Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital
I am an I.T. professional with the main focus on Online Marketing and monitoring activities of our Reservations Department for a family owned resort. I have other businesses related to Real Estate and Web development. I have been applying digital strategies based on what I have learned in Ateneo Java Wireless Center / IMMAP and from colleagues with the same area of expertise since 2012. I am not an expert but I am trying to keep my self abreast of the latest trend and approaches. Marketing is a race without a finish line and I would like to learn new concepts. I had a teaching career focused on web development and as an entrepreneur, I continue to train my employees and this is where I apply my love for teaching. I am a dedicated business owner and I understand the value of human capital. I find myself studying one course after another. I also study soft skills and personality development, a lighter channel to improve myself apart from the academic studies. In this way, I would like to influence or serve as an inspiration to others in whatever way possible.
Part 1: Fundamental Trends Shaping Marketing
1 Power Shifts to the Connected Customer
From Exclusive to Inclusive
Exclusive: The guests pay for the service only at the resort upon check in.
Inclusive: Guest can now pay through online BPI, BDO or even over atm deposit and Cebuana payment outlets for reservation fee. It’s a hassle free and more convenient way to pay. They can even send poof of payment electronically by taking a picture of the slip and sending it through Facebook messenger or Viber instead of emailing it.
From Vertical to Horizontal
Vertical: The resort’s main avenue for advertising is through road signs and distributing flyers within 5 km radius from the business site.
Horizontal: Guests nowadays have other means of getting information about the resort via FB, Google reviews, website, YouTube channels, earned media, word of mouth that they are not required to leave home to be able to research about the company.
From Individual to Social
Individual: Guest express their complaints directly to the front office manager at the resort.
Social: Guest express their positive, neutral and negative comments via Email, FB testimonials, blogs and even bargain for discounts and take advantage of the technology and social media to even get freebies. Nowadays guests can influence others about a brand far from what the resort wants to project. In today’s world, there is a strong need for community managers to monitor the comments and sentiments of guests as they comment on FB threads. Some netizens are very impatient, if you do not respond to their inquiries right away they will post something that is not nice like, “no one is answering my phone call” they are highly demanding even if we have 95% to 100% response rate on Facebook.
A. What are the trends in your industry that demonstrate the shifts toward a more horizontal, inclusive and social business landscape?
Shift towards horizontal: Resort guests believe more in F-fact (friends, families, FB, Fans, Twitter followers) because they can easily access social media and company websites where in they can get information about the resort. They can search anything about the resort over search engines like Google and YouTube.
Shift towards inclusive: This enables the company to tap other markets that they cannot reach before, by joining FB groups, the resort was able to advertise to different organization and communities, and these communities had a more active role. Inclusivity is creating a social fence of stake holders, customer, suppliers, financiers, workforce, local government and interest group to improve the brand though collective feedback.
Shift towards social business landscape: Guests buying process is becoming more social, resort guests are becoming more active in online social platforms and this has been the contributing to their behavior in decision making. Online reviews in TripAdvisor has a huge impact if they are going to book or not.
B. What are your plans to embrace these shifts in the marketplace?
We make sure to consider the sentiments of the guests and feedback of those who have experienced the resort and try to tailor fit the products and services according to what could make their experience worthwhile. We combine online and offline strategies and take into account their insights based on a survey given upon check out and their response on emails after the outing. This is to generate and build return guests and loyal customers. To make them feel that they are important.
2 The Paradoxes of Marketing to Connected Customers
1. Breaking the Myths of Connectivity
Connectivity has changed how businesses conduct operations and how it can tap markets. The time you spent building a brand can now be destroyed overnight. Businesses should take advantage of technology in order to sustain their businesses. All businesses should mobilize for change. Connectivity changes the dynamics on how to compete and win the marketing race. It should also take into consideration all stakeholders involved especially its customers insights and recommendations about the product. It is no longer a one way street. To increase competitive advantage it should give importance on the influence and connectivity of its customer ad analyse the behavior of its target market. Technology is just the backbone of a company’s success, a more strategic approach is to analyse the “psyche” of the guests, their core desires and aspirations, techno graphics and technological user consumption. To be equipped with tools on how to counter brand attacks online and acknowledge brand ambassadors. To embrace connectivity, we have to consider mobile connectivity, experimental connectivity and social connectivity. Resort guests of all ages can now utilize and maximize connectivity, the older markets can now adapt to the changing trends of mobile. The rise of the silver surfer or the baby boomers are adapting to change from emails to mobile.
