Talking Touch Points
When marketers say “Touch Points,” they are referring to any interaction between a customer and your brand. For example, your customers can interact with your brand through your product, your service, your website, your mobile site, your mobile app, your social media and even places you haven’t thought of. Often referred to as cross-platform marketing or omni-channel marketing, companies are now taking a 360 degree view of their marketing strategies across multiple Touch Points.
While not every Touch Point illustrated above will apply to each company, some important opportunities for customer interaction are often ignored, likely because companies haven’t realized their value; the hidden touch points if you will.
Conversion rates are often only measured and optimized on a company or individual’s website, forgetting about all the other areas where a person can interact with a particular brand. Websites are the most obvious Touch Point to utilize, monitor, measure and optimize for conversion. Brands start here when they want to know what their customers are thinking and make informed decisions about how they can improve the users’ experience online. The value and statistical use of this Touch Point speaks for itself. The value of hidden Touch Points is discussed below.
Measuring Hidden Touch Points
The fastest growing and most dynamic Touch Point is Mobile. According to an interview with technology strategist, Michael Kopp, the mobile market will continue to grow and become increasingly personalized. Mobile platforms are already catering to different operating systems like iOS, Android and Blackberry, likely in addition to being part of responsive design architecture, but soon your phone will host an array of enhanced smart services. Smart Phones are going to be able to predict your next move and offer you apps, content and services that are personalized to your online habits, says Michael. The future of this Touch Point is very exciting if marketers will be able to advertise directly to consumers on the go, based on their individual behavioural patterns. Mobile websites are on the rise and the importance of understanding and measuring conversion in a mobile environment is a blog on its own. The point is that mobile, apps, websites and advertisements are not going away anytime soon and the potential for return in these environments is high.
If you own an e-commerce website, your mobile stakes are even higher. According to research performed by Go-Gulf, 15% of online purchases worldwide are made using a mobile phone. Additionally if you’re an e-commerce owner you have more to lose if 40% of your traffic turns to your competition after a bad mobile experience on your website since these potential customers may develop brand loyalty elsewhere. As it stands now almost half of your mobile traffic will leave if the page loading time is slow. Taking care of this Touch Point is crucial to micro and macro conversions and will pay off, but there are other components to the mobile landscape.
Mobile advertisements are predicted to account for $36 billion dollars in global spending in the next 2 years. If you’ve invested heavily in mobile ads, it would be wise to make sure that this Touch Point is converting the way you had hoped. If it isn’t, don’t abandon this Touch Point, instead find out why.
According to the Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, tablets are used more frequently than Smart Phones for accessing websites. The CMO.com website geared towards digital marketing insight actually has an 8-point plan to optimizing a deployment strategy for the tablet Touch Point, which is highly intertwined with that of the mobile but is still a unique consideration on its own. For example, the tablet-optimized website should be developed after a site optimized for mobile, and any thoughts for apps should be subsequent to this thought process. Other considerations could include the type of content you choose to showcase on your tablet Touch Point – for example, weekend consumers are likely to make online purchases from here.
The In-OS Touch Point can’t be measured in the same way as the others. Everyone who owns a computer or mobile device is running an operating system of some kind, including Apple platforms (OS X and iOS), Windows or Linux platforms. Therefore the value of this Touch Point is inherent as a necessary feature of our day to day activities on computers. There are some operating system considerations for development and user experience.
Operating systems can be thought of as opposing schools of thought. Each was designed by highly skilled programmers, but in the beginning these programmers were operating in vacuum, not considering what the other was doing.
While Windows used to rule the world of OS until Apple OS’s and Linux gathered steam, it’s now more difficult to say who is winning the operating system war. As of March, over 60% of mobile users who accessed the internet did so from an iOS. At the same time, most business environments are still operating with Windows and therefore companies must keep both in mind.
Software and formatting discrepancies are likely to be the biggest headache when designing for different systems. For example, some software simply won’t run on iOS and vice versa. The example of software becomes more obvious through standard business activities where documents become a scramble of characters between machines. There isn’t much you can do about the fact that Macs will almost always outperform low-end PC’s in terms of processing speed, so ensure that you’ve optimized your site for the shortest possible page loading times as possible.
