I lay three options before you today as you think about the purchase of your first car. Between the three options of selecting a car based on information from friends only, pre and post purchase support from company, and information along with a virtual demo online plus a test drive and after sale offers, your preferred option would certainly be the third one. It is no surprise that companies today are going beyond the mere sell to buy idea and a one time, one directional association with its customers. No longer are advertising campaigns designed for any particular medium in isolation, rather companies have realized the importance of allocating the marketing communication budget to unique methods across various platforms and for various pre purchase, during purchase and post purchase stages to convert potential customers, to regular buyers/users and finally loyal patrons.
Customers are maturing , options before them are growing and brands want to interact with customers directly in every way possible. It is the need of the hour to create a high recall value in the mind of the consumer, which becomes limited with the traditional marketing mediums of print, radio, television and to some extent outdoor, in isolation.
Some examples of all round customer engagement are free samples being distributed in an open event to the audience or through newspapers to induce trial, roping in celebrities to help consumers experience the brand and its use, thereby enticing future purchase possibilities, creating virtual realities that customers pass through at public places to help create social belongingness through the brand, live chat with customers through radio or television at points of purchase to motivate purchase action, and lucky draws being offered based on codes available inside product packages that can be sent via SMS.
Use of multiple touch points to connect with consumers is therefore the need of the hour. Consumer engagement with the brand pre purchase, during consumption and post purchase has become critical. Some brands do this successfully and some continue to experiment differently each time.
(c) Bijal Mehta