Engaging communications in a digital world

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Maintaining strong customer relationships is a challenge faced by businesses of all shapes and sizes. Communicating with shareholders and customers to keep them informed about an Extraordinary General Meeting or new product presents an opportunity for businesses to engage with them on other subjects too. By embracing new technologies and understanding your customers’ preferred communication channel, we can help to deliver strategies that provide real ‘cut through’ in an increasingly digital landscape.

Digital disruption has driven change across many sectors for the past few years, with the rise of advanced technologies like AI, smart devices and data analytics re-shaping the future of individualised communications. And while these newer methods are on the rise, some forms of communication won’t necessarily be appropriate for everyone. 41% of millennials prefer to communicate through digital methods rather than face-to-face, phone conversation or print, but that doesn’t hold true for other demographics[1].

The real challenge businesses face, then, is knowing how best to use both physical and digital chan­nels together as part of a multi-channel strategy to improve service and efficiency, without compromising effectiveness. When it comes to EGMs, it is fundamentally important for companies to get their communications right.

EGMs take place due to unexpected events or special occasions like mergers and acquisitions, company restructurings, or corporate actions like a stock split or share capital increase. They are often called at short notice and therefore require an instant solution and short turnaround times, and they involve a lot of manual effort to create and manage inbound and outbound communications.

For EGMs, an omnichannel approach ensures companies can harness technology to bring voting into the shareholder’s digital world. Whether they vote via postal entries, the company’s website, Apps, or other digital means, EGM communications can be segmented very cost-effectively according to the profile of each customer and their channel preferences – significantly increasing participation rates. People can have their say quickly and securely from the palm of their hand.

And while demographic age groups should be an important consideration when it comes to selecting the channels to deploy, understanding people’s expectations and their preferred methods of communication should ultimately determine the overall strategy. More traditional media like direct mail also remain an integral marketing tool – especially in the post-GDPR era.

In fact, the 2018 Direct Mail Annual Report “New Currency for Mail” [2] revealed 57% of respondents opened addressed mail (letters, catalogues or leaflets/flyers) when it arrived, while 20.8% open it within a 28-day period. Furthermore, 24% put mail aside to open at a later date beyond the initial 28-day timeframe.

E-mail and SMS are fast and inexpensive to deploy compared with paper. They allow real-time tracking and measurement, as well as a host of automated and trigger-based individualised communication opportunities to go that extra mile. They can put a relevant piece of communication directly into a customer’s hand at exactly the right moment, providing a distinct advantage – particularly for sending customers quick reminders.

Accurate, up-to-date and pertinent data is the key component to delivering individualised and relevant communications through omnichannel platforms. It is therefore crucial to have insights into each customer to understand their preferred journey, as well as how and when they expect to digest information. This data enables businesses to utilise communications to exceed expectations and increase customer engagement.

Digital and print communication, therefore, should operate together. Businesses that deliver a seamless, joined-up approach to cross-channel communications can expect to maintain stronger long-term relationships with their customers and shareholders. Even in instances where a message seems to be an obvious candidate for paper mailing, adding a digital stream can help to enhance targeting, improve response rates and reduce operational costs – all while delivering an enhanced customer experience.

Smart communication tools and shifts in how customers expect to engage with a business in the digital era are re-shaping the way we manage EGM communications. To find out more get in touch via the details below.

 

 

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