As marketers we have quite a few avenues to connect with consumers. Depending upon the target audience, the combination of research, careful planning and hard work allows us to connect our messages to customers, but as consumers become more technically-savvy and have access to more tools, communicating with them will get more difficult.
Technology has given consumers the ability to consume media when, how and where they want to and more tools are coming about that let them control who communicates to them and how.
Enter… Facebook Messages
This week, Facebook announced its new Facebook Messages that integrates multiple forms of communication, including texts, messages, chats and e-mail when users sign up for an @facebook.com e-mail account.
Facebook Messages’ most interesting feature is that it uses a user’s Facebook Friends to “white list” those who can communicate with the user using his or her primary inbox (called the Social Inbox). If you’re not on that list, you go to a secondary inbox, appropriately called “Other.” Users even have the option to bounce e-mails that aren’t exclusively from their friends.
Google’s done something similar with Gmail’s Priority Inbox, which uses user behavior to determine the e-mails a user is most interested in and places them at the top of the inbox.
Things Are Getting More Difficult
The situation won’t get easier for marketers. Consumers and tools are getting better at filtering messaging from what they want to receive and what they don’t. I’m not saying consumers don’t want to hear about your product in some cases, but if you’re not on their list, you won’t even be able to give them the option to hear from you.
Get On the List!
Things are changing, and they’re changing fast. Brands that aren’t involved now might not make it on their consumers’ white lists and could end up being blocked and ignored.
As stewards of brands, it’s our job to keep our brands relevant, so consumers want to hear from us. The approach each brand takes to this will be different, but it ultimately boils down to two key strategies:
- Establish Relationships. Build relationships now. This includes relationships with influencers and your customers. Establish a dialogue before they have a chance to cut you off.
- Be Totally Awesome. Deliver on all fronts from the product you sell to the content you share. Be relevant to the consumer and offer content they can’t get anywhere else. That way they’ll keep coming back to you time and time again.
That’s it (well, maybe). Establish relationships and be totally awesome. You'll never find yourself off the list.