the risk that a consumer could share his or her feelings about its poor experience with peers, which can cause substantial damage to a business’ reputation.

Comparatively, a company should strive to deliver a personalized experience to each customer — something that usually is easier said than done.

“The customer should say, ‘This brand gets me,'” Martella said. “But that’s not what we experience as consumers.”

People-based marketing remains paramount because it can help a business establish personalized relationships with customers.

With a people-based marketing approach, a company can explore ways to proactively and persistently connect with its target audience. Thus, a company can find out how customers think and feel about its offerings and use this feedback to make ongoing improvements as well.

“When I think about brands that connect, it’s like having lunch with your best friends. When you sit down, the conversation picks up where you left off.”

In addition, people-based marketing ensures a company can open the lines of communication with customers, both now and in the future.

“Most digital marketing is very reactive in nature,” Martella noted. “We go look at a red shoe, the red shoe chases us around for two weeks. It’s never very proactive.”

Staying connected with consumers in today’s digital world requires persistence. But companies that are able to remain connected to consumers can maintain consistent communication with them and better understand their needs.

A business must be able to measure both return on investment (ROI) and incremental ROI to optimize the value of its marketing efforts. Having the right metrics in place is key, as this empowers a company with actionable insights it can use to improve its marketing efforts. As such, a business will be able to use this data to forge long-term partnerships with consumers.

Achieving “marketing awesomeness” should become a goal for businesses of all sizes. Regardless of whether a company invests heavily in digital tools, it can work toward improving all of its marketing efforts and ensuring that its marketing campaigns foster ongoing communications with customers.

“It’s not just what you’re doing digitally, it’s what you’re doing across all of your marketing channels,” Martella said. “It is the impact of the mix.”

So what does it take to find the right blend of marketing channels for your business?

First, a company must consider its clientele and how it can best connect with its customer base every day. A business also must work with its clients to ensure they are fully supported and that its marketing efforts highlight the value of its products and services. And lastly, a company must collect and evaluate feedback from its customers to ensure it can explore innovative ways to improve its marketing campaigns.

Building a strong brand reputation requires hard work and patience for major corporations and small and medium-sized businesses alike. But for marketers who embrace one-to-one marketing, they can move closer to developing consistent partnerships with customers and improving the customer experience.

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's 2019 Marketing Dinner: Leading Change and Collaboration in Chicago, IL on Sep 10, 2019

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