Customers are a valuable asset

How would you find analysing a target group without any data about their age, income, job description, education or where they live?

It would still be quite relevant, says Alma Media's Marketing Director Elina Kukkonen. According to Kukkonen it is customer value, or how people use the company's services and products, that is the important information for companies. In the digital world the value comes from three different metrics: financial, social and the number of visits.

In practical terms this refers to whether and how customers are committed to the company. It is also essential to establish whether the customers pay for the service, how often they use it and whether they would be willing to recommend it to others. It is also advisable to find out if the customers are willing to enhance the quality of the service and its content by sharing their own expertise by commenting on it, for example.

"We are interested in questions such as what kind of networks the customers share media content on. The networks have a huge potential when we try to attract new customers," says Kukkonen.

Kukkonen points out that, ultimately, a company's most valuable asset is its existing customers since they want to build a relationship with the company.

"When we are aware of the customer experience and know what our customers expect of our services and how they feel about it, we can improve the relationship. This is achieved with a well-designed website, services that fulfil a need and marketing efforts."

A company can have customers with a high social value but no financial value (or vice versa), or customers of high value in terms of the frequency of visits or the number of downloads they initiate. Kukkonen explains that these groups should not be targeted with the same type of marketing. 

"Managing networks has become important for media and media marketing," says Alma Media's Marketing Director Elina Kukkonen.

There is too much of the push-type marketing around.

She adds that it will still be possible to manage customers either as masses or as individuals, and thanks to technology, these operations are more often carried out real time. When we want to enhance the value of an individual customer, we still need to apply a smart, user-driven segmentation.

"There is too much of the push-type marketing around as companies are not sure how their customers use the service and what they expect."

Developing services that meet customer expectations is equally important as improving marketing strategies. Kukkonen speaks of positive dependence that should be achieved with customers.

"It's important to find the methods to activate users from more perspectives."

Kukkonen thinks that leveraging customers' expertise offers a number of opportunities. She says that financial media can be considered a part of the expert network. A news item, for example, is only ready when it has been commented on.

Kukkonen's model is based on her doctoral thesis that utilises customer data collected from Kauppalehti. Kukkonen presented her research findings at the Mediapäivä event in Helsinki on 25 November 2015. The thesis is undergoing the pre-review process and will be completed next year.