In the pre-digital era, marketing strategies were built around sporadic marketing campaigns that would generate a burst of interest and sales but then taper off until the next campaign. This type of “interruption marketing” is no longer effective in today’s digital age, where consumers are bombarded with a never-ending stream of information and advertising.
Always-on marketing is a more practical approach that considers the way consumers interact with brands today. With this type of marketing, your brand is constantly present and interacting with your audience, rather than disappearing between campaigns for long periods.
What’s Always-On Marketing?
Always on marketing is a planned approach to marketing that keeps your brand continuously engaged with your audience, rather than pursuing sporadic campaigns that only appear occasionally.
Also referred to as continuous or perpetual marketing, always-on marketing is designed to take advantage of how consumers interact with brands today. In the age of social media and digital communications, customers are used to having a constant connection with the brands they love.
Still confused? Let’s compare always-on marketing with the more traditional, interruption-based approach to marketing.
The Difference Between Always-On Marketing and Traditional Marketing
With always-on marketing, your brand is like a best friend who’s always there for you. You might not talk to each other every day, but you know they’re always around when you need them.
On the other hand, traditional marketing is more like a one-night stand. You might have a great time when you first meet them, but there’s no guarantee you’ll ever see them again.
Interruption marketing: A marketing strategy where a company interrupts consumers with periodic ads or messages
Continuous/perpetual marketing: A marketing strategy where a company maintains an ongoing presence and interaction with its customers
So, How Does it Work?
Simple. By maintaining a consistent presence across all channels – including social media, email, your website, and even offline channels like print or TV – you stay top of mind with your audience and build trust over time.
Two fundamental elements define always-on marketing:
1# It’s “Pulled” from the Consumer: Unlike interruption marketing, always-on marketing is “pulled” from the consumer. In other words, you’re not blasting them with ads or messages but rather providing valuable content and engaging with them in a useful and relevant way.
For instance, if you sell skincare products, you might provide helpful tips on your blog or social media channels about taking care of your skin. You’re not directly selling anything but providing valuable content that pulls people in and helps them understand their pain points and your brand.
2# It’s Anticipatory: It hinges on a deep understanding of consumer behavior. By anticipating what people want and need before they even know it, you can provide them with the information and solutions they’re looking for.
It’s about trying to provide something in advance in the context of time, place, emotion, and need.
For example, if you know that someone is planning a vacation, you could send them a list of the best beaches in the area or share tips on how to stay safe while traveling. You’re not selling anything directly, but you’re providing helpful information that anticipates the needs of your audience.
The always-on marketing approach acts as a “pull” model in that it’s always looking for specific people who have an interest in your product or service.
Why Adopt an Always-On Marketing Strategy?
There are several advantages to always-on marketing, including:
- It allows you to build a more consistent brand identity.
- Always-on marketing keeps your brand top of mind with your target audience.
- Improved efficiency of your marketing spends
- Identifies topics that are most relevant to your target audience
- Accelerate the sales cycle by providing the right content at the right time
- Improved customer loyalty and brand advocacy
Always-on Marketing (AOM) will ensure you maintain continuous online visibility and interaction with your customers 24/7, 365 days a year. The idea is to reach and convince your target audience about your products and services using search engines, reviews, social media, comparison sites, and relevant influencers right at that very moment when they are researching your industry or product.
It’s a powerful and efficient way to nurture potential customers throughout their purchase journey by providing them with the right content at every stage of their purchase journey.
Key Techniques to Support Always-on Marketing
If you buy into this concept, there are a few techniques you can use to support your always-on marketing strategy.
1# Planning AOM: Always-on marketing should be planned and structured just like your other digital marketing campaigns. It helps to have a well-defined strategy process, set goals, and a way to track results.
2# Investing in AOM: Always-on marketing requires a continuous investment of time and resources. You must invest in automation technology, specialist agency techniques like SEO, SMM, paid ads, content marketing, etc., and also in media to attract and retarget your audience.
3# Iterating and Improving AOM: Always-on marketing is ongoing. It’s, therefore, necessary to constantly review and improve your strategy. Try new things, test different techniques, and see what works best for your business.
Keep in mind that you aren’t the only one using always-on marketing. If anything, it’s become the norm for many brands and businesses.
The key is to do it right and constantly work on optimizing your strategy and techniques.