2. Summary: Marketing Amid Paradoxes
Paradox 1 – Online interaction versus Offline interaction
A successful business always combine online and offline strategies. Businesses with physical stores would complement an online store. For the resort, we do not rely heavily on online bookings or online forms that the guests fills out. We make sure that we also have phone interaction to add a personal touch in assisting our guests while we customize their outing packages. Moreover, a personal chat available in the website would also help in an exceptional customer experience and satisfaction. Leveraging on mobile, businesses can use transmitters to alert the customers about promos discounts and other offers. In the case of the resort, this can be warning, announcements and safety measures while they are inside the resort premises. Analytics and guest behavior can also be maximized by analyzing logs, entry and exit pages to determine guest behavior while they are on the website. Split screen also being used to increase awareness on a certain brand. The resort uses a survey sheet to be filled out and submitted to the front desk, this is an offline strategy that shows love for customers. Thus, online and offline should coexist.
Paradox 2 – Informed customer versus Distracted Customers
Consumer purchase decisions are highly influenced by 3 factors. First, the media publication online or offline. Second, the opinion of friends and relatives. Third, their own personal opinion or knowledge of the product or service based on experience and reputation. Among the three, the widely used factor is the opinion of others before they engage into a brand and make a purchase. With the resort, we give high importance on customer feedback since this can go viral in a form of word of mouth. Distraction begins when starts researching about the company with the use of the internet guests. They get distracted because of other information available in other forms, for example in information on blogs, and other info from Google. Apparently, the strongest influence still comes from the trusted crowd because it is the most convenient source of information. The challenge is to win the customers attention given that in today’s world, the average attention span is down to 8 seconds. Applying the concept in the resort, a 30-second elevator speech can win potential guests. Confidence and in depth product expertise is a necessity for our reservations team. The company should I-Impress, C-Converse tapping core aspirations and sentiments and B-Build Positive Reputation to the brand’s benefit.
Paradox 3 – Negative Advocacy versus Positive Advocacy
Connectivity is an avenue for guests to express their sentiments about a brand, celebrity endorsers have little to no impact to consumers these days, people now trust true sentiments from a non-celebrity for its sincerity. Connectivity is an avenue for brand advocacy. Brand advocates who are not necessarily popular may influence potential guests at the resort more than the paid artists of this century. Brand advocacy has three types, promoters, passives and detractors. A net promoter can be measured by subtracting the percentage of detractors. The total average should be the positive word of mouth. In the resort, we tally numbers of promoters, neutral and negative promoters, if it is a blog we give a point score per line and if the positive is greater than the negative then it is a positive blog review. The challenge is to change the mind-set of the negative detractors by communicating to them privately, however there will always be negative detractors. On a lighter note, detractors are also the tools to further improve our guest relations, products and services.
Another advocacy is the prompted advocacy, this usually dormant, the brand recommendation will only be triggered when an old or new customer gave opinion that triggers the person to react once again. One old post in the resorts FB page can trigger prompted advocates when new comments appears in the thread once again. The essence is in today’s digital arena, brand haters may trigger brand lovers and vice versa.
A. What are some cases in your industry that capture the paradoxical nature of connected customers?
(Answers and applications in our business are presented in bold from the previous question)
B. How do you plan to embrace the paradoxes?
In our resort business, we have to combine online and offline strategies for a full and successful marketing plan. Make love for customers the core culture of the company and address the needs of the brand promoters and haters. Listening and answering each and every sentiments would build a good and positive overall online reputation.
3 The Influential Digital Subcultures
1. Youth: Acquiring the Mind share
The youth usually are the trendsetters. They can influence the older generation in terms of the latest trends in fashion, music, food, sports and technology. Tapping the youth who are usually the ones eager to try new things in the market could reach the conventional market positively. They are creators in the techno graphic ladder and could be creators of YouTube videos and Vblogs.
