How Do I Expect My Newspaper to Ensure My Loyalty?
"We missed you..." read the SMS I received from my bank. No, they did not miss me at the branch where I maintain my account, but on their online channel. "Wow! Here is someone who values my loyalty. I wonder if the folks in media are equally sensitive about the loyalty of their consumers?"
Each time I consume traditional media, I leave marks behind, but I don't always get a "miss you" message from the owners. Then again, why would I hold terrestrial radio, television channel or newspapers responsible? I don't login to them... How would they even know that I was there given the absence of a LOGIN?
The point is they do know I was there, because even without a login, I do leave marks behind.
For example, my newspaper gets delivered to my doorstep every morning. Instead of a paper copy, I can also browse its online version without ever logging in to the site. How will the publisher know that I have been consuming their content?
The answer is not as complex as it might appear. There is still a way for them to figure out I was there. The newspaper carries a weekly business quiz. Readers can submit entries by registering their responses online, provide their name/address/phone/e-mail, click the submit button, and voila they have left their mark!
Although I am one of potentially thousands of others who have periodically interacted with the publication over time, it's safe to say that none of us have been ever "missed" by the publisher. At the same time, one can argue why it matters as long as the readership surveys corroborate a healthy readership.
Yes, I agree, I do not expect the owner/editor, to interact with every reader one-on-one simply because we participate in a weekly quiz!
But, what if I have moved out of the publication's market area, will they even know? My paper is delivered by a distributor. It's likely that the publisher doesn't have my or other readers' home or email addresses or phone numbers. What if together we represent a critical mass that shows up in the readership survey numbers, how can the loss be arrested? Two options come to mind.
The first option is a marketing blitz to acquire new and possibly lost readers. The second would be to increase the number of touch points from a single channel (print) to multiple channels such as online and mobile.
It's likely that most publishers would agree that option two is a necessity in today's connected world, whereas the same group might view option one, a marketing blitzk, as being too expensive. However, such an approach could be downsized given an ongoing effort to engage with both current and past readers, i.e., those who moved away. Remember, they left their marks!
I would be happy to receive a miss you note from my newspaper publisher reminding me about the upcoming weekly quiz, its theme, and how I can catch up on the past editions. I might even be more responsive to an invitation to submit quiz questions that might be featured in future editions along with my name and photo.
Similarly, there might be readers who once wrote regularly to the editor, commented on the news stories on the site, or actively participated on the social media presence of the publication, but have since stopped. They might enjoy receiving miss you notes from the publication in which they once invested their time.
Given that the former readers left their marks behind, such an outreach effort is certainly doable. Data aggregation and analysis tools make it possible to organize and take advantage of customer "marks" regardless of the medium or media used. Unified dashboards enable media marketers to track valuable key performance indicators.
In spite of the widespread availability of these and similar customer tracking and interaction tools, however, I still await that miss you note from my newspaper publisher. I have stopped responding to the quiz and have placed a bet with myself that they don't care a dime about my participation. Let's see who wins! On whom you'll place your bet?