The Tandem: Online Offers and Offline Fulfillment

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    Mobile marketing is an effort that falls under “experiential marketing.” It isn’t an isolated form of marketing; it’s an extension of other marketing efforts and, thus, an extension of the business itself. All the marketing efforts, including the mobile marketing ones, help to create a certain experience and to develop the business’ brand. All those efforts are for naught, though, if the offline experience doesn’t match what they say via methods such as social, mobile, digital signage, print, television, radio, et cetera.

    Saying and Doing

    The point is crucial; nurturing the online to offline conversion is a matter of saying and doing. If the online offer, be it offered through mobile, email, social media, or some other avenue, is spot-on but lacks in fulfillment, the customer leaves the store or event disappointed. At best, the customer may decide not to frequent the store or choose not to attend future events. At worst, the customer will air his or her views via some of the very same tools that that business is using, social being one of the primary ones, and, in doing so, influence other potential customers.

    The Offline Experience

    What, then, is to be done? First, businesses have to develop the offline experience. They have to ensure employees understand what offer is being made via marketing tools and to prepare them for questions that might arise as well as the pressure of increased bodies during a promotion or event.

    Businesses also have to make sure they can fulfill the demand that might be generated. Groupon is a case in point. A business offered a Valentine’s Day special via the site but wasn’t prepared to offer the fulfillment of that special until after the momentous date. The delivery date information – it said prior to and through Valentine’s Day – was posted incorrectly on the special, and the business never thought to correct the wording. While the business was able to salvage some of the relationships built through that offering, it lost a number of them because the business could not deliver the product in time for Valentine’s Day, resulting in possibly a number of awkward or heated conversations between spouses, partners, and couples.

    The Online Offer

    Second, businesses have to develop the online experience or offer as an arm of the offline. The two work in tandem; the success of one affects the other. Online experiences range from social media to email to mobile and ads. All those experiences have to contribute toward the end goal whatever that may be: increased awareness of the business, its brand, and its services or products; increased sales; or increased in-store traffic.

    Mobile may be particularly key in these efforts. While social media can reach whomever follows the business and email can be targeted to certain demographics or lists, mobile can offer even more targeting through not only demographics but also geo-location and time. Mobile seeks to meet the customer at the point of making a decision about where to go for lunch or what to do for the evening.

    Mobile also brings the offline world to the viewer’s fingertips and gives that person the ability to control and to begin to interact with the experience. If the person is interested in having that experience, he or she will at the least come to the store or the event, but it’s equally plausible that the person will be so infatuated with the offer that he or she will share the information with his or her online and offline networks. The end result? That person has become an “influencer” and brings not only awareness about an offer for a specific concert or a special at the nearby ice cream parlor but also the potential to cause other people to take advantage of the offer being made.

    How do you make sure your online offer is being fulfilled offline? Let us know in the comments.

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