I was recently scouring the Web for answers to my questions on health insurance. This wasn’t an easy task. Either I couldn’t find the answers or they were presented in such a complex way that I couldn’t make heads or tails of the information.
I could feel a headache coming on.
Relief came in the form of an interactive tool from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association of Michigan, known as AskBlue™.
AskBlue didn’t feel like an information dump to me; it felt more like a conversation.
An interactive representative guided me through, first gathering some information about me and then engaging me with plain talk and easy-to-understand explanations before finally providing recommendations tailored to my needs.
After the AskBlue experience, I was able to move on, make some decisions and go about my day. Headache: gone.
So here’s a message to all marketers out there: You can have me at hello. Start up a conversation with me. Talk plainly. Keep it simple. Aim to narrow in on my needs. I’ll not only hear you out; I just might decide to do business with you. I just might become a brand fan.
The problem with a lot of marketing today is that it’s still one-way. It’s a barrage of information and the prospective customer is left alone to figure it all out for him or herself.
Far better is to harness interactive ways to engage prospective customers. By doing so, you stand a far better chance of identifying and responding to a buyer’s needs.
It’s the difference between context and no context. Static text on a Web page is just that – text. Your reader is forced to interpret for him or herself and pull out what may or may not be important. He or she must work to relate the information to his or her context.
In an interactive Web conversation, you have a chance to pull in context. You can ask questions and determine the customer’s situation, concerns and issues. And you can respond with that context in mind.
All of this evokes a key reminder: you’re marketing NOT to everybody, but to somebody. More often than not, we win customers one at a time. We rarely win customers in hordes.
If you’re curious about who worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield to develop the AskBlue tool, I’ll save you some searching and point you to the folks over at the Jellyvision Lab. You can learn more about the art of interactive conversation over at their site. They have some cool thinking to share.
Thanks for stopping by the On Brands blog.