With an eye on experiences, marketers at ClickZ Live in New York on Tuesday agreed that to build strong consumer relationships in the "connection economy," a combination of data and omnichannel marketing is essential.
In order to reach the right consumers, marketers have to be willing to take risks with the channels they choose and the creative they push out, even if it means not connecting with mass audiences. Author and marketer Seth Godin described this as the "purple cow" effect during his morning speech at the event.
"You know what a purple cow is? Remarkable. You know what that is? Something worth making a remark about," Godin said. "Almost all marketing pain is caused by organizations who don’t have the guts to make something remarkable."
The essence of the digital transformation, as Godin described it, is finding "tribes" of people and leading them — similar to what brands that have built successful cult followings have done.
Although there's not a one-size-fits-all model for brands to follow, constantly testing and experimenting helps.
For 65-year-old Dunkin' Brands, a mix of traditional and mobile marketing have proven to be the right combination.
John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation for Dunkin’ Brands, told the audience that looking at the data and really understanding what their consumers' unmet needs are has helped the brand differentiate itself among its beverage competitors. (A majority of Dunkin's business, 60%, is beverage.)
"Dunkin' is very much a cult brand," Costello explained. The key to any marketing, especially on mobile — which Costello likened to having a conversation with a friend — is to make it relevant and useful to your consumers.
Data "should help inform decisions and supplement experimentation, not replace it," he said.
While holding true to their core values, Dunkin' has leveraged data and mobile to personalize at scale. To build brand loyalty, Dunkin' has crafted a broad omnichannel marketing strategy, focused on utility, that allows it to personalize by location.
For example, the brand launched an app built around a store locator. They partnered with navigation app Waze so that when users are searching for coffee, Dunkin' locations are the ones that appear.
"If you're a brand based on fueling people on the run, it makes sense," Costello said.
As we move further into an era of abundance, where consumers have a growing number of options, brands "need teams of people who create value" and who can intentionally help build a culture around that brand, Godin said. At the heart of the connection economy, "consumers want to be seen, B2B customers want to be seen," and ultimately, they want to belong.