What is a Touchpoint?
A touchpoint is a point of contact between a customer and your product, service, or brand. Whether before, during, or after an actual sale has taken place, any interaction a customer has with your business is considered a touchpoint and potential for your business to increase their customer’s perception of your brand. Touchpoints span the whole value chain, but dealing specifically with the franchise industry and the major customer touchpoints franchises have to manage in relation to customers, there are five: direct mail marketing, in-store advertising, point-of-sale advertising, social media marketing, and mobile initiatives.
Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail is one of the most heavily used forms of advertisement with multiple coupons for different brands hitting mail boxes every day. The direct marketing association pegs the response rate at “Letter-sized envelopes, for instance, had a response rate this year of 3.42 percent for a house list and 1.38 percent for a prospect list.” This shotgun approach has been a consistent marketer’s tool , but with the low response rate, and even lower conversion rate, marketer’s are seeking other channels and touchpoints to reach customers.
In-store advertising is a major touchpoint as customers are already in the store, and now in-store advertising hopes to increase sales and promote products customers may not have intended to purchase in the first place. These highly visible displays of advertisement help influence a customer’s purchasing decision and awareness of new product offerings. The future of in-store advertising is making these advertisements uniquely relevant to customers depending on their prior purchasing decisions. This type of tailoring will increase relevance, and thus increase sales conversion.
Point-of-sale advertising refers to any advertisement placed at the actual point of sale, usually at the cash register or around the POS system. This pertains to pop-up display ads, counter-top mats, and more recently promotions on the POS integrated credit card terminal. This POS integrated advertising is just starting to become more noticeable at businesses. It is still very basic and infant in its development with black and white screens and just simple messages trying to up-sell or cross-promote a product. Some of the most apparent uses of this are at gas stations when they ask you if you want a car wash to go with your fill up and at retail stores when they ask you if you would like to sign up for a credit card or donate some money to a particular charity. Point-of-sale advertising can be a very effective tool if presented properly and not just as another display advertisement, but enveloping the customer into the brand and experience of your business.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing refers to the new platforms oriented around people sharing with their social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. These services allow brands to build their online social profile and increase their brand awareness online. If leveraged properly, loyal customers help brands by sharing interesting information and deals with their friends and family. This type of “free” brand awareness is what marketers are looking to tap in to. Currently there is a disconnect with physical businesses and online profiles, as in-store purchases are not as easily translated onto social media networks. Customers, especially the younger demographic are becoming more and more technologically savvy and have the desire to be ‘social’ with their online networks.
Mobile marketing refers to reaching customers on their cell phones whether through text messaging, a mobile website, or a mobile application on their smartphone. This is a very important medium as the number of smartphones are rapidly increasing and potential customers always carry their phones with them. Targeting customer’s phones have numerous benefits including being able to contact them at a particular time of the day (ie: 10:30am when they are making lunch plan) or when they are in a particular location (ie: within 1 mile from your store). This makes mobile marketing exponentially more relevant and conversions significantly higher than other mediums of contact. Text message marketing (or SMS marketing) has not garnered as much popularity as other forms of marketing, but from case studies of those who have implemented text message marketing, businesses have seen 15-20% redemption rate, leading to significantly higher sales compared to a similar sales period.
Managing Multiple Touchpoints
New mediums for reaching and contacting customers are spawning as technology is becoming more integrated into lives. This offers new opportunities for businesses and brands, but it also presents a challenge to manage all of these new touchpoints. Integrated solutions that offer a comprehensive platform to manage the majority of these initiatives will prove beneficial to brands and their business.