In order to satisfy every consumer need, companies are overwhelming buyers with too many choices and marketing messages from every possible channel causing them confusion and poor decisions.
The solution is shifting from one-way monologue to an ongoing two-way digital dialogue, which means moving from communication to conversation with customers. The aim of dialogue marketing is the creation of a long term relationship.
To reach this goal, marketers should eliminate the superfluous and focus their effort to a more personalized, targeted and real-time communication through the appropriate channels.
Moreover, as in personal relationships, transparency is fundamental, because once trust is lost, also the connection between companies and customers vanishes.
The two-way dialogue consists in a win-win situation for customers and firms, since it provides values to both parties: on one side clients are empowered and asked to cooperate and they receive personalized experiences according to their needs and preferences.
On the other side, it represents a data collecting moment, in which the available information received from customers make it possible to build the profile of each of them, which will consequently allow marketers to provide personalized marketing messages and to satisfy their necessities.
A successful dialogue should be based on the integration of various channels, both offline and online. In particular, the traditional methods, as mass media have been juxtaposed to technological tools as social media, blogs and Web 2.0.
In order to determine their optimal combination and take advantage from their synergies, companies should consider different features: first of all, the target audience, since it is necessary to understand their tastes and preferences to provide them consistent experiences and added value.
Furthermore, also culture is a fundamental factor: countries with high individualism are likely to be attracted by multi-channels strategy; while in collectivist countries people prefer in store marketing, compared to catalogues or the Internet.
Channels can be differentiated into:
- Personal: direct conversation between the sender and the receiver, as SMS Marketing.
- Interpersonal: interaction between the sender and many receivers, as advertising in radio, television and billboards.
- Interactive: communication between the sender and a wide audience, but also between the receivers themselves, as social media.
Channels can also be divided into:
- Mass media: television, radio, magazines, newspaper; whose usage is strongly declining nowadays, because of the spread of the Internet.
- Guerrilla marketing: creative and unexpected communication, which causes a surprisingly effect and attract the attention of the public.
- Social media: the most famous are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. These innovative means of communication are preferred by customers, because they participate in the creation of contents and feel to be more involved.
- Email: direct communication to potential or current customers, to send advertising and promotions.
However, communication failures can easily happen, when companies don’t pay attention to the customers’ perception about the marketing message.
For instance, Heineken’s campaignSometimes Lighter Is Betterreceived negative reactions for the public, because the slogan could easily lead to wrong interpretations. Surely, the topic of the sentence was beer, but especially dark-skinned black people misunderstood it and considered it as a form of racism.
Heineken, receiving negative comments on social media and having its reputation undermined, was forced to issue an apology.
On the opposite side, an example of a successful dialogue with customers can be provided by Coca-Cola: the brand focused on personalization to increase the involvement and launched the Share a Cokecampaign, by printing the most common names on the bottles. The campaign went viral, resulting in a sales growth and the massive sharing of pictures of clients with hashtag on social media as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.Another relevant and famous marketing campaign is #LikeAGirl by the brand Always. It received such positive feedbacks because it was addressed to a specific target of girls in puberty, creating a personalized message of empowerment that could strongly engage them. The campaign was widely spread though social media, television, print and also a film by the documentary filmmaker Greenfield.