Given the constantly changing and evolving multimedia marketplace, the challenge is not just to reach out to the customer but also to open and maintain a dialogue that sustains the relationship. By creating and nurturing that dialogue, you create a sticky customer relationship and that leads to long-term business.
If maintaining a dialogue is so critical to creating long-term customer relationships, it would seem simple to achieve with the advent of social networking, mobile web and all of the tools and toys that have burst onto the scene in the last five years or so. Unfortunately, the challenge is actually made more complicated by information overload and the decreasing attention span of the consuming public. Simply being one of the more than 37 million Facebook pages in the world, or declaring a YouTube channel, is not going to put the revenue in the bank. So, how does one turn a social multimedia presence into a revenue-earning channel?
To answer that question, we have to go back to personalization. You must have a dialogue and it must be sustainable, but how does a corporation with thousands, or millions, of customers reach out and maintain a dialogue with each customer? A sustainable dialogue needs to be engaging, relevant and personal.
To begin with, your message has to be noticed to engage the prospective customer. There are many ways to get prospects to your channel presences. Traditional marketing tools can point them there, along with new technology, such as QR codes and Microsoft Tags. Yet, if the message isn't engaging and easily digested within a few seconds, the opportunity will be lost, and it is unlikely a repeat visit will follow. My suggestion is to put a face out there. Fancy fonts, big splashy colors and bombastic music will surely get attention. However, from extrapolating (and somewhat simplifying) an MIT study, putting a human face out there with a relevant message will more likely get you heard. Since there is a face associated with the message, the dialogue can begin.
Personalization and relevance are a bit harder to put a handle on, but relevance, I think, is the more important of the two in B2B transactions. While B2C transactions are going to require relevant content, a rich and personal experience is going to have a more positive effect on the personal consumer than the business consumer. One way to achieve personalization is through regular, serialized messages. In the same way that people listen to the same radio station each day on the way to work, read the same editorial column in the paper or visit the same news site on the web, you can place a message, especially a multimedia message, on your channel(s) and develop a loyal following that checks each day to see what is new on the site. Of course, this is a basic principle. Yet, some of the most stale and impersonal content on the web belongs to multinational corporations with the budget and resources to do better.
Country music star, Billy Dean, was recently espousing the virtues of using a relatively new app called Viddy. Viddy is a mobile app that allows very quick uploads of short, low-resolution videos while using minimal bandwidth from smartphones and tablets. Dean uses Viddy to create personal videos that he posts on his Facebook page and which have become very popular with his fans. Of course, Viddy may not be the perfect vehicle for your message, but a serial vBlog that reaches out to engage and provide dialogue with customers may be the solution to building those sticky web relationships and growing the traffic to your web presence.
Ultimately, though, whether using flash and cinematography or just reaching out with a phone call to follow up on a Facebook or LinkedIn comment, sustainable relationships are built through communication, and it's up to you to start and then sustain that conversation with as many prospects as possible.