They are potential customers as they will eventually work and earn, then spend for a brand that they believe in. They are also considered as the most profitable customers because of their capacity to buy in the near future. The goal is to influence their minds that your product is cool and worth trying e.g. I pods, Netflix etc. They have a digital lifestyle that takes into account the possibility of hitting a pool of followers. Youth also can adapt to changing technology and trends, if this happens they are the best brand ambassadors for any time of business because they are considered as “game changers.”
2. Women: Growing the Market Share
Women, especially the stay at home moms and housewives have the time to do research over the internet compared to men who are usually preoccupied with work. They have the final say in purchasing decisions. They lurk “lurkers” over the net for the best products and services for their families. They are also considered as spectators.
Women can multi task and as information collectors, their behavior spending habits are relatively different compared to men, they make sure that they have researched well. Let say for example the way a woman do grocery, they go to every isle back and forth to compare products. This is also how they research over the net. As a result their counterparts, friends and relatives trust their instincts and decision when purchasing something because of their attention to detail.
3. Netizens: Expanding the Heart Share
Netizens are the internet savvy potential brand keepers and ambassadors, they are critics and joiners or groups and communities. They are highly influential because they can blog, create info graphics, videos to express their thoughts about a product or services. They are “creators, collectors and critics” in the techno graphic ladder because they put action and consume whatever they find online. Their desire to always be connected is what companies can take advantage of. They are social connectors and evangelist and are usually online and chatting to people in Facebook messenger, Viber, Whatsapp and other app where they can voice their opinion by commenting, voting, liking sharing posts. They have almost all social media apps like Instagram, Pinterest etc. They can be potentially lovers or haters of your brand and this can affect your online engagement.
4. Summary: Youth, Women and Netizens
Youth, Women and Netizens are the most influential people in this digital age. They are considered as minorities in the society. However, they give the biggest impact in social media, mainly because they are the ones that are heavily attached to social networks and could affect mainstream culture. They can create a huge impact in your business because of their large network of friends and family. YMN when impressed can contribute to good engagement to promote your brand.
A. How can your business acquire greater mind share by leveraging youth’s roles of early adopters and trendsetters.
Beach Camping is the new trend and majority of guests who are booking for an accommodation are newly grads working for the call center industry. They can be the new set of trend setters and as we introduce Glamping as the latest trend in camping, we can take advantage of their abilities to influence others as soon as they have tried our new service. They have the eagerness and willingness to try new things and they can simply create videos, blogs and vbogs about their adventure. Older generations are not as carefree and thrill seeking. The youth can simply invite their families and older generation if they envision a positive and memorable experience that can be cherished and treasured with their love ones. Youth in their late teens also may be brand advocates when they see pictures of the beach, beach activities, thrilling boat rides and banana boat rides. They can convince their parents to visit the resort and no one can resist a young adult when parents and grandparents would want to enjoy a bonding activity them. Moreover, Student campers are enthusiastic, friendly and funny, these are the traits of the youth population, and they would like to experience independence and confidence. Their core desire is to live a carefree life, explore new things and establish social relationships. They are usually equipped with a tablet or mobile phones. By understanding this, the resort can use mobile channels.
B. How can your business grow market share by leveraging the household influence of women?
Mothers with young kids who would like to introduce their children to the sand and water is another target persona, they have this ability to search and research the web for the most affordable yet safest beach camp sites. Casa Astillero also have air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms that we call “Kabanas” that is even suitable for pregnant women. The resort can leverage on its decent and clean camping restrooms that sets us apart from other resorts. Housewives and Mothers are decision makers when it comes to recreational activities for the family. Mothers and housewives are affectionate, loving and practical. They need love, attention, respect and security. Their core desire is to give the best for their families and keep the family intact. The resort should understand that they want to keep things within budget and so we should make rates reasonable. They usually have laptops or desktops at home and is heavily attached to their smartphones to get in touch with their husbands and relatives.
