Transforming Reciprocal Value into an Organizational Asset
May 11, 2015 | Guest Post
Full disclosure: I love interactive content and have been a SnapApp advocate for well over two years. I’ve worked closely with the SnapApp team because I believe in their approach and the value it brings when done properly. The thing is, failing to effectively integrate interactive content into an overall engagement strategy leads to disjointed customer experiences, a lack of value for your organization, extra effort for your team for sub-par results, and a tendency to (incorrectly) blame the medium.
Before we jump in, let’s consider the accounting definition of “asset.” According to businessdictionary.com, an asset is: Something valuable that an entity owns, benefits from, or has use of, in generating income. A simple and sufficiently broad definition that could include a wide range of items – let’s explore how reciprocal value fits this definition.
When we talk about reciprocal value in marketing, we’re describing how the act of interacting with content simultaneously enriches the user (through insight) and the content provider (through user data). I wrote earlier about reciprocal value and integrated interactive content in this post.
In my opinion, interactive content is one of the best means of creating reciprocal value between the audience and content provider. By design, interactive content facilitates mutual discovery through each engagement. Because of this, interactive content inherently creates reciprocal value.
In this sense, the data, individual customer insights, and potential market research generated through interactive content all represent potential assets that can be use to generate revenue for your organization. Strategically leveraging those assets is critical to generating sustainable return.
Create Assets By Designing Your Feedback Loops
Reciprocal value has the potential to be an asset, if designed to be an asset. As your audience learns about themselves and their organizations, so do you. Purposefully defining how you will utilize this information by identifying feedback loops before you begin is a critical step for transforming reciprocal value and the engagements that drive them from expenses to organizational investments.
Here are four approaches to defining your feedback loops:
- Transform tribal knowledge into organizational insight
- Deliver personalized and customized experiences
- Advanced segmentation
- Leverage aggregate analytics
Transform Tribal Knowledge into Organizational Insight
In its most basic form, the impact of reciprocal value can be extended by simple data sharing with your broader organization. Passing contact and response information into your CRM or other system of record allows your entire organization to consume that information and take action as they see fit. Doing this instantly transforms reciprocal value into organizational knowledge.
Likely consumers of reciprocal value in this format are Sales, Customer Service, and Delivery teams. These groups interact with contacts in a one-to-one manner, relying heavily on relationships to deliver value in these engagements. Reciprocal value has the potential to significantly enrich these interactions by giving Sales, Customer Service, and Delivery deeper insights into customer needs, preferences, and challenges. Instituting and adopting a practice of using these insights is how reciprocal value becomes organizational knowledge instead of tribal knowledge.
Deliver Personalized and Customized Experiences
Using reciprocal value to drive personalized experiences creates scale beyond organizational knowledge. Strategically incorporating insights into your communications clearly signals to your audiences that you’re listening and responding to their unique needs. This approach is conversational in nature, rather than broadcast, and leads to greater engagement, interaction, and ultimately trust from your audience.
As a quick win, begin incorporating response information and insights into communications via field merges and dynamic content. As an example, if your contacts take a personality assessment, reference their result in the next email you send. Similarly, you can tailor the offer your contacts receive based on their response by delivering a unique link with dynamic content in an email or on the landing page. There are a multitude of methods for customizing the experiences; the main point is to systematically listen and respond to your audience.
Engaging the right audience at the right time, with the right message, in the right context, and the right channel is challenging – especially if you don’t have visibility into their preferences. It’s even harder when your audience doesn’t know what their own preferences are. Here’s where reciprocal value lends considerable advantage.
Applying what you learn about your customers to future communications is a great way to stack the deck towards downstream engagement. Reciprocal value allows for if/then marketing (also known as the Choose Your Own Adventure™ approach). Based on the insights and information revealed by your contacts, your organization can set them down specially selected paths that align perfectly with their specific needs. Beyond traditional profile segmentation and even behavioral segmentation, this next-level approach requires the organization to listen and respond to audience needs.
Leverage Aggregate Analytics
If your organization is collecting data about individuals, you can roll that data up into an aggregate analysis. This analysis can be used to inform organizational strategy, future engagements with new contacts, product development, customer service, or any other organizational approach to interacting with your audiences.
As such, the engagements your organization deploys should be as strategically architected as any market research study. Your organization needs to know what data it should be capturing, how insight will be collected from that data, and how that insight will be integrated back into the organization. Purposefully designing engagements to do this moves the organization to a higher strategic plane and extends the impact of reciprocal value.
If your organization isn’t currently generating reciprocal value – stop reading and start today. Next-in-class organizations that are serious about converting customer insight into a strategic asset will begin using one or all of these methods. Each method provides distinct competitive advantages, from empowering individuals to delivering insights that inform organizational strategy. Determining which method or methods are right for your organization is a critical next step.
Regardless, strategically leveraging reciprocal value as an organizational asset requires careful integration within and across functions. It requires the organizational capability of customer-centricity and the discipline to purposefully apply that capability. Doing this allows your organization to use reciprocal value as a revenue-generating asset.
Justin Yopp is a Revenue Marketing Coach at The Pedowitz Group. He has spent the last seven years crafting business and marketing strategies for local and global businesses, with an emphasis on demand generation. Justin helps organizations accelerate beyond best practices to quicker positive ROI, increase internal buy-in and adoption, and capture more market mindshare. Connect with Justin on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter!