Don't take traditional channels for granted

Everyday bright shiny new tools in the digital world pop up. So much so that today, e-mail has almost become one of the older forms of digital communications. Meanwhile, mediums such as print, TV and OOH have no been deemed archaic. Try as hard as they might to innovate and incorporate new digital technology, they are still labelled as "traditional" advertising channels.

However, Rodney Tay, vice-president, digital sales and solutions in Mediacorp says that despite all the new technology present, the way older mediums can keep relevant is by putting up a great piece of content. No matter what the medium might be.

Tay was speaking at the recent Marketing Customer Experience Conference 2016. He further added that in ensuring your marketing strategy fits with consumer needs, brands and advertisers need to acknowledge that consumers today do not want to be sold to. They want to buy into your communication.

(Read also: Customer experience: A balancing act between emotional and functional and What does the age of the consumer really mean?)

Agreeing on Tay’s sentiments, Per Caroe, global evangelist at IBM Commerce, brands should focus on making a viewing experience a continuous and organic whole. As such, when mixing older mediums with newer ones, Caroe advised that there be no "jarring experiences" on the consumers end.

Maximising your email strategy

According to Caroe, some challenges to email marketing mentioned are quality of email database, poor measurement and analytics, lack of skills and training and lack of relevant content and integration.

When using e-mail marketing in your communication strategy,  personalising your approach is essential. He stressed the need for a strong database with clean data to ensure marketers are delivering the right customised message to the right person.

"Adding intelligence to your database is a good measure and can allow you to figure out who is a hot or a cold lead," he said, adding:

The richer your master database is, the more powerful, relevant and personal you’ll be.

Marketing automation should also be in the minds of all marketers today as it can easily aid any email marketing campaign.

E-mail has been one of the front runners in reaching consumers since the introduction of the internet, said Caroe. When asked a question from the audience on the relevance of e-mail marketing today given the rise of social media, Caroe said there is not much cause for concern - especially in the B2B world.

Social is cute and effective, but reality is that the impact on real businesses of social is negligible and there aren’t any studies to prove otherwise.

“Email is still the number one way to communicate with people, will be for years,” he said, further adding that this applies to the younger generations too.

OOH gains traction in Singapore

While OOH as a medium might have been around for decades in America and Europe, it is a relatively new form of advertising in Singapore, explained Henry Goh, head of OOH Media, Mediacorp. This is because OOH advertising was banned in Singapore in the 1970s as the Urban Redevelopment Authority was tasked to clean up the streets.

“Somewhere in the early 70s, post-Vietnam war, the Singapore government banned OOH advertising because we were on the course of nation building and urban planning,” Goh said.

Eventually with the ministerial WTO event in 1996 and with the large outdoor screen at the event venue supporting event, it gave rise to further opportunities for outdoor. The introduction of OOH made its way, from the introduction of substantial digital screens in the central business district to stickers found on public transportation. As such the medium is very much alive and constantly innovating in modern day Singapore, Goh explained.

Goh added that strategies which were found to be effective in OOH advertising include zonal targeting, sampling and call-to-action campaigns which centre around dictating travel patterns and reaping revenue from it. Knowing your consumers' feeling and attitude also helps cater the ads.

One example mentioned was the use of job employment ads placed in the evening to reach frustrated employees. It is the same for travel advertisements during the holiday season.

"No matter what, when you are at a bus shelter, you will look up to see which bus is coming. There's a lot of opportunities for us to grab eyeballs in that way," he added.

Understanding the customer psyche

Much like Goh, stressing on the importance of understanding the customer psyche was Samy Mardolker, senior vice-president, marketing research, ORC International. He said:

There is a difference between 'gut-based research' and 'research-based gut'. You need research-based gut, invest more in it, invest the time and think of different ways on how you can mine that insight.

The former means to conduct research based on current perceived notions or “gut feelings”, the latter is the opposite where you use research as a background to influence your marketing decisions.

Here are his five tips to help “end the marketing winter”

  1. Type of journey – Even though there is no one set journey in behavioural economics, brands can still decide the type of journey experience for their customers.
  2. Build empathy – look at pain points and the types of emotions associated such as stress or anxiety and find ways to alleviate that.
  3. Override choice – Nudge your customer rather than cause a stir.Help in symplifying their decisions
  4. Design choice – for an enhanced experience. Learn through experiments and research instead of only relying on experience.
  5. Don’t try to be a magic solution – there is no magic solution when it comes to behavioural economics.

“Invest effort in learning about your customer and be inspired by all the new things happening because it is not easy to come up with a penetrating insight. Rethink how you are connecting to consumers,” Mardolker said.