Scotty, beam me up…
…and over there…and yes over there too!
In the spirit of getting more done, isn’t this everyone’s dream? Not just to be “beamed”…or have your message beamed to prospects instantly, but to have it “beamed” to multiple prospects at once?
Absolutely, it’s what communications is all about…having your message represented so that it reaches the masses. Whether the media is for advertising or corporate communications, to maximize representing yourself or your message in multiple places is the goal.. So much so that now we work tirelessly to leverage opportunities to employ “Mass Communications” to a global audience.
In terms of business promotion, this is a good thing. That’s why we engage in every form of advertising we feel is right for our business. You can be virtually everywhere your target market is….informing, persuading, converting, and asking for actions that enable you to serve your customer’s needs and wants… while growing your business.
Old news, right?….yes, but that was just to set the stage to move the conversation toward having your message duplicated to often overlooked and more targeted venues.
The analogy of “beaming” is dated, yes but useful because it infers a certain focus or targeting. In the 90’s I designed a learning system to educate traveling sales people about their products while they drove from city to city. I’d asked the Sales Manager of a large sales force…”If I could beam you into the car of one of your sales reps 20 minutes prior to them calling on a prospect, what would you tell them?”. Well, naturally there were competitive advantages to be emphasized and reviewing them right before making the presentation helped the representative be better prepared. It was personal, timely, and relevant.
Today I ask business and practice managers, “If I could beam you to sitting comfortably beside a prospect or patient right before they spoke with your representative, what would you like them to know?” There is usually lots of useful information that prospective customers and patients don’t know about the breadth of an offering, or how to best gain access to or maximize what you can do for them. Presenting information targeted for them, just before they would be able to actually act on a call-to-action would be pure genius.
Where are these genius-like opportunities to get beamed in?
The combination of studying your target audience along with emerging technologies is presenting opportunities that seem endless for getting your message to your target audience at the most opportune time…but here’s a clue. Look for times when your target audience is stationary and not engaged in an activity. Even better, look for times when they’re waiting for you…so they can take action on an offer they just learned about.
Places where people are waiting are potential opportunities for what is known as Captive Marketing.
The opportunity to impose your message on waiting customers comes with a caution to not abuse them. A TV commercial being watched at home can be louder than you prefer and not applicable to you, but you can turn it off, or down, or tolerate it knowing it’ll be gone in sixty seconds.
However, captive audience marketing is out of audience control, and no one likes to be out of control of their surroundings….so delivering an engaging and positive experience is paramount to preventing a negative reaction.
Captive audience marketing can include elements of advertising and informing along with the reduction of frustration about waiting.
Retails stores use wait-time-to-check-out as a time to post informational signs and place merchandise in view, not solely for the purpose of sales, but also to occupy the mind, making the wait seem shorter. Overhead music with messaging is a proven staple in many retails stores. I am amazed how retail stores manage 30 or more shoppers waiting 8 minutes or more (Washington, DC) to check out and no riots break out. The right blend of Captive Audience Marketing is working.
Businesses use video screens along with strategically placed signs and brochures to engage waiting customers. These elements coupled with overhead music can provide an unobtrusive, yet informational waiting experience. Overhead audio can also provide music, marketing messages and masking to protect the privacy of conversations. In addition to the attention given to those visibly waiting customers, custom designed audio programs play to customers who call in and are waiting on hold.
Medical practices are masters of making waiting more tolerable. There’s an assurance of comfortable seating, pleasant surroundings, pictures, toys for kids, even an aquarium or two. Video screens show weather, news, medical product videos or split screens of both. Since Monday mornings are a peak call time for medical practices, audio programs that appease and engage the calling patient audience provide useful practice information while distracting callers from the wait time. The art of creating the right mix of information and music prevents overloading the caller.
So is just getting in front of your Captive Audience enough?
Well, imagine what you do when you know you’re going to meet a customer. So you’re thinking about the impression you’ll make, right? So make the right impression with professional creators for your chosen media. Believe it or not, it’s common to experience captive audience marketing that includes advertising from a competitor, we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Take the time to walk through your customer’s experience.
The best way to find where to best market to your customers is to walk their walk. Take the role of a customer so you can see, hear, feel their experience. While you’re taking their path, consider each time they may have to divert their path to one of your competitors. Any pause in the experience that allows them to feel they’re not being attended to is an opportunity for them to abort your experience in favor of a competitor.
Dan Bryant is VP/Business Development for On Hold Marketing, an audio production firm is their 30th year of providing engaging captive audience experiences that inform and retain.