Marketing channels are increasingly co-managed by companies and customers

08 jan. 2010 | Written by Julia

When they are planning holidays, customers are influenced by many factors before arriving to the final points of sales. We can group this factors under the name of marketing channels, and separate them into two categories: factors that drive free traffic and factors that drive paid traffic.

But albeit one is called free and the other is called paid, it is wrong to think that the first one is without costs. Indeed, it is the result of a long term strategy (so you paid for the steady efforts of your team), thus it brings regular visitors to your points of sales. That why I prefer to use the expression “natural traffic”. As for paid traffic, it is most the result of punctual actions and has rather short or mid-term impacts.

Natural traffic

We can find three sources of “natural traffic”: the loyal customers, the customers who are lead by advisors (Word-of-Mouth) and the natural traffic in its on-line meaning (traffic from search engine, also called organic traffic)

Loyal customers

This is a direct traffic, and it is allowed by the building of good rapports with the customers.
Thus, it can be illustrated by the clients who come by them-self and ask directly for a product in a travel agency, or by the clients who tape directly an URL in their browser. This customers know us, appreciate our products or our brand and so came back by them-self.

Word-of-Mouth (WOM)

The popularity of a brand or a product can by influenced by prescribers. Originally we talk about word-of-mouth, but on the internet, we also use buzz-marketing or “word-of-mouse”. It takes place in forums, social media, blogs’ comments and dedicated web site as TripAvisor or Vinivi.
This influence can be positive or negative and is generated by the customers. Thus it will be depending of the quality of the products and services, and of the listening the company made of its customers.

Organic traffic from the “Google meaning”

The last one is the organic traffic coming from the search engine. It is the result of the SEO strategy. It come from general search engine as Google or Bing, but also from multimedia content (Flickr, Googles Images, Youtube…) and geo-localization (Google Maps).

Paid trafic

Then we have several sources that we can classified under the name of paid traffic. It has a punctual impact on the customer behavior, so it allows players to positioning their brands in customers mind, and to display their products at a key moments during the holidays planning process of the customer.

Example of behavioral targeting :: Case of an Internet user that get a targeted ad on TripConnect after having searched for rentals in Toronto on Avis website

When marketing was only off-line, to make the offer encounter the demand at the right time, marketers were using two kinds of factors to improve their campaigns: variations by seasonality and geo-localization (e.g. ads differ from central London and from province).
Of course on-line marketing reuse this principles, but they can be extensively personalized. Thus, on-line marketing allows to get closer to the customer’s expectations, and so help to improve the return on investment (ROI).

Contextual advertising

At the beginning, contextual advertising has been created on internet. It made a small revolution, because it allowed to display ads (banners or links) depending of the content of the web page (the best examples of this are Adwords and AdSense).

Behavioral targeting

Since 2008, we note the gain of importance of behavioral targeting in advertising. This is improving the previous technique of contextual targeting, by displaying ads according to comportemental data (requests, clicks… made by the user) or according to personal data (information given by the user him-self as his age, his sexe, his tastes…).

So as we can see, companies have more and more tools to ripen and improve their marketing campaigns. But they should not forgive to get closer to their customers and to converse with him. Indeed, customers is him-self a marketing channel and this is having a more and more powerful impact.

Comments are closed