On the Tappen Zee Bridge, there is a well-placed sign: “Life is worth living.” The sign isn’t expensive or graphically complicated. But its placement (at eye-level along the side of a bridge) is well-thought-out. It reaches its target audience (i.e., individuals in crisis) at a crucial decision-point.
It’s never been more important for marketing and communication professionals to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time. Budgets are tight and brands are competing in more places for a shrinking share of audience attention. To break through, we need to understand customer behavior on many levels, including:
- What media do they consume?
- Who influences their decisions? (i.e., which individuals? Groups? Associations? Experts?)
- How and where do they make key decisions?
- What’s relevant to them? How can we make our message sticky and memorable?
Historically, advertising professionals have owned the question of media consumption patterns, while relevance (i.e., stickiness) and influencer-mapping have fallen to public relations and digital marketing respectively. User experience specialists have owned questions about online behavior. Some brand managers and marketers have studied offline customer behavior by examining when, where and how customers actually make offline decisions (and who influences them) vs. simply asking customers to recount how they decide.
As marketing communication programs and budgets continue to integrate, all communicators need to gather and share such insights into customer behavior patterns. This will give us the focus needed to reach target audiences at crucial decision-points.
Insurance companies are doing a nice job of creating digital content and apps that connect customers to agents at the point of claim. Medical device companies are developing multimedia educational portals for patient families and caregivers, accessible via waiting room kiosks and online portals.
What communication campaigns do you admire most for their ability to reach the right audience with the right information at the right decision-point(s)?
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