Whether it’s a logo redesign or updating the look and feel of physical stores, brand makeovers are often a great way to reintroduce yourself to existing or new customers while competing with newer brands.
But when customers come across an email, a social media post, a video or some other piece of content from your company and fail to recognize it, you may have steered too far away from your brand identity. This will not only impact your brand, but your marketing spend and ultimately your business too.
According to the fourth annual "State of Marketing" report from Salesforce Research, 64% of marketing leaders are focused on providing a consistent experience across every channel. This is no easy task — and it's increasingly complicated by the rampant growth of marketing channels. The same group of marketing leaders said 34% of their budget is spent on channels they didn’t know existed five years ago.
Given the many different touch points where customers may want to engage with your brand, coupled with those that are likely to emerge in the near future, this is a great time to create a strategy that builds consistency from the very beginning. Here are four key points to get you started:
Consistency across marketing channels is difficult in part because most customers don’t opt in or subscribe to every channel available. In some cases, the customer may only follow your company on Twitter and use your mobile app while in others they may look at videos and receive email updates. You won’t really have a holistic view of what your marketing looks like across everything unless you put yourself in the shoes of your “super-subscriber” and work through what your brand experience feels like across every channel.
Approach this kind of internal audit with fresh eyes — maybe enlisting the help of someone from another department who hasn’t been immersed in all the various pieces of marketing collateral already. Use questions like the ones below to evaluate your consistency and effectiveness in every medium:
Is it clear why I’m getting this information, and from whom?
Is there anything to differentiate this information for me as an individual, as opposed to all the other subscribers or customers?
To what extent does the information in one channel direct me to other channels with complementary or additional information?
That last one is key — consistency across marketing channels should mean that customers are well-armed with everything they need to take the next step, whether it’s looking at more content, contacting a sales rep or visiting an additional channel to engage in some other way. You can score yourself on a 1-10 scale or simply a “yes” or “no” — has consistency been achieved? If not, there’s more work to be done.
Many marketing departments use editorial calendars or content calendars to manage the process from creation to publication of key marketing materials. This could touch on everything from blog posts to email newsletters, social media account updates and beyond.
If your calendar only includes the topic of each piece of content, when it’s due and when it’s going to be distributed, however, it’s not really complete. Add the following columns or sections to ensure you bring it all together:
Personalization Potential: No matter what you’re creating, you should always keep in mind how you could bring specific context to your target audience. It might be as simple as using the customer’s first and last name, but it would also be based on their vertical market, their most common pain points or some other factor. If this is planned across every piece of content, it will make it look more uniform from one channel to the next.
CTA Check: Let’s say you’re ready to show off your latest product with a compelling demo video. That asset can be the foundational piece for a range of other content -- and all of it should point to the same place. If you plan a blog post, email newsletter or social updates for a given period, make sure the call to action (CTA) at the end mentions the video with the right link. In some ways, consistency matters most near the end of the content consumption process, because if people feel they’re being sent in multiple directions, they’ll be confused and lose trust in the buyer journey on which you’re guiding them.
Sharing And Feedback: It sounds so simple, but if you’re looking for input from customers you need to make it so simple that it becomes unforgettable. Use the same feedback email address on your web site as your newsletter, for instance. Similarly, hashtags are now one of the primary ways to organize and find content online, so associate the right hashtag with the right content at the editorial calendar level to make sure the left hand of the marketing department knows what the right hand is doing.
Think of all the time spent training sales people, or even contact centre staff, about making sure no customer interaction ends without an opportunity to add more value with additional products and services. Sometimes, because marketing content is intended to inform and educate before it is directly aimed at helping close a deal, these opportunities get overlooked.
What does this mean in practice? It means that someone may read an article on your web site that teaches them how to solve a pain point but neglects to link to product or service pages that will help them get the job done even faster. It means that people might enjoy the post you shared on social media but later realize you have additional, more comprehensive information they could receive through your email newsletter. Or they use your app to place an order but don’t have a chance to see in-app links to videos that teach them how to use products or learn about new ones.
Again, personalizing content via tools such as Marketing Cloud will make this job a lot easier. As you segment your content towards certain audiences, you’ll know what links need to be added to a particular channel to encourage them to navigate somewhere else at just the right moment.
What does your company stand for? The answer is not in the list of products and services you offer, but instead, in the mission that guides who you hire, where you invest your resources and how you measure your success. It could be as broad as making the world a happier place or as specific as solving a particular industry’s biggest challenge. Whatever it is, your brand purpose should be so familiar to customers that they could practically recite it by heart, no matter what channel they most commonly use to engage.
Some companies can articulate this purpose in their branding directly — from video title cards to bios to social feeds — customers are consistently reminded. Take it a step further by using personalization via marketing automation to articulate why your purpose matters to specific audiences. Then make that personalization the backbone of everything you send to customers.
Consistency across channels is almost like exercising a muscle, once you make the effort to turn it into a habit, you’ll only get stronger. Learn more about this and many other marketing priorities by reading the fourth-annual Salesforce State of Marketing Report.