SOI Direct Mail: Multichannel Management:
He wrote: "Things don't replace things; they just splinter. [...] TV was supposed to kill radio. The DVD was supposed to kill the Cineplex. Instant coffee was supposed to replace fresh-brewed. But here's the thing: it never happens. [...] Things don't replace things; they just add on."
This insight has powerful implications for the printing industry and, in particular, for customer communications.
The simplest days of customer communications, when a letter, phone call or trade show booth were the only available channels, are ancient history at this point. Today, businesses can communicate with customers by phone, mail, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps, text messages or over the Internet. In fact, customers expect the companies they do business with to communicate through all these channels and, more recently, are demanding the power to choose which channel to use for communication based on the customer's needs at any particular moment.
As the world shifts from purely physical communications to increasingly digital communications, companies must respond. The number of channels to manage is increasing, competition is more fierce and marketing budgets are, at best, flat. These conditions beg for a system that will reduce costs and simultaneously create more engaged customer relationships. Any company can build its own version of that very system by following four important steps.
Step One: Recognize the emergence of a new, important discipline—Customer Communications Management (CCM). There is nothing as valuable to a company as a satisfied customer. Not only are satisfied customers more loyal to your brand and products, but the cost of keeping them engaged is far lower than the cost of acquiring new customers. I believe it is imperative for companies to invest in communications that help keep customers engaged.