Cultivating Your Audience Part III: A Q&A with Jeff Rohrs

This is the final and third part of a three-part blog series highlighting an interview conducted by Elizabeth Wagner with audience expert Jeff Rohrs on why believes every marketer should strive to increase the size, engagement and value of their audiences.

Question: What do you believe is the key to shifting the corporate marketing focus to make email, mobile, and social media audiences seen as more integral corporate assets? How does a practitioner justify that social media tactics produce return on investment?

Answer: The key in my mind is treating them more like assets. With an asset, you know its value, you nurture it, and you protect it from harm. Thus, we first need to get our C-Suite to understand the aggregate asset value of our proprietary audiences. This can be calculated or estimated in any number of ways from the “holy grail” of LCV (Lifetime Customer Value) to comparing the value of attention gained (CPM, clicks, etc.) to paid advertising. Whatever the case, you need to put yourself on a path toward better surfacing the aggregate asset value of your proprietary audiences—those are numbers your C-Suite will embrace.

Question: What is the best way to build a business case to convince management that social media is a valuable tool to leverage and more than having icons on a website?

Answer: I go back to communicating the aggregate value contained in your audiences. The companies that build bigger, more engaged, more valuable audience than their competition will have a huge advantage over their competition. Any executive can understand that—if the data is presented clearly. Proprietary audience development moves marketing from being a cost center to being an asset generator.

Question: You recommend that a company build its email, Facebook, Google, Instagram, mobile app, SMS, Twitter, website and YouTube audiences to last, but customers are often hesitant to give out contact information. What is the best way to gain needed information to implement the strategy?

Answer: Customers provide their information when they understand clearly that they will be getting something timely, relevant and useful in return. Not every customer will want to subscribe to email any more than every customer will want to “like” you on Facebook. And that’s the way it should be. Let consumers dictate the when and where of engagement and present them with clear paths to connect with you. It’s when you obfuscate exactly what their getting for subscribing, liking or following that distrust and doubt enters the picture.

Question: Please tell us about what you describe in your book as the audience imperative.

Answer: The Audience Imperative is a mandate for every marketer from this point forward to use their paid, owned, and earned media  to not only sell in the short term but also increase the size, engagement, and value of their proprietary audiences over the long term. It is the primary call-to-action in AUDIENCE, and a statement I think should hang in every marketer’s office—reminding us all that we are the audience builders now.

Question: What inspired you to leave the legal profession to start your firm, ExactTarget?

Answer: I realized after practicing law that litigation is reliving the worst moments of other people’s lives. For me, that was no way to live. I wanted to create and have a hand in the creation of the intellectual property I had studied in law school.

Question: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Answer: Just that I’d be honored if your readers considered buying AUDIENCE and reviewing it. Any and all feedback is welcome—just send it to me on Twitter: @jkrohrs.  Cheers!

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