C. How can your business identify and utilize Netizens to win greater heart share?
Netizens who are frequently online and has been spending more than 5-10 hours online per day can be tapped by being visible in almost all social media channels especially on Facebook. They are fond of joining groups and organizations that best fit their interest. An avid camper for example joins organization and FB groups that involves outdoors, hiking, snorkeling, fishing, camping, travel, mountaineering etc. The company can leverage in group tour packages in order to tap the Netizens who has this interest. Netizens who are creators, collectors and critics can be reached through posting ads on various FB groups in relation to travel. Netizens are optimistic and passionate about building their social circle. They share posts, engage, constantly likes posts and comments. Their core desire is to freely express their thoughts and feelings, very much active online and actively participates in peer/group online hangouts. The resort may also come up with a community website to cater the needs of avid campers, this community page will discuss reef rehabilitation, safety measures during camping, recommended beach activities that will eventually touch the hearts of the passionate avid campers who would like to make a difference and are very much engaged in online activities.
4 Marketing 4.0 in the Digital Economy (When Online Meets Offline, Style Meets Substance and Machine-to-Machine Meets Human-to-Human)
1. Moving from Traditional to Digital
The first step in going digital is to segment your market for a more targeted audience, this is where we take into consideration the segmentation based on geographic locations, demographic, behavioral profiles and the psyche of the brand persona. Segmentation is a brand strategy to shape positioning in the market. More often than not segmentation is made without the consent of the customers. As marketers, we decide on what areas to cover in your market segmentation, how we analyse the market, its core aspirations and behavior. In this day and age, communities are the newest segments, this may be in a form of online organizations or FB groups. The down side is they are prone to spamming but there are administrators to maintain the page’s exclusivity.
Brand Positioning and Differentiation to Brand Clarification of Character and codes
Traditionally, brand positioning can be characterized by a brand name, logo and tagline to distinguish the brand from its competition. The brand equity as the overall perception of the brand may help in creating a strategy to reach the market. Moreover it may be linked to brand positioning which aims to make the brand the top of mind product or service to its consumers. Brand positioning makes that promise and it needs to be fulfilled by the brand to keep customer loyalty.
In digital, customers are empowered to affect brand equity and brand positioning. Social media has its share of influencing the target market. These days everything is so transparent that the effect of a certain brand can be posted online straight from the consumer’s mouth. Exaggeration of ads and false advertisements are now a thing of the past.
In conclusion, traditional marketing is no longer enough. With so much things happening on the internet and how things are disrupted by technology, a brand need to innovate and adapt to the changing trend in the market and go digital as well. Logo’s and taglines are not enough, there has to be a solid brand character, voice and preposition that you need to project to the public for your image to be more distinct to be able to compete in the digital space.
From Selling the 4 P’s to Commercializing the 4 C’s
The traditional 4 P’s or product positioning, placing, promotion and price has evolved to 4 C’s which now takes into consideration the co-creation, currency, communal activation and conversation about a brand.
Co creation is the new age of product development strategy where customers are involved in the formulation of ideas and concepts because they have the opportunity to personalize products and services. Currency is the new pricing scheme. Analytics plays an important role of understating the spending pattern of consumer then customizes the price based on historical purchase pattern, proximity to store to be able to convert more customers. Communal activation is the placing and distribution in the old 4 P’s method. Products are now made available in a peer to peer concept maximizing technologies like 3D and online portals where customers can access products anytime and it can be delivered to your doorstep unlike the conventional shopping. Promotion is the old Conversation in the 4C’s. In today’s generation, the evolution is from TV promotion to reviews or word of mouth in any social media platform. Traditional customers are passive objects of selling techniques while in digital, it is commercial value plus engaged customers.
From Customer Service Processes to Collaborative Customer Care
Far from the usual approach if treating customers as kings after they have purchased a product, companies now view customers as equals after shifting to the customer care approach. Serving the customer after the sale is no longer enough. At this digital age, the brand needs to listen, interact, react and take action to customer insights, comments, suggestion, feedback and violent reaction about their brands.
