Touchpoints are the basis for every marketing strategy. A touchpoint is exactly what it sounds like: a channel through which a business comes into contact with a customer or potential customer.
The touchpoints of a customer experience vary widely by industry and business. A long-lived corner store with a regular clientele may rely on newspaper advertisements and word of mouth as their sole marketing touchpoints. Meanwhile, a multi-national corporation like Bell Mobility has touchpoints that range from email and telephone marketing, to mail-outs, to social media and SEO strategies, among many others.
One of the most important questions when creating a marketing strategy is “which touchpoints should I use?”
The answer to this is complex. There are a multitude of options to choose from. The best choice depends highly on the industry, product or service offered, and target clientele. It’s important to look at where your target audience gets their information, purchases their products, and how they make buying decisions. It’s also important to ask which channels your competition is marketing through, and what type of story you want to tell.
However, there’s another important consideration to make before deciding which touchpoints to use. This depends on a distinction between two basic types of touchpoints. Each of these is outlined below:
Inbound touchpoints are those that create direct and immediate conversions. These are sales-focused interactions a business has with a customer or potential customer. An inbound touchpoint can use strong brand messaging, offer a sale or deal, or provide a convincing call to action. The end goal of an inbound touchpoint is to convince someone to buy right away.
An example of an inbound touchpoint: A sale announcement sent via email
Subconscious touchpoints are those that do not try to make a direct conversion or sale. Their sole purpose is to inform or entertain. There is no big call to action. There is only a value offered in and of itself. Embedded in subconscious touchpoints is a strong sense of brand unity. Consistently offering your clients value that goes above and beyond has a massive and, most importantly, long-term impact – one that shouldn’t be (but often is) overlooked.
An example of a subconscious touchpoint: A free tutorial video on your website or social channels
Which Touchpoints Should I Use?
Both subconscious and inbound touchpoints have a specific role to play in a marketing strategy. However, subconscious touchpoints are often less favoured because companies seek out routes that offer the best ROI (return on investment). While this seems like a reasonable approach, it overlooks the long-term component of marketing in favour of quick gains. If a marketing piece hasn’t made a direct sale, does that automatically make it worthless?
Marketing is, and has always been, based on statistics. However, it’s so much more than an ROI on a graph or spreadsheet. At it’s very best, a marketing plan should integrate a solid ROI with something a little less tangible, but crucial all the same: awareness.
To be aware of something is to keep it top of mind. To have your brand top of mind is to set yourself up for future sales.
The problem with strict ROI marketing is that it offers immediate conversion, without necessarily offering lasting impact. Customers who are ready to buy in will likely be convinced. However, consumer needs vary widely and change over time.
For example, someone without children or pets may not see the necessity in stain-resistant couch. That same person may change thier mind when they bring home a new baby or rescue a puppy. The question is, which brand will have made an impact on them previously? Which store will come to mind when they think of the product they need in that moment?
Subconscious touchpoints are necessary for a marketing strategy to develop over time. The ROI on brand awareness may be difficult to measure, but it doesn’t mean it’s doesn’t exist.
The Takeaway on Touchpoints
All of this is not to say you should abandon your inbound touchpoints. These have an important role to play. However, when a strategy coordinates both inbound and subconscious touchpoints, it helps businesses experience immediate andlong-term growth.
If you aren’t aware of which types of touchpoints you’re currently using, sit down to do an analysis and make sure you have a good balance. If you need help determining where you can improve or expand your touchpoints, call the team at Magnolias for more information and a consultation.