Earlier this week, Beyoncé stunned the music industry when she released a surprise full-length album on iTunes without any advance notice or promotion. According to iTunes, the album is the fastest-selling on the site with more than 800,000 downloads in the first three days, and Billboard predicts that the album will have a number one debut.
CNBC published an interesting commentary about Beyoncé’s bold move which quoted the CEO of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi as saying, “Marketing as we knew it is dead.” The CNBC article, however, contends that marketing is indeed NOT dead, and it was Beyoncé’s decades of successfully building her brand and her fan base that allowed her to release an unannounced album and still shoot to the top of the charts. “Building great relationships with your customers (or fans) is the single greatest form of marketing you can do.”
While not all of us have millions of fans waiting to buy our products sight-unseen, successful marketing has become the result of building meaningful relationships with customers. Today’s customers are more sophisticated and want to be educated and engaged during the buying process, not just told by a faceless marketer what to buy and when. Customers engage with companies that communicate in their language, provide the information they want, and meet their needs.
So what does that mean for us? How can a B2B company engage with their customers in an effective way? Ironically, to become more personal with customers, marketers need to become more automated. Marketing automation tools like nurture campaigns and email marketing are essential to building a customer relationship without the expense of traditional marketing methods. By creating effective nurture campaigns, marketers can get in front of their customers on a regular and consistent basis (drip marketing) or provide information as customer interaction demands it (trigger campaigns). And all of this happens automatically without the need for a salesperson’s time or attention until a customer is ready to buy.
Think of each of Beyoncé’s concerts, appearances and videos as customer “touches” during her very long nurture marketing campaign. The result is an engaged audience that has trust in the product and a willingness to buy. So, how could nurture marketing improve your customer relationship?
Photo by Chip Somodevilla, iStockPhoto