By Andrea Kaufman Robbins
Success in today’s rapidly evolving digital world and web of online interactions hinges on tailored engagement. This engagement relies on putting users first by prioritizing individualized connections and meaningful experiences. At Avocet, the three strategies we use to achieve this are social-first marketing, human-centered design, and account-based marketing. While each is different, each puts users at the center of the conversation and shapes how we engage with audiences to increase customer satisfaction and overall adoption.
Social-First Marketing (SFM) first and foremost, is about understanding our social behavior. SFM leverages the power of digital platforms to ensure content gets noticed and resonates with each platform’s unique user behaviors and preferences. For this to happen successfully, we need to understand our customer’s social behaviors. Once we do, we can effectively expand our online presence and increase engagement by designing marketing that speaks directly to our audiences, on their preferred platform, with content that is meaningful to them.
When arc Thrift Stores first began working with Avocet, our challenge was to increase reach (impressively) by expanding branding and marketing to new and unexpected thrift shopping audiences. We took the stereotyped notion of a thrift shopper and boldly broadened it to include fashionistas, artists, designers, collectors, teenagers, vintage hunters, environmental activists, and more. After taking a deep dive into researching our audience, we combined our understanding of our shoppers’ social behavior and our social media strategy, to strategically develop relatable content. We used X (Twitter), Instagram, TikTok, and influencers to target our younger audiences and Facebook to target our older audiences. Through our social media campaigns, we actively engage with audiences through comments, direct messages, contests, and interactive stories to build a community of thrift shopping enthusiasts. We are proud to have played a part in the company’s impressive growth. A recent study found that between 2005 and 2019, arc Thrift Stores had a $2.3 billion impact on the state of Colorado.
When to use SFM:
- SFM is ideal for audiences who are active on social media,
- brands that can create visually appealing content, and
- fostering a sense of community by engaging in real-time conversations with audiences.
Human-Centered Design (HCD), unlike SFM, HCD creates products and technology that prioritizes user needs and preferences. Using market research, we can understand behaviors and pain points that help us develop innovative solutions that enhance the experiences of potential customers. By applying HCD principles, SFM can precisely cater to the preferences and behaviors of our target audiences. Simply put, HCD uncovers a brand’s potential customers’ needs, enabling it to provide the ultimate solution. This allows us, as marketers, to then implement marketing strategies that highlight how the solution has solved a challenge our audience is experiencing.
National Jewish Hospital is dedicated to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune, and related disorders. Their challenge was unique. Patients were entering the hospital who had been misdiagnosed with asthma and had been improperly treated. Avocet worked with the hospital’s pulmonologists to educate physicians about diseases that mask themselves as asthma, to drive referrals to the hospital thus mitigating misdiagnosis and creating a better quality of life for its patients. Through our research we understood that it was important to educate, not dictate–to be compelling. We learned as well that we needed to take a softer approach. We also found that these physicians love art. From this understanding flowed the campaign’s look, feel, and execution. The storytelling was scientific and compelling. It brought forth how seemingly asthma would be a natural diagnosis, and how obtaining a correct diagnosis was difficult. Graphically, Avocet utilized medical illustrators to create beautiful, yet technical illustrations. Overall referrals increased after the first direct mail piece by 3% and ultimately grew to 22%. Mutual respect was also achieved, a key point to ongoing referrals.
When to use HCD:
- HCD is valuable when you want to improve the user experience of a product or website,
- to prioritize customer satisfaction and reduce user friction,
- is most effective for organizations that have a clear understanding of their users’ needs and behaviors, and
- provides the information necessary to develop a solution-based and strategic campaign.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM), is a highly targeted and complex strategy and shares similarities with both SFM and HCD. Using personalized campaigns, ABM targets individual high-value accounts. Aligning sales and marketing efforts, ABM cultivates strong, personalized buying experiences for these accounts. For example, in the bioscience and tech sectors, account-based marketing can leverage data-driven insights to engage with key stakeholders and decision makers, enhancing the likelihood of successful partnerships and collaborations. To determine who your high-value accounts are, both your sales and marketing teams should be included in the conversation. Qualifications to consider for vetting a high-value account include the account’s financials, scalability, and overall competitive landscape. In the end, it’s important that each account feels like they are your one and only and most important account.
AddOns was battling intense competition when we began working together. Avocet’s strategy was to reposition AddOns from a position of strength and leadership. We began aligning the company’s sales and marketing teams and developed growth strategies. We focused on revamping the brand’s outdated look and feel and positioned them as a thought leader while infusing “relatable” humor. We engaged very specific and high-value audience segments while implementing new positioning. Our social program – which included a comprehensive retargeting and geo-targeting program surrounding the industry’s largest trade show – garnered hundreds of thousands of impressions and higher-than-anticipated click-through rates well above industry standards. Our geo-fencing campaign around a very specific trade show exceeded the industry average by almost .03%.
When to use ABM:
- ABM is valuable when you are working with a limited number of high-value accounts or clients,
- have a clear understanding of your target accounts and can tailor marketing efforts to their specific needs and preferences, and
- B2B relationships hinge on personalized interactions that can lead to significant partnerships or collaborations.
At Avocet we believe success is not about reaching the masses; it’s about connecting with individuals on a personal level. Collectively, social-first marketing, human-centered design, and account-based marketing optimize user engagement, satisfaction, and ultimately, sustainable growth. Social-first marketing and human-centered design both emphasize personalized approaches, adapting content and solutions to user preferences; ABM fosters individualized interactions with key accounts. By embracing each, you’ll be well-equipped to thrive in an always-changing digital environment. The tool you choose depends on your business goals, audience, and resources. In some cases, a combination of these approaches may yield the best results.