Messaging Applications: The Best Way to Market to Customers
Social media is one of the most powerful ways for retailers and brands to connect and engage with customers. Not convinced? Just look at Starbucks' Holiday Red Cup Campaign, which generated a lot of chatter on Twitter around its seasonal beverages rollout. By advertising the chance to receive a free, limited-edition reusable holiday cup with the purchase of one of its signature holiday drinks, Starbucks was able to take two of the top 10 trending spots on Twitter the day of the campaign launch.
While Twitter has long been a popular tool for businesses to reach their customers, another platform has been gaining momentum: messaging applications. Retailers can take their marketing efforts a step further by leveraging messaging applications to connect with current and future customers and create hype around new products, campaigns and launches. This is especially important during the holiday season, a time when retailers and brands need to quickly create as much buzz as possible around limited-time-only products and promotions.
Here are three reasons why messaging applications should be the platform of choice for retailers and brands to execute their marketing efforts:
Meaningful 1:1 Connections
Retailers must be all about creating meaningful moments, and nothing makes customers feel valued like a brand making them feel like they're the only one in the room. While outbound marketing platforms like Twitter provide an opportunity for retailers to speak to the masses, messaging applications do the opposite by putting the focus on fostering meaningful one-on-one customer relationships. Why is this important? When a brand is able to directly connect with a customer, stronger brand-to-consumer relationships are fostered and brand loyalty is more likely to occur.
Enrich the Customer Experience
Mistakes happen, leaving no brand or retailer immune from it. Whether the mistake is minor or massive, the key to mending issues and preventing customer dissatisfaction is to provide a reliable platform for customers to express their frustrations, disappointments and concerns in a way that assures the customer that they're being heard by the brand. Most importantly, they must be able to do this in a place where they know they won't be ignored. Messaging applications do just that by providing a private platform for customers to communicate with retailers one-on-one.
Differentiate From Competitors
By incorporating the use of messaging applications into their marketing strategies, retailers have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors. All too often businesses are focused on reaching the largest number of people possible, leaving customers to feel like they're nothing but a number. Businesses have the opportunity to set themselves apart from competitors and show customers they are a brand that cares by taking an interest in their likes, dislikes and preferences. This allows retailers to conduct more targeted marketing, ultimately increasing their bottom lines.
During the 2020 holiday season, consumers will be looking to do business with brands that support their needs. When it comes to communicating with customers, retailers should assess their approach to messaging apps and begin to identify how they can create a better environment for one-on-one communication, enrich the customer experience, and differentiate from competitors.
Debbi Dougherty is vice president of B-to-B marketing at Rakuten Viber, one of the world’s largest messaging apps with 1 billion-plus users.