Always-on marketing. It even sounds scary. Yet this digital marketing strategy could be the exact thing your business needs to carry its conversions from good to great. Here’s everything you need to know about always-on marketing, and how to get it working for you, from the team here at Zebra 360 Online Marketing.
So what is always-on marketing?
At face value, you probably think every piece of content you run in the digital space is ‘always on’. Your website is, after all, always there. Someone who can’t sleep could easily read your Twitter feed for the last 3 years at 2 am. Surely that’s the very definition of ‘always on’, right?
What we’re looking at there is marketing that’s always available. That doesn’t really always correlate with ‘on’. Defining the exact parameters of ‘always-on marketing’ is a little more difficult.
The real idea behind ‘always-on marketing’ is creating an on-going, non-campaign linked approach to your marketing. It should be facilitating brand experiences through smart optimization and targeting anywhere an opportunity to create that experience exists. Optimization is an important part of this. It’s not a matter of creating a buying journey, and leaving it be. It’s a matter of constantly evolving and finetuning that aspect so it’s always working at it’s best for you. And then combining that with other aspects of that buying journey, all doing the same.
The idea is to never, ever be caught short. Whenever an opportunity comes along to shine, your brand will be there, front and centre, ready to take advantage. For the travel industry, this is key. The reasons people travel are manifold and often overlap. Taking a business trip doesn’t mean you won’t also be sightseeing for pleasure. How is that person’s buying journey going to be different from the full-leisure traveller? How can you ensure both browsers progress to the purchase point? It’s a matter of using data smartly to anticipate (and evolve to) the customer’s needs.
That doesn’t mean aggressively hammering your products into the travellers face, nor does it mean blowing a ton of budget- you’ll be using the data you’re (hopefully) already collecting. Nor does it mean the death of your traditional and burst advertising campaigns. It’s just a way to enhance them.
Isn’t that what brands do anyway?
Ideally, yes. But many brands fall into the trap of always being reactive in the way they address their customer’s buying journey. And that’s where sales get lost. If your competitors understand your customer better than you, and deliver the most appealing product at the right time, boom…. That’s a lost sale right there.
What causes this? Mostly, it’s down to a lack of meaningful data. Is the buying journey you are creating relevant to your consumer? Is it personalised? The modern consumer, especially in the travel industry, spends a ton of time in research and comparison before committing. They do it across a range of devices. They join loyalty programs across different companies, and they browse different things. They share (and don’t share) interests. All of this has an impact on how, where and why they book down the line.
Many brands are accumulating data left and right, yet can’t answer those pretty simple questions and don’t realise what unites their customers, and where they differ. It’s not about hoarding data- it’s about using it meaningfully.
Obviously, this requires intelligent systems for data use to be in place. A smart algorithm or two is probably going to be key, or at least a digital marketing guru to assist you in crafting a campaign that actually uses facts to personalise the client journey- and profiles those clients efficiently. You need the systems to learn and adapt to consumer needs and behaviour, and you need it done at a scale to be meaningful. Smart data crunching takes that from impossible to standard.
Lastly, you’re going to need smart content that adapts to follow the patterns you identify with your data. This can be a little hit-and-miss at first, of course, but over time it will pay off.
How would I even begin to implement always-on marketing?
A key component here is moving from reactive to proactive digital marketing mindsets. You’re going to be testing and tweaking constantly, rolling out what works. There will be no resting on your laurels here. It will be a slow-but-steady progress of identifying a buying journey your consumers take, personalizing it, and watching what happens. Tweaking and refining all the way. When you get the results you want, you can apply what’s working to other aspects of your marketing journey. Realise that pushing ‘publish’ isn’t the end of your content journey- it’s the very start.
The idea of always-on marketing can be very complex to apply to your business, especially within the travel industry. Luckily, the Zebra 360 Online Marketing team are on hand to help you make the most of all your social media marketing efforts.