Building the Hotline Right (Part 1)

The Crux

In my previous essay, I wrote about how the Email 2.0 hotline is at the crux of the brand-customer relationship. In this series, I will delve deeper into how brands can build the hotline right. The four pillars that we will discuss are: AMP, Atomic Rewards, Omnichannel and Micronbox. We will also cover some interesting ideas like the Living Email and Performance Email. I will also explain how the hotline holds the key to the bottom line.

Let’s begin by summarising the key ideas from my previous essay:

What is the crux of the brand-customer relationship? Among all the challenges faced by a modern marketer, what is the gnarly problem to tackle which can unlock profitable growth? The candidates were many: optimise ROAS (return on ad spending) on Big Tech platforms for new customer acquisition, offer bigger discounts to drive more revenues from existing customers, to invest in more martech solutions for omnichannel engagement and personalisation, and so on. In fact, there are many profit killers [Parts 3 and 4 in my Extreme Retention = Profit-centric Marketing essay] in a business which can be addressed and converted into profit creators. But there had to be that one thing which could be the gamechanger – the crux faced by marketers, a challenge that was critical and solvable.

… What brands lacked was a “hotline” to their customers. When a brand spoke, a customer would respond. And of course, it had to work the other way also. The hotline was the prerequisite to bringing customers to the brand’s properties … The hotline was the crux that brands had to solve for. Get the hotline right, and you have a 2-way relationship going with the customer … More than a shiny, new feature of the website or app, what brands need to realise is that it is the hotline that is the crux for their customer relationships. If they can shift the mindset from “delete” to “delight” in their messaging, it would solve every other problem for them.

… Building the hotline with existing customers is the only way brands can get their attention and solve for data. It is one of two ways to bring customers back to the properties (app and website) – the second method being big spends on branding. The hotline is the trick marketers have missed in the two other obsessions – new customer acquisition and adding bells and whistles to the app and website.

… Email 2.0 offers interactivity in emails via AMP, daily habit-forming content via Ems, micro-incentives in the form of Mu tokens as Atomic Rewards, a new metric to track engagement intensity via Hooked Score, and a new type of product-led agency (Progency) to do it all. Email 2.0 is the best way to build the hotline – better than 2-way SMS or even WhatsApp. Everything that can be done in other push channels can be done via Email 2.0 – and at a fraction of the price.

… The combination of AMP and Atomic Rewards offers a very powerful combo to build the hotline. AMP offers an “All-in-Email” approach – Shop in Email, Search in Email, Play in Email, Browse in Email, Earn in Email, Chat in Email, and so on. There is no need to leave the email at all – no need for click-throughs and landing pages! Atomic Rewards offers the foundation for Loyalty 2.0 – incentives for marketers to nudge customer actions. Mu tokens can be used to get attention and zero-party data; they can also be used to drive referrals and reviews because every customer also has a network and voice. Think of Mu tokens as the non-monetary equivalent of loyalty points which are linked to money and transactions.

… So, the message to marketers: make the Hotline via Email 2.0 as the crux for customer relationships. It will not only improve customer experience but also drive profitable growth.

The first question to then address is: why have brands not done what seems such an obvious idea? To answer this question, we need to go back in time when customers could simply call a number and talk to a brand.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.