Expectations have never been higher. Thanks to innovative technology and increased competition, people understand that a better customer experience is available to them — and they're willing to look for the brands that can offer it.
The onus is on businesses to improve their approach to customers. Personalization and customization shape the customer experience, and marketing is now required to engage with individuals at an unprecedented level. If you haven't already embraced a customer-centric marketing strategy, you could be risking your company's future by resisting the transition.
Engagement is a Two-Way Process
Businesses are assigning greater value to engagement metrics that show not just customer awareness of a brand, but also active involvement with it. In order to increase reach and interaction, brands need to create a customer experience that can grab people's attention.
To do this, start with the data you have. Information that's already available to you can be used to build buyer personas that reflect your customer base, and analytics can help you better understand customer behaviors and desires. Ultimately, you want to determine what motivates their purchases. This baseline information will be the foundation for improving engagement through both your existing channels and new strategies in the future. Leveraging your findings could result in timely emails, better mobile app experiences, more relevant social content and a host of other engaging marketing practices.
Focus on the Journey, Not the Funnel
When you decide to put customers first, you also have to decide to eschew the traditional sales funnel method. In its place, many businesses are transitioning to a sales and marketing strategy that focuses on creating content for every stage of the customer journey — the omnichannel path that customers take from brand awareness to brand loyalty.
Increasingly, these journeys are taking place on social and mobile channels, and they often require half a dozen engagements (or more) before customers are compelled to make a conversion. The research firm McKinsey outlined five key questions that brands need to answer to fully embrace a customer-first approach. One pillar of success involves a data-activated marketing strategy that connects with real-time customer needs to boost relevance and campaign ROI.
Invest in Emerging Technologies
To begin the process of creating a better customer experience, you'll need to leverage customer data. This will help you understand what they want and how your marketing can be tailored to their desires. As you grow and evolve your marketing strategy, your brand will need to invest in technologies that can help enhance this experience.
Some of these technologies — like interactive modules inside a store, digital signage and an upgraded mobile app experience — will directly upgrade the experience customers have. MarTech Today reported that in other cases, the technology may only serve to generate new data that improves your insights and your abilities to effectively market to customers. Keep an eye out for IoT devices that can upgrade the experience you offer customers and simultaneously provide you with information that supplements your existing knowledge.
When your decision-making focuses on what's best for the customer experience, you'll be able to prioritize your marketing efforts and align the entire strategy with these customer-centric goals.