Gone are the days when your Marketing department was able to deliver communication messages using the various appeals (e.g. cognitive and emotional) and watch sales rise. With the proliferation of the digital media, the consumer is now able to disseminate information about your brand to a huge audience. For example, if a Facebook message goes viral, it could reach even more people than your very expensive TV commercial. Hence, in order to be successful in today’s environment, it is extremely important to keep a constant check on the pulse of your prospective audience.

One method of keeping this watch is through tracking calls and conducting a keyword level analysis. The keyword analysis would red-flag areas of concern before it becomes a problem. For example, you can set up “poor service” as a trigger to be highlighted. If the number of callers saying these words is increasing then you know that enhancement of service quality needs your immediate attention.

If your company has made a mistake, then prompt remedial action and subsequent marketing that frankly acknowledges the mistake is called for.  When Dominos Pizza found out that the taste of their Pizza had declined, they undertook a wide-scale campaign that brought together people who had complained about the taste of their Pizza. All these people were asked to try their new and improved recipe and give feedback. This strategy which worked for Dominos can be used across industries. For example, if you work for an airline department and discover that a passenger’s guitar has been lost then the best approach is to quickly rectify and compensate for your mistake. If you wait to do this then the musician may be tempted to make a song about your airline and before you know it, the song could be become your worst nightmare by being shared through online channels. Admitting your mistake frankly gives you an opportunity to improve and publicize that improvement.

All in all, we find that earned media is taking precedence over owned media when it comes to spreading a message to a huge audience in a cost-effective manner. A personal message on Facebook or Twitter can help your brand build a follower-base for your marketing message. The best part is that your consumer can now be a stakeholder in your business. If she believes in your mission and feels for it, she will share it with like-minded people. She is no more a recipient of your message but an active partner who is helping to spread your marketing message. Solicit ideas from such users and the results could be better than what an in-house research team could ever come up with for you.

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