An ever-growing range of digital channels is providing businesses with countless ways to interact with customers, yet according to the recently released findings of TNS Marketing Monitor, only one in three (34 per cent) marketers in India feels in control of the consumer touch-points available to them. The results highlight how businesses are struggling to manage their relationships with consumers and identify the strategies that deliver impact.
According to the report, confidence is lowest in countries with the most advanced media ecosystems, highest internet penetration, and the most complex and evolved digital lives. Less than a third (29 per cent) of marketers in Singapore and Japan feel in control of their touch-point management, 28 per cent in Korea, and 24 per cent in New Zealand. As people's digital lives become more complex, the challenge of integrating strategy across touch-points is likely to grow.
It's clear that businesses in the Asia-Pacific region have more ways of interacting with consumers than ever before, not just through traditional channels such as TV, print media, and in-store experiences, but also through the explosion of digital touch-points, especially those provided by social media channels, instant messaging (IM) platforms, and mobile. The sheer number of touch-points and their rapid multiplication is causing confusion among the ranks of marketers as they try to understand how their audiences are using them and how to leverage them effectively.
S Visvanathan, managing director, South India and Sri Lanka, and head of brand and communications practice, TNS India, says in a press release, "Digital technology has transformed the traditional path to purchase, making it more challenging for marketers to understand how best to reach their customers who are interacting with the brand via multiple sources."
He adds, "The key to success is to understand the needs of the specific audience and deliver consistent experiences across the touch-points that matter the most to those people."
The research shows that many marketers choose to connect with consumers via digital. For example, 44 per cent of those surveyed are using search marketing, 39 per cent are using social media marketing, and 22 per cent are attempting to reach their audience through the creation of viral content. In addition, traditional forms of marketing are still very much in demand, with two thirds (70 per cent) using PR activity, 71 per cent employing the use of SMS deals, and 40 per cent focussing on TV advertising.
However, when asked how they select the touch-points they use, the results show that there is no consensus on how to adapt strategies to cater to these ever-increasing options: three out of 10 (29 per cent) questioned are hedging their bets by spreading their budget across as many touch-points as possible, 36 per cent are focussing on the ones they know, and 35 per cent are experimenting with new ones. This demonstrates how many could be wasting resources on inefficient channels while trying to cover all bases; others could be missing out on emerging touch-points by sticking to what they know.
Nitin Nishandar, regional marketing director, brand and communications practice, TNS APAC, says in a press release, "Businesses are now focussed on building a single view of the customer - tracking their audiences and their communications across every touch-point, flexing every platform to meet a wide range of consumer needs, from research to purchase, to customer service. It's therefore understandable that marketers want to be across as many platforms and touch-points as possible.
He adds, "However, with new touch-points entering the mix on a regular basis, large numbers of businesses are still seeking to identify the ones that deliver results most consistently. We know from TNS touch-point research across a number of categories that, on an average, 20 per cent of the touch-points used by a brand can have up to 80 per cent of the impact. It's clear that brands need to be doing more to understand where to place their focus and budgets to get the most value."