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E -Mail as a “Black Box”
As an audio marketer, you are certainly familiar with this situation: you had an annual meeting with one of your customers or an agency that promised to be successful and were asked to provide an offer for the new year as soon as possible but also one customized to meet the company’s particular needs. Naturally, you put time and effort into fulfilling their request as quickly as possible and send the offer to your contact by e-mail not long after.
And then? Absolutely nothing happens.
Loads of data
This situation is nothing new to your advertising customers: They decide to handle their own radio advertising. Those responsible do a bit of research on the internet and contact a station or marketer. E-mails are exchanged, meetings take place, virtually or in person. You receive contact information or business cards and media data as well as informative brochures from several contacts, you set bookmarks for interesting facts, videos, or podcasts on the subject, take notes and gradually receive offers in several versions that are then shared, discussed, and processed with various colleagues at your company. In a short amount of time, vast amounts of data are gathered on this one transaction. Keeping track of it all requires a talent for organization.
The solution is a customer portal
Each of the situations described is unsatisfactory. And time-consuming. A digital customer portal can help in this case. At the latest since the coronavirus pandemic, customer platforms that enable companies to interact with the customers online are an important element of a successful and viable sales strategy. What companies like Amazon or BMW, the insurance industry or health insurers have successfully demonstrated in the consumer business is now also finding its way into the B2B segment.
In the first case, your offer would not be sent by e-mail, but placed into the digital customer portal. From the outset, access rights would be given to several contacts both on the customer's as well as the marketer’s side. The illness or absence of an individual would probably not be able to stop a quotation process.
And on the purchasing side, no one would have to manage a growing mass of information and data in different places, partially on paper, partially in digital format. This job is taken over by the customer portal. After a short login, all information about the audio advert is available: from the media lexicon to prices to production options and also including all contact data, the history of the collaboration as well as all offers in their different versions and, finally, the implemented orders. The correspondence belonging to specific individual projects is also kept there. Any missing audio material can be requested quickly through a chat, for example, or a video call set up for consulting. All contracts, rebate agreements and other correspondence can be retrieved for both parties at any time in the portal.
Third-party or own solution
Es gibt auf dem Marktbereits solche Kommunikationsportale zwischen Medienhäusern und ihren Werbekundinnen und -kunden bzw. Mediaagenturen. Sie ermöglichen eine einfache, direkte Kommunikation und beschleunigen die Abwicklung der Werbeprozesse. Werbetreibende oder Mediaagenturen erhalten Zugriff auf ihre Werbekampagnen. Die digitalen Systeme ermöglichen den fließenden Austausch von Werbeplänen und Werbebuchungen, integrierte Chat-Funktionalitäten und die direkte Kommunikation zwischen allen am Workflow Beteiligten rund um die Uhr. Bevor Sie sich an die Konzeption und Entwicklung eines eigenen Kundenportals wagen, lohnt es sich aus Zeit- und Kostengründen, einen Blick auf fertige Softwarelösungen zu werfen. Je nach Unternehmensgröße und Komplexität Ihrer Angebote und Produkte kann sich aber auch die Entwicklung eines eigenen Systems lohnen. Es bietet mehr Flexibilität hinsichtlich der Umsetzung eigener Ziele und der Bereitstellung individueller Lösungen mit Alleinstellungsmerkmalen.
More services = greater customer satisfaction = higher profit
Customer platforms make an important contribution to customer satisfaction by providing more service, and this in turn results in longer term customer loyalty and a rise in sales. However, whether this will succeed depends greatly on how user friendly the portal is engineered and whether it is regularly updated.
Stations and marketers must be familiar with the varying needs of their target groups and how intensely they use digital channels and adapt the portal consistently to the well-being of their customers. It may sound trite and simplistic, but it is essential: your customer portal must be clearly arranged, self-explanatory and useful. The customer base and its need for information and communication should be the focus of all considerations on the structure and design of the customer platform.
Data protection is an unpopular, but just as important of a topic in this context. Your users want to know that their data is safe hands with you.
In planning this type of a customer portal, interfaces to other systems must also be considered. On the station’s part, for example, to their CRM tool and the campaign management system, but also to call, mail and calendar functions. On the customer’s part, there may also be a desire to connect their own advertising management systems.
Customer today value being able to acquire information or complete tasks in conjunction with a business relationship or a purchasing transaction when it best fits into their schedule. Sales from a company’s standpoint tends to be more of a hybrid. There are still the classic phone calls and personal meetings, but various digital communication paths are increasingly playing a role. An agency’s media buyer wants to be able to provide an ad motif e.g., to a group of stations for tomorrow’s broadcast in such a way that she can complete the task rapidly, easily and in a way that fits into her schedule. And she wants to be sure that the ad motif will actually be used tomorrow and not land in the email inbox of her usual contact because that contact has taken a day off. These needs need to be taken seriously. A customer portal helps you do it. Now is the time to deal with it.
Yours, Andrea Anders
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