An Example of Always-on Marketing in Action
Spotify is a classic example of a company that uses always-on marketing. They have a social media presence, an email newsletter, and even TV commercials. They constantly bombard potential customers with messages about their services, fares, and special deals.
Mayur Gupta, Spotify’s growth innovation and marketing head, was interviewed by AdWeek on “How to Build an Always-on Marketing machine.
In the interview, he talked about the following key success factors:
- Asked Marketers to Start thinking About the Holistic View of the Consumer: Most of the time, marketers only know a single version of the consumer they’ve built in their heads. Marketers need to challenge this view and look at the consumers from a holistic point of view, which is only possible when you break down internal silos.
Think about the email mom, e-commerce mom, the app mom, and the social media mom.
“We have to think about the different channels and all the different personas that a consumer could be in at any given time,” he said.
- Don’t Forget Context: Mayur also touched on the importance of context in always-on marketing. He said that marketers need to go beyond just thinking about the channel and think about what’s happening in the consumer’s life.
For example, a consumer at home might be in a different state of mind than when they usually are at work.
“Marketers need to think about the time, place, and context of where the consumer is when they’re seeing their marketing message,” said Gupta. “It’s not just about the channel; it’s about understanding the consumer.”
- Use Omnichannel Marketing: Gupta believes that omnichannel marketing is the future of always-on marketing.
“Omnichannel is really the only way to go because it gives you that holistic view of the consumer,” he said. “You can’t just think about one interaction; you have to think about all the interactions a consumer could have with your brand.”
Spotify is an excellent example of a brand that uses always-on marketing effectively. They have a strong presence across all channels.
Most importantly, make sure your marketing message is consistent across all channels.
- Listen, Target, Test, and Refine: The final key point that Gupta raised was the importance of listening, targeting, testing, and refining your marketing strategy.
“You have to be data-driven and constantly test and refine your strategy,” he said. “You can’t just put something out there and hope for the best.”
Why Do Most Brands Struggle with Always-on Marketing: What are these Changes they Face?
As with any new marketing strategy, there are a few challenges that brands face when implementing always-on marketing.
Lack of Data
Data is the foundation of every always-on marketing campaign. Without data, it’s impossible to know your target audience, what they want, and how to reach them.
Come to think about: what else can your automation run on if not on data?
Brands’ biggest challenge is simply gathering enough data to get started. Once you have a solid foundation of data, creating and implementing always-on marketing campaigns becomes much easier.
Without data, relevance goes out the window — you might as well just email everyone.
Data is what helps you test and optimize your campaigns. Without it, you’re doing nothing more than casting a wide net and hoping for the best.
Lack of Integration
Marketing silos are another big obstacle to always-on marketing. As mentioned earlier, brands need to break down internal silos and think about the consumer from a holistic point of view.
That is difficult to do when the different teams in your organization or business work in isolation. The marketing team might create great content, but if it’s not integrated with the sales and customer service teams, don’t expect it to be effective.
The key is to have a common goal and a shared understanding of the customer journey. Without this, it’s impossible to create a seamless omnichannel experience for the consumer.
Lack of Content
Always-on marketing requires a constant flow of fresh content. That can be a challenge for brands that don’t have a lot of resources or the time to dedicate to creating original content.
The key is to focus on quality over quantity. Quality content will be more effective in reaching your target audience and driving results.
In addition, you can repurpose existing content into different formats to make it more engaging. For example, you can turn a blog post into an infographic or video.
Lack of Automation
Always-on marketing is all about automation. The goal is to create a system that can run on autopilot and deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
However, most brands struggle with automation. They either don’t have the right tools in place or don’t know how to use them effectively.
The key is to start small and gradually scale up your automation efforts. Automating too much too soon can be just as bad as not automating at all.
What’s Next for Always-on Marketing?
As always-on marketing continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovation in this area.
Here are a few of the latest trends in always-on marketing:
Messaging apps are one of the most popular channels for always-on marketing. They’re a great way to reach your target audience and build meaningful relationships with them.
In addition, messaging apps offer a lot of flexibility and options for customization. You can target your audience based on demographics, interests, and even past behavior.
Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more important in marketing. It’s helping brands to understand their customers better and create more personalized experiences.
Virtual reality is another emerging technology that’s starting to change the landscape of always-on marketing. It’s giving brands the ability to create immersive experiences for their customers.
Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality, but it focuses more on enhancing the real world rather than creating a completely artificial one.
It’s a great way to engage with customers and give them a more interactive experience.