2. Integrating Traditional and Digital
Traditional and digital should co-exist. Traditional marketing has the main focus on creating awareness and interest while digital’s role is to drive action and advocacy. Digital is more result driven as you can easily track and measure the effect of digital efforts as compared to traditional. It is not just cheaper but it is also a much reliable tool to understand the target consumer better since customer interact with brand.
3. Summary: Redefining Marketing in the Digital Economy
Building advocacy and engagement is what we need in our time in order to have a successful business. We have to leverage in meeting the standards of the guests, customers and consumers. This can be made possible by understanding the 4C’s and how it should be applied in our businesses. Marketing 4.0 is a combination of online and offline marketing, putting style adding brand voice and character to be used in keeping in touch with your customer base. It should maximize the benefits of internet of things, machine to machine connectivity, human to human connectivity to improve engagement that leads to a higher conversion rate and achieving its goal to acquire brand advocates.
A. How can your brand develop a powerful differential based on human-to-human touch in the digital world.
The brand can maximize human interaction by building a solid customer loyalty program, every after group outing our reservations officer are tasked to contact the guests and as on how did their outing go. The resort asks for feedback and pictures of their best shots. Aside from acknowledging their visit, we feature then in our FB wall. The team makes sure that there are after sale service and we talk to the guest directly via FB messenger and email. Their pictures are also added to the website gallery, not just to have fresh content but to make them feel that they are a part of the family and how thankful we are for having them at the resort. The resort monitors tweets, Instagram posts and answers all mobile inquiries. Our team is ready to respond via text to assist to their needs. Mobile and Facebook has served as a front desk support as well. It is not used only to close deals but to monitor the guests during the day of their outing, assisting them when they get lost along the way and checking up on them after the experience. The company would not go below 95% response rate on answering FB messages. Speend and urgency are qualities that we leverage to give exceptional customer service.
B. How can your business transition from the traditional 4Ps to the digital 4Cs by adopting co-creation, taking advantage of currency-like pricing, engaging in communal activation and driving conversation.
The resort let the customers customize their products and outing packages that makes them co-creators to personalize their needs and wants. They are co-creators because they start to suggest things for improvement and we take this seriously by improving our facilities to the extent of providing the suggested team building props for company outings.
On currency, we suggest a package to our guests and they can freely add or remove some items to fit their budget and preference. Based on our record since 2014 we were able to analyse the trends of the peak season and lean season based on the sales report and this serves a tool for marketing promotion on high season and lowering package rates on lean months. Data on page views are also available to see how much web traffic is there and is the visitor conversion ratio is high enough. We also use benchmarking and porters 5 analysis of new entrants to justify pricing and improve on value proposition.
Communal activation is the placing and distribution in the old 4 P’s method. We maximize the use of google maps and waze, these apps and technologies makes it easier for the guest to locate the resort. Maps are also uploaded in the website and should also be downloadable.
Promotion is the old Conversation in the 4C’s. The resort uses digital channels like, website position for the right key terms, Facebook messenger, Viber for engagement and human interaction, email marketing for contacting old guests and informing them of their loyalty guest privileges and discounts after the first visit. Instagram contest, online community website to increase environmental advocacy, Google paid ads to further increase awareness in a more targeted audience, and the most powerful media earned media by motivating guests to create their own vbolgs by setting a good storyboard that is uploaded in the resorts YouTube channel.
Offline strategies are still being kept, road signs, calling cards, and feedback survey sheet to ask the most important question, “Will you recommend us to others? Why and why not?” This will show love, empathy, focus and care for the guests.
C. What are the fundamental changes required in your customer-service strategy to embrace collaborative customer care?
Our collaborative customer care strategies is leaving no comments, questions and reactions unanswered. The resort makes sure that “No one is left behind” We guide and address the needs of the guests may it be on site or in our reservations office. We take action on customer ratings on Tripadvisor, Fb and Google. The resort also email guests with negative reviews, we try to reach them in whatever way possible, not just to build a good online reputation but to maintain a good guest relation service. Customer is king but the broader scale of customer care is treating the employees or the person beside you as the customer as well, in this way the team will be able to have a unified culture valuing teamwork and positive mind-set that will define the brand purpose, mission and its vision.