There are a whole host of various considerations you can take on while developing online environments that will allow this Touch Point to shine across any OS. Just some things to keep in mind.
Forget radio ads and billboards; the automobile has already become a Touch Point known as the connected car, according to iMedia Connection. In a recent post they explained how cars are now connected to wireless, 3G and the driver’s smartphone, giving brands and advertisers access to a whole new range of marketing tools. For example, the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud was designed to cater one-to-one marketing messages to consumers at any Touch Point, even while consumers are in their car. ExactTarget Marketing Cloud services in the car are all ‘opt-in’ and meant to be helpful. This Touch Point is very new and expected to evolve drastically over the next two quarters.
The term set-top box used to refer to the cable or satellite receiver that would rest on top of the flat top of the TV. Now with the invention of Apple TV, Google TV and more, the set-top box is yet one more Touch Point. These so called smart TVs convert internet video into TV signals so you can put away your tablet and watch YouTube, Netflix and other internet media on your television. With 400 million people predicted to own smart TV’s by 2016, this is a Touch Point worth measuring and keeping an eye on.
The SMS Touch Point refers to text marketing, a highly effective and somewhat intrusive way to market to your consumers. Using a mass text message, companies can be sure that 97% of consumers who receive their branded text will read it and 83% in the first hour of receiving it. If the predictive nature of Mobile Touch Points is true, this means that brands could send coupons, promotions and daily specials directly to consumers, anywhere, based on their past behavior.
The physical Touch Point can take many shapes and sizes, from an actual brick and mortar store, to a branded demonstration, a PR stunt, a conference and even simply a QR Code. The QR Code will tell you exactly how many people’s eyes you caught with your ad since you can tell how much traffic came to your website through your QR Code. According to Marketing Charts, QR codes are on the decline despite the rise in Smartphone use, and this is even more apparent in Europe than the US.
The other forms of on-location Touch Points listed above are likely the easiest types of Touch Points to measure as consumers are more likely to give you feedback in person than online, and you could simply measure the attendance of an event for example. Similarly, on-location is the oldest type of Touch Point and lends itself to traditional forms of marketing and advertising.
Software as a Service is an industry name for any company whose product is actually service-based software. For example, Hubspot’s raison d’être is to provide analytics software. In this example, their software services replace a physical product as a Touch Point. In the same way that a company would create a product and measure the success of its launch and the consumer reaction to it, SaaS companies have to focus on this Touch Point as it is their flagship.
In 2013 SaaS companies accounted for 16.7 billion dollars in the global marketplace. From SaaS driven brands to the smaller software services that complement development agencies, the SaaS Touch Point is an ongoing opportunity to make a lasting impression to your future customers and reinforce brand loyalty with your existing customers.
Applications used to be made for desktops, then they became web based, and now they are most often referred to in a mobile context. There is literally an app for everything these days; therefore, this is likely one of the most diverse Touch Points to discuss. Not surprisingly there is even an app called TouchPoint so businesses can measure the effectiveness of their apps.
Apps can be very basic or very complex, regardless of whether they are desktop, web-based or mobile and the amount of work that goes into each can be immense. For example, development, backend integration, ongoing device updates and more means that an undertaking is ahead of anyone who sets out to create an app. The potential ROI of an app makes this process worth it. With over a million apps in existence and an approximate 1.2 billion mobile app users, it’s easy to make a value case for this Touch Point.
Action Items: Plan, Tools, Actions
Create a cross-platform/omni-channel conversion optimization plan that considers every possible area where a consumer can interact with your brand. Get a 360 degree view of your touch points and look at how they interact with one another and then how customers interact with them. Use analytics wherever possible (desktop, mobile, social) and start there for measuring your existing Touch Points. Use survey tools to gain insight into why the analytics are what they are. Gather the voice of your customer and figure out why the numbers say what they do. Every brand has the opportunity to tap into their touch points; some may be more obvious than others.
About the Author
Scarlett Jones MacKenzie is a content Jedi. She has worked in digital marketing and PR for the last 5 years learning how to create winning content strategies for her clients. Scarlett enjoys writing and sharing her knowledge and experience with the industry.