We can’t ignore the Metaverse and its potential impact on always-on marketing. The Metaverse is a virtual world that allows people to interact with each using avatars.
It’s still in its early stages, but it has the potential to change the way we interact with brands entirely.
Blockchains are being used to create more transparent and secure transactions. This technology could eventually help brands track the impact of their marketing campaigns.
How to Get Started with Always-on Marketing
If you’re ready to start using always-on marketing in your business, here are a few tips to get you started:
Know your goals
Once you know your goals, you can create a plan that outlines how you’ll achieve them.
Know your audience
Next, you need to understand your target audience.
- Who are they?
- What do they care about?
- What are their pain points?
Answering these questions will help you create content that resonates with them and drives results.
Identify the Channels You’ll Use
Once you know your audience and goals, you need to identify the channels you’ll use. The most common channels for always-on marketing are email, social media, and messaging apps.
But don’t stop there. You can also use other channels such as websites, blogs, podcasts, and even VR/AR experiences.
Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar will help you keep track of your always-on marketing efforts and ensure that your content is consistent.
Start by creating a list of the topics you want to cover. Then, create a schedule for when you’ll publish each piece of content.
Automate Your Efforts
Finally, start automating your efforts. This will help you save time and optimize your results.
Start small and gradually scale up your automation efforts. Pay attention to what’s working and not working, and make changes as needed.
Measure Results and Adjust
Learn to measure the results of your always-on marketing efforts. This will help you determine whether or not your strategy is working and where to make necessary adjustments.
3 Ways to Make Always-On Marketing Easy
1# The Three Rs (Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle): Developing enough content to support an always-on marketing strategy can be daunting. But with a bit of creativity, you can make the most of what you have.
Try the three Rs: reuse, repurpose and recycle. For example, take that whitepaper and turn it into a short video, an infographic, or even a series of blog posts.
2# Think Outside the box: Look outside of content marketing for content creation ideas. In other words, your content doesn’t necessarily need to have a marketing function.
For example, you could create a video of your team’s office shenanigans or write a blog post about your company culture. You could even repurpose some of the responses you get from your customer surveys into a blog post.
The possibilities are endless.
3# Create a System: One way to make always-on marketing easier is to create a system for content creation and distribution. That could involve using templates, creating swipe files, or developing a process for creating and approving content.
A content management system such as MediaOne Content Marketing can also help you manage your content more effectively. You also need a marketing automation platform such as Oracle Eloqua to help you automate your marketing tasks.
It helps to have the right technology to save time, improve efficiency, and connect the dots between your content efforts and your business goals.
7 Tips for Improving Your Always-On Marketing Strategy
- Start Small: Don’t try to do everything at once. Start small and gradually scale up your efforts.
Start with the small details and experiences your customers have with your brand. See how these experiences add up to your company’s growth and success.
Create a series of mini strategies that you can personalize and implement over time to create a cohesive always-on marketing strategy.
Use this opportunity to test the waters, understand what works and what doesn’t, and make necessary adjustments.
- Think About All the Places You Can Create a Connection: Consider all the places to reach your target audience.
Your website, blog, social media channels, email list, and even in-person events are all opportunities to create a connection with your customers.
None of them should operate in silos. Instead, they should all work together to create a cohesive customer experience.
Your marketing message should also be consistent across all channels.
For instance, figure out how to take your customers’ in-store experience and connect it with your email marketing.
Use the same tone and messaging throughout all channels to create a sense of cohesion and familiarity.
Think about all the places you can create a connection with your customers. Now, use this to get a holistic view of your customer’s experience with your brand.
- Automate as Much as Possible: Automating your marketing tasks can help you save time and improve efficiency. It can also help you connect the dots between your content efforts and your business goals.
Use tools like Oracle Eloqua to automate your marketing tasks. You can also use tools like Hootsuite Insights to track your social media engagement, Google Analytics to track your website traffic, and WhatsApp Insights to track your messaging app engagement.
- Get Personal: One of the best ways to connect with your customers is to get personal.
Personalize your content, emails, and social media messages. Use customer data to create a more personalized experience for each individual.
Segment your email list to send targeted messages to specific groups of customers.
Use dynamic content to showcase different products and offers to different customers.
- Tell a Story: People love stories. They’re a great way to connect with your customers and create an emotional connection.
Stories are also a great way to humanize your brand and make it more relatable.
