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Sounding Off: Kent Kirschner – Online Marketers Need To Relearn Their “ABCs”

Many of us, upon hearing someone exclaim “ABC”!, will immediately recall the line made famous by actor Alec Baldwin in David Mamet’s film Glengarry Glen Ross. Baldwin plays a pedal to the metal, big city sales...


Many of us, upon hearing someone exclaim “ABC”!, will immediately recall the line made famous by actor Alec Baldwin in David Mamet’s film Glengarry Glen Ross. Baldwin plays a pedal to the metal, big city sales pro brought in to energize a demoralized team in a non-descript suburban real estate office. “ABC” he commanded: Always Be Closing. 

The phrase works well in the sales world and the impact in the film was strong. However, in the modern marketing and business arenas there is a more appropriate acronym when putting A, B, and C together: Always Be Connecting

My company is currently consulting with a full-service, casual restaurant group in Mexico. Our role is to help them consider new approaches to marketing offers towards younger audiences. I'm amazed to see with this client, and many like them, a lack of awareness and emphasis placed on the aforementioned acronym ABC. The company that spends a great deal of time, energy and money on traditional advertising and media, but has not institutionalized a CRM system that can capture and benchmark results. This missing connection is not an anomaly. Even within our own organization we hinder growth by not having a more formalized and pronounced system to stay connected to clients and prospects. Are you and your clients ‘always connecting’? 

Prior to entering into any discussion of media spending, creative elements, or campaign goals, I’m keen to get a better sense of the internal workings of a client's marketing department. Without a well architected CRM strategy and system in place, it becomes increasingly more difficult for us to feel comfortable with our long-term ability to satisfy a client. 

Always Be Connecting. Look around online today at different sites and the variety of rich media ads. Take note of the exceptional practitioners, such as Domino’s Pizza whose 2010 campaign has been nothing short of stellar. The best sites are littered with different access points for visitors to actively engage with the company and voluntarily give up personal data that then gets ported into the CRM system. Quality ad units are those that offer the same data collection opportunity without forcing the user to navigate away from the content page where they viewed the ad.  Also, on mobile devices there is a tremendous opportunity that is being leveraged to capture multiple t data points quickly and intelligently, and for companies' brands to remain with the end user/customer in an application on their phone. Talk about staying connected!  

These are examples of what the social web held as its promise. We are now beginning to see Social CRM start delivering.  

Publishers, advertisers, and agencies are all required to understand how to engage and thrive in this social context. Publishers need to possess an even better understanding of their audiences and how likely they are to engage with different brands. This understanding will lead to easier and shorter sales cycles for available inventory and much stronger positioning for price negotiations.   Advertisers can better target and influence consumers by utilizing data analysis to tweak their ad specifications.

Agencies will have to become more aligned with promotional activities and methods that compel audiences to actually participate with, not just absorb messages. 

The possibilities and different tools required to leverage all of the different pieces can be overwhelming, but there is one fundamental mandate: to get started. Start formalizing your process. Start building your infrastructure. Start making data collection opportunities mandatory with every new campaign. And, finally, start leveraging the new tools that are available today which make data collection easy for you as well as seamless and engaging for the end user.

Kent Kirschner is Executive Managing Director of TRAFFIQ's Latin American team, and acting CEO of The Media Maquiladora.


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