- By Phil Fernandez, Marketo CEO
In every corner of the marketing world these days you will find marketers of all stripes worshiping at the altar of the “Click.” The problem is that from the standpoint of real, bottom-line marketing results, the “Emperor of Clicks” has no clothes.
The fact is, the click has become an end unto itself for too many marketers. Far from being the end-goal, the click is actually just the first step toward creating relevant engagement with a person, of course it can ultimately lead to a strong customer relationship. Marketing was never meant to be “click it and forget it” and today’s marketer needs to realize that marketing is really about creating revenue and relationships.
The click crisis
Long after the click occurs, the real focus of marketing must be to establish and maintain ongoing relationships with customers built on mutual trust and shared benefits. However, in pursuit of ever more clicks, the digital advertising game has turned into an arms race that is leading brands and companies (and their marketers) pretty much to nowhere. Consequently, it’s not a surprise to me that ad buster apps have become best sellers lately. The relentless pursuit of clicks has turned off “clickees” (your customer and prospects) to the point where many of them will do anything to avoid intrusive digital ads, no matter the format or content.
For brands and marketers pursuing more and more clicks, the Emperor’s “new clothes” are looking pretty shabby right now. And that’s a lose-lose for everyone.
Customers not clicks
Getting a click is a good start, but it is just one small step in the full process of marketing engagement. Once you’ve bagged that click, then what? In the rush to develop powerful new ways to generate more clicks (e.g., programmatic ad buying, mobile marketing, native advertising, etc.), I have not heard much dialogue about what happens once the click goes through. Here’s something to think about: What if marketers spent more money and effort on driving deep customer engagement and advocacy outcomes rather than launching yet another campaign to generate clicks?
And what if that engagement was part of an integrated relationship-building approach that interacts with prospects in helpful and respectful ways across their entire journey with your brand? Do you believe that kind of authentic engagement marketing would net you more, and longer lasting, results than a bunch of clicks that have little relevance or follow through for your prospects?
I believe today’s obsession with clicks has risen to near crisis proportions in the digital marketing space. Marketing needs to move away from meaningless clicks toward actions that actually move prospects to do something. Ideally, that something provides both value and a sense of delight to the prospect. In that spirit, the once-and-future virtuous cycle in marketing should include the following steps: Generate a click or some other form of engagement that ignites customer advocacy and action by your brand, delivers real value, nurtures a positive relationship, and then coverts to a revenue transaction.
The virtuous cycle does not end there. Once the revenue transaction has occurred an equally important cycle kicks in that triggers a vital feedback and loyalty loop. This loop is essential to creating a long term, profitable relationship with your brand. The true power of engagement marketing is not about a click to nowhere.
Ultimately, clicks are about finding an “audience” rather than engaging prospects in a meaningful way. To be sure, attracting an audience is nice to have and a great starting point. But, relationships are what fuel growth and long term business success. Next time try focusing your real strategic and creative firepower on everything that needs to happen after the click.