With the proliferation of digital screens in-car, in-home, in-wearables and more, the traditional linear marketing model no longer works. Marketers have endless opportunities to create personalized, meaningful engagements with consumers across all of these new touchpoints, yet many are still missing the mark.

In fact, recent DMA research asked marketers what was the most effective activity they could undertake. More than half responded, “Creating relevant and compelling content,” yet 40 percent said this was also the most challenging activity.

It’s time for marketers to adopt a new model that moves beyond fragmented, single-channel communications, and instead creates a dialogue with the customer at each touchpoint along the customer journey. 

Touchpoint marketing is an approach that moves beyond the traditional linear marketing engagement model and aims to orchestrate an enticing and contextual customer experience across every online and offline touchpoint. With this approach, brands can drive deeper engagement and loyalty, building a larger pool of high-value customers by:

  • Creating compelling, emotional customer experiences for every point of the customer journey
  • Moving from a linear marketing model to the customer lifecycle model
  • Shifting from personalized campaigns to contextual interactions 

Create an Emotional Customer Experience

Each customer has a unique journey and must receive content that is relevant at each step of that journey. Understanding each customer and knowing how and when to engage them takes more than just data. A successful customer engagement harnesses data (science) to deliver the right content (art) at the right moment. 

To achieve the art-and-science balance, marketers need to establish a 360-degree view of each customer, using all sources of available data in real time at all customer touchpoints.

Marketers can then use this data to engage customers’ emotions. A customer emotion is developed when a marketer has created an enticing experience for the right person and at the right moment in the customer lifecycle. More often than not, marketers tap into the customer’s left side of the brain to trigger the analytical mindset, while overlooking the emotional factors that stimulate creative thinking behind a customer’s decisions and purchasing habits. 

Evoking this level of emotion entails five steps throughout the customer lifecycle:

  • Map out the customer needs  
  • Create valuable storytelling and content based on the identified customer 
  • Seamlessly integrate storytelling and content into campaigns on all devices 
  • Generate word-of-mouth and turn customers into advocates 
  • Integrate the most valuable customers into a stakeholder family   

Move From Linear Marketing to the Customer Lifecycle

Customers today have access to all kinds of information at their fingertips, which has created a far more fragmented customer lifecycle compared to the traditional linear model. No longer can marketers rely on the traditional linear funnel with the one-size-fits-all approach.  

Customer experiences and their decision-making processes are constantly changing and unpredictable, which is why marketers need to be prepared to follow them throughout the entire lifecycle and be equipped for the twists and turns along the customer roadmap. 

To support this roadmap, marketers must plan out and determine where customers are in their journeys and from there evaluate the importance of each touchpoint.  

Shift From Personalized Campaigns to Contextual Interactions

Personalized campaigns have worked so well for brands over the past few years that they have gone from unique and cutting-edge, to the go-to strategy for most companies. However, these personalized campaigns now struggle to differentiate themselves from all other brand campaigns out there. Marketers need to move beyond personalization and consider the full context of how and when that personalized campaign is received on the customer end. 

According to research from Adobe, 63 percent of consumers are left feeling “numb” by marketers’ personalization attempts, while 70 percent of marketers believe they are doing a good job at personalization. 

So how can marketers make this shift to contextual interactions? Marketers need to look beyond aggregate customer segments and stitch together a singular identity for each customer across all channels. To achieve this, marketers must study in detail the devices, locations, time and activities defining the customer context. 

For example, if a customer is on vacation, it does no good to activate an email campaign when they may be not be regularly checking their email. App data can retrieve a customer’s flight itinerary and location at a given time, so a marketer can make an informed decision to send a personalized offer at the right time for that customer. 

Touchpoint marketing is providing the answer for the always-connected consumer. The proliferation of connected devices and the associated deluge of data is creating tremendous opportunities for marketers to get to know their customers better -- and reach them in more engaging and relevant ways.

The first step in making the leap to the touchpoint approach is acquiring the necessary insight to serve customers what they want, when they want it, on the device they’re using, wherever they are. 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicenseTitle image by  jmegjmeg