Think about the stories you can tell about your company, products, or team. You can also share customer stories on your blog and social media channels.
- Keep it Fresh: The only way to keep your always-on marketing strategy fresh is to test new ideas. Experiment with any idea that makes sense to see what works and what doesn’t.
Try new content formats, experiment with different social media platforms, and test new marketing automation tools.
Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. You never know what might work until you give it a try.
- Plan Long-term: No two customers are the same. Your always-on marketing strategy should reflect that.
They each have different expectations and experiences with your brand.
Some customers may be ready to buy right away, while others may need more time.
It’s important to have a long-term plan that considers the different stages of the customer journey.
Use marketing automation tools to score your leads and segment them into different buckets.
This will help you create a more targeted and customized approach to always-on marketing.
- Be Flexible: No always-on marketing strategy is complete without a little bit of flexibility. The customer landscape is constantly changing. So, your always-on marketing strategy must also change with it.
Keep an eye on the latest trends and technologies. See how you can use them to improve your customer experience.
Be open to new ideas and be willing to experiment. The only way to know what works is to try something new, as we earlier said.
Must-Have Tools for Always-On Marketing:
- Customer Research and Segmentation Tools
- Content Management Tools
- Automation Tools
- Social Media Tools
- Email Marketing Tools
- Web Analytics Tools
Customer Research and Segmentation Tools
Qualtrics XM Platform
Qualtrics XM is the world’s most advanced conversational analytics platform. More than 85% of fortune 100 companies use Qualtrics to understand their customers, improve their products, and grow their businesses.
SurveyMonkey is the world’s largest survey company. They offer a simple, robust platform that helps you collect the feedback you need to make better decisions.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.
Mixpanel is an analytics platform for mobile and web applications. It helps you understand how users interact with your product so you can improve it.
Kissmetrics is an analytics platform that helps you measure and improve customer engagement.
Content Management Tools
Adobe Experience Manager
Adobe Experience Manager is an excellent tool for ensuring your content is consistent and personalized for each customer. It also makes it easy to manage and publish your content across multiple channels.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps you stay organized and track all your social media channels in one place.
CoSchedule is a content marketing tool that helps you plan, publish, optimize, and measure your content.
HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps you attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.
Pardot is a marketing automation tool that helps you create and execute automated marketing campaigns.
Marketo is a powerful marketing automation tool that helps you identify and target prospects, nurture leads, and measure the ROI of your marketing campaigns.
SalesforceIQ is a sales intelligence and automation tool that helps you manage your sales pipeline and close more deals.
Keap is a marketing automation tool that helps automate your marketing and sales processes.
Hootsuite is a must-have social media management tool for businesses. It’s one of the most popular platforms, with over 16 million users.
Buffer is a social media management platform that lets you schedule posts and track their performance. It’s simple to use and could make an excellent choice of a tool if you’re starting with social media.
TweetDeck is a free Twitter management tool that helps you monitor your Twitter feeds, schedule tweets, and track the performance of your tweets.
Email Marketing Tools
MailChimp is the world’s largest email marketing service. It’s easy to use and has many features to help you grow your business.
Constant Contact is another excellent email marketing service that helps small businesses connect with their customers. It offers a wide range of features and is very easy to use.
Aweber is an email marketing service that helps you create and send newsletters, autoresponders, and other email campaigns. It’s an excellent tool for businesses of all sizes.
Emma is a powerful email marketing tool that helps businesses automate their email marketing campaigns. It offers a wide range of features and is very easy to use.
Campaign Monitor is an email marketing service that helps you create and send beautiful email newsletters. It’s easy to use and has many features to help you grow your business.
SendGrid is a cloud-based email delivery service that helps you send large volumes of email without worrying about spam filters or blocklists.
Content Creation Tools
Adobe Creative Cloud:
Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of tools for creating and editing digital content. It includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and many other tools.
Canva is a free online tool for creating digital graphics. It’s simple to use and has many templates and features to help you create beautiful designs.
Fiverr is a global marketplace for creative services. It’s a great place to find creative professionals to help you with your content marketing needs.
Upwork is a global freelancing platform where businesses can connect with talented professionals to get work done.
Balsamiq is a wireframing tool that helps you create prototypes of your digital products. The tool is as simple as they come. It also comes with various templates and features to help you get started.
Google Sheets is a free online spreadsheet application. It’s simple to use and has many features to help you manage your data.