Marketing is at its heart a method of modelling commercial relationships with customers, and as the Marketing landscape becomes more competitive, your customers will expect more out of the relationships they build with you. We all know it’s easier to make a sale with a loyal customer, but the psychological priming and conditioning that goes into building customer loyalty must be won over daily so that your enterprise can prosper the way you want it to.
Your customers’ experience forms the basis of an engaged marketing presence, but you have to keep account of what the marketing environment is truly like for your customers. Inundated with marketing messages and confused by the endless inputs they receive each day, you need to consider marketing with engagement – using the right tools to create a distinct and delightful path for your customers to the goods and services they need. Leading consulting firms advocate this approach to reaching customers, not only for improved quality of service, but also for overall growth.
Treat Consumers Like They’re Already Customers
Understanding the value of a customer’s experience requires Brands putting themselves in their customers’ shoes. This video from PriceWaterhouseCoopers goes a long way to illustrating the struggles and triumphs that come each day with things as simple as what they may choose for breakfast. Customers are “always on”, and this creates an “experience economy” that requires novelty and intimacy from your brand in order to win over more and more customers. By implementing the right capabilities, you can differentiate yourself in any number of iterations by engaging your customers with instrumental tools. Whether they be Online Scheduling, Click-to-Call, Live Chat, personalized email marketing or more, anything and everything helps in improving your customers’ experience.
Digital marketing in particular needs to take increased steps to engage customers, not only because of its interactivity, but also because consumers are saturated with it. The average American spends more waking hours (10) in front of a screen than not, and sees more than 1200 marketing messages each day. In this environment, the idea of discrete products has all but disappeared, and the only thing that truly differentiates brands for consumers is the experience they have when they interact with them. In implementing multiple engagement tools to craft a customer’s experience, brands can not only differentiate themselves from other brands, but differentiate their experiences between their customers, delivering them true personalization according to their preferences.
Create an Experience Along the Path to Purchase
This personalization of consumer experience is not a totally new concept, but it’s acolytes are picking up steam in spreading the word. According to a McKinsey & Company report in 2013, we’re in the midst of an era of “on-demand” marketing in which digital capabilities are multiplying consumer expectations for marketing engagement. In their eyes, consumer expectations from their marketing experiences will ultimately boil down to four things: (1 – Now) The ability to interact from anywhere at any time, (2 – Can I) the ability to leverage disparate information like data on finances or physical activity to create value for them, (3 – For Me) the use of their stored data to target personalized offers and experiences, and (4 – Simply) the expectation that all interactions will be easy to conduct.
Combining all those points, within their marketing messages, brands need to wrap up the ability for customers to do simple things like schedule appointments, get phone calls, talk to representatives and more, doing this with absolute mobility and recording this information, while being able to register additional information, so customers can get the most out of each and every purchase they make. Soon enough, if customers aren’t able to accomplish things like this with their regular day-to-day purchases, they won’t be making those purchases and instead favor brands that allow them to interact on their own terms.
Implement Engagement Tools for the Customer Journey
Ultimately, the effect of implementing this sorts of tools under the perception of these consumer demands is to survive in a competitive digital landscape, whilst also constructing customer journeys that go beyond single interaction and allow each person to tell a story about their relationships with their favorite brands. It’s a great first-order solution to implement the right engagement tools, but considering second- and third-order implementation is necessary in truly differentiating one brand’s experience from any other while getting the most out of marketing with engagement.
McKinsey advises that this sort of marketing through engagement is critical, as digital competition among brands increases and their channels proliferate, the messages they carry lose their impact to the digital empowerment and increased information consumers have. In this environment, fully crafted digital experiences that merge engagement with distinct advertising, marketing and social media messages will pull customers from one brand to others that craft richer experiences. In McKinsey’s experience, companies that successfully achieve this can produce as much as 2 times their previously yearly sales growth, a powerful result driven by intelligent implementation of relatively simple tools.
Great Effects Present, but Quality can be Difficult to Measure
Tools integrated with both customer profiles and broader analytics are necessary to understanding the frequency and outcomes of digital customer engagements. Making it easier to capture data is crucial to understanding the popularity and deference to experiences consumers have in which their qualities are essentially subjective, dependent on the personal preferences of each and every participant. PWC advises that there are three fundamental elements to customer experience data that help determine the success and efficiency of these initiatives: quantitative, qualitative and operational. Quantitative factors include the customer acquisition and renewal statistics, as well as data on financial reporting, while qualitative data can be based on attitudes culled from anything in the range of social media chatter to direct feedback.
Operational considerations can include understandings of the efficiencies and staff performance improvements that come through these engagement practices, which do fundamentally transform the way brands relate to their customers. Ultimately, the effective implementation of these tools requires follow-up, feedback, and of course the substantive analytics that allow brands to understand the true ramifications of these initiatives on their business’ growth. However, though some brands may be leery at what seems like a transformative approach entailing new effort and new metrics, the cost of implementing these tools is relatively small for the great benefits their proper implementation entail. With mobile internet and new consumer habits, these potential engagements are everywhere, and now brands can be too.