How much do you depend on others to reach your customers?
You may have heard…
- Facebook is going to “balance” the content your fans see from your brand.
- If your website is not mobile friendly, Google will not show it in mobile search results.
- Comcast complains about Rob Lowe’s Direct TV ads, which then get pulled by the networks.
- Twitter bans live broadcasting app Meerkat then launches its own app, Periscope, for live broadcasting.
- NHL bans Twitter’s Periscope app from streaming live coverage inside arenas.
- And the list goes on and on
What would happen if the platforms or networks you depend on to reach your customers block your access or start charging you for access?
The examples above show case after case of what happens when marketers depend too heavily on “channel partners” for access.
In an ever co-dependent digital marketing landscape, marketers need to secure control of their assets, channels, and customer information. This is all important to help drive marketing decisions.
Grab Every Opportunity to Capture Customer Information
At every opportunity, whether you buy ads or reach customers online, you should get customer information and permission to reach them via direct channels that are within your control. Channels like email or text messages, for example. You “rent to won” your customers.
I can’t predict the future, but companies get bought or sold and internet services close quickly. What happens when Facebook fans migrate to other platforms (remember My Space or Friendster) as we see happening with Generation Z? What happens when your hard-earned marketing channels shift or close on you? Or when paid advertising budgets get cut? How do you reach your customers then?
Owning Your Media Channels
For marketers, owning the media channel and having customer data are key to cutting risk and reducing your dependency on third parties. With your own channel, you will always have access to your customers, regardless of platform or trend.
Channels you can own:
- Mail: you can always send out mail pieces if you collect their addresses
- Email: you can always email them as long as you have their email address and permission
- Telephone: you can call them if you have their phone number and permission
- Text (SMS): you can always text them with their mobile number and permission
How to Build and Own Your Media Channel?
All you need to start building your own channel is a simple web form and a good reason for customers to complete it. A good reason like entering a sweepstakes, downloading a white paper, getting an instant coupon or free item, etc. Give your prospective customer’s a good reason to exchange their information and grant their permission and you will be building your own channel, winning over your customers and gaining control and access to them.
Paid and earned media are important, but the media channels you own are vital to your long term success. Use initiatives not only to advertise and reach out, but to also capture data and gain permission from prospects for your direct channels. Then you will always be able to reach them without depending on a third party.
I’d love to hear what you think in a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org