Ever seen a struggling retail chain discuss a disappointing earnings report? It can seem as if the customers somehow let them down rather than the company existing in service of them.
In this context, Nate Elliott from Forrester recently wrote an insightful Ad Age article that highlights what happens when you follow the journey of how customers actually behave. It turns out that distinctions like traditional and digital media are artificial segments that consumers don’t spend a lot of time thinking about while deftly switching between platforms.
Consumers engage with brands and interact with specific platforms based on where they are in the life cycle of the relationship. According to Elliott, there are four unique stages, “first customers discover a product or service; then they explore it in greater detail; next they buy the product or service; and after purchase they engage with the company from which they bought, as well as with other customers.”
This four stage cycle creates an opportunity to engage using Reach channels, Depth channels, and Relationship channels. Hence the marketing RADAR.
In recent years the terms Earned, Paid and Owned became marketing industry shorthand for a company’s PR, advertising and online efforts. Although effective as an internal frame of reference, RADAR shifts the focus back to the customer.
According to Forrester, “Reach channels get you into the consideration set. Depth channels tell your product’s story. Relationship channels serve your existing customers.” Most importantly, each channel is designed to engage with the customer at a different stage of the journey. Brands need to include all three in their marketing strategy.
The Listener’s Journey
Let’s look at the four stages of this life cycle along with RADAR marketing as it relates to radio.
Reach channels connect with listeners and help them discover your station. Increasingly we see clients use digital outdoor boards to engage commuters and supplement the more targeted aspects of their 360-degree marketing strategy with phone, mail, digital and social serving as Reach channels early in the campaign. Since the most important Reach channel has always been Word of Mouth, we believe in facilitating the share, which is why our Tell-A-Friend platform is so valuable, ensuring person to person referrals aren’t left up to chance.
In the 2nd stage, new listeners are exploring your brand. They are still a P1/P2+ with other stations, but might check out a Facebook post about your station that they see one of their friends commenting on. They also are checking out your station at contest appointment times or regularly scheduled features that they heard about from a co-worker.
As your station adds value to their day and they develop a relationship with your talent, they start to increase their listening, which is the equivalent of making a purchase in the 3rd stage. This buying behavior, might result in them including you on their car presets or changing the office radio to your station. Your broadcast has become a Relationship channel.
In the 4th phase, your P1 listeners engage with your station as well as other listeners. They immediately open your email newsletter, they attend station events, they participate in your points program, they comment on and like station Facebook posts, which takes them from being a dormant “Like” to being included in the much more valuable “Talking About This” metric. Best of all, when an invitation to Tell-A-Friend comes along, they become part of your Reach channel. Having journeyed through the four stage life cycle, they begin telling other people about their favorite station.
It’s human nature to try and short circuit this process, but as Forrester indicates, success lies in understanding that each listener is at a different step of the journey and engaging them accordingly. DMR/Interactive has a unique ability to generate immediate results, while reducing volatility and building sustained growth over the course of the life cycle.
For more information on how we leverage Reach, Depth and Relationship channels to engage the listeners who matter most to your ratings and revenue, contact Andrew Curran, COO at DMR/Interactive.