“These days, you need to tailor your message and the delivery of your message to your intended audience,” says Michael White, senior vice president of information technology infrastructure at Akron’s InfoCision Management Corp.
Different folks simply prefer to interact via different media. To help business marketers reach these various audiences, Smart Business asked White to explain how today’s multimedia campaigns work.
Why doesn’t a simple, one-shot message to a customer work anymore?
Not everyone can be reached or will respond the same way. Some prefer to have a piece of paper in their hand, some prefer a voice conversation and to be able to ask questions and hold a dialogue, while others may opt for a more self-service approach of going to a Web site or using an IVR (interactive voice response) application.
What does a multimedia campaign entail?
Multimedia campaigns provide multiple ways for a customer to interact with your organization. They start with a well-planned marketing idea or call to action. Once that has been determined, you should evaluate the demographic of the intended audience to determine two things.
- What is the best method to get your message to them?
- What are the easiest and most likely methods to allow them to respond to you?
Multimedia campaigns are simply a means to provide multiple ways for a customer to interact with your organization.
What are the types of multimedia one can deploy?
There are many ways to reach an intended audience. The first is the basic phone call with a live communicator, either inbound (from the customer to the business) or outbound (from the business to the customer). Others include e-mail, live chat, IVR, fax, Web collaboration, video, traditional mailings and automated messages.
You’ve mentioned fax, IVR, Web collaboration and Web chat. Where does each work?
The use of specific types of media varies, based on intended audience. For example, we’ve found that when trying to contact business people there is typically a receptionist or administrative assistant screening and directing phone calls.
Likewise, targeted rich e-mail campaigns allow us to instantly reach large numbers of people inexpensively. They also allow for almost immediate feedback because the recipient can simply hit reply.
A phone call with a live communicator is typically used to get one-on-one contact with an organization, to introduce a new concept, to explain complicated offers, or to up-sell or cross-sell an individual.
IVR campaigns can be effective in handling large numbers of callers who have a very specific reason for calling, like for free or promotional offers, to check order status, surveys and American-Idol-style voting.
Web collaboration and chat allow a customer to go to a Web site to get assistance. Via chat, a Web site, forms or a presentation, Web collaboration offers many options to facilitate the need for immediate assistance when someone is surfing a Web site.
How much setup time is required?
The additional training time required to handle a multimedia campaign consists of training communicators to use the interfaces for the chosen medium. Sometimes there is additional training on e-mail, chat, fax or Web interfaces. These training details should be covered during standard campaign training.
The setup of mailing, broadcast fax, automated messages and the other outbound forms of contact can typically happen in conjunction with the normal inbound or outbound program setup timeframe.
How good is the ROI (return on investment) from a multimedia campaign versus an ordinary one?
The most successful campaigns need to give the customer options to communicate in the method that’s most comfortable for them. Typically, for a few additional cents per transaction, other channels for communication can be added that can add several percentage points to the overall response rate of a traditional phone- or mail-only campaign.
Is there a particular demographic that responds better to multimedia than to a traditional campaign?
Business professionals, doctors and attorneys typically view and respond to faxes and e-mail depending on the content. We’ve found that regardless of the demographic e-mails or faxes can be used as informational updates or to provide more details on a phone conversation.
The younger generation is much more likely to choose self-service mediums such as IVR, chat or e-mail. The older generation may prefer traditional conversation with a live communicator.
MICHAEL WHITE is senior vice president of information technology infrastructure at InfoCision Management Corp., which is located in Akron, Ohio. A teleservices company, InfoCision offers marketing expertise in most industry fields. Reach White at (330) 670-1711 or email@example.com.