Whether you're doing b2b or b2c markerting, it’s time to stop talking about “marketing campaigns". With $83 billion lost to poor customer experiences each year, the critical impact your brand experience has on your bottom line has never been more evident - and this figure means marketers need to revamp the way they think about their strategies.
While today’s consumer is seamlessly communicating through a growing list of channels, most brands are still trying to manage those relationships via campaigns and touch points. Now is the time to go beyond traditional touch points and create real relationships that truly surprise, delight and serve your customer at every stage of their ongoing journey with your brand.
BAD MARKETERS: USE CAMPAIGN-CENTRIC MARKETING.
Here’s the issue with the term “marketing campaign" - the phrase, by itself, suggests the strategy will run for a limited time, then cease to exist. This perspective doesn’t factor in those key stages of the customer lifecycle: awareness, engagement, purchase, reengagement. If you’re running these sorts of temporary campaigns, you can expect your target audience to forget about your brand in favour of others that are constantly reaching out in innovative and intelligent ways. Even if you run one temporary campaign after another, you’ll lose customers in the gaps between these strategic moves, shrinking your client base steadily over time.
GOOD MARKETERS: FOCUS ON SEGMENTED MARKETING.
Segmented marketing is a much smarter way to engage an audience and build loyalty. While in an ideal world you’d be able to develop a unique, targeted strategy for every single customer, there simply aren’t many tools out there to do this. However, using data and analytics products, segmented marketing allows you to separate your customers into groups, meaning you can create more tailored and specific strategies.
For example, imagine an airline that offers both discounted seats for budget travellers as well as business class seating for high-end customers. Creating two separate marketing strategies, whether they be email marketing or social media targeting, allows them to approach these two unique sets of customers with different strategies, increasing appeal and improving loyalty.
The only problem with this form of marketing is that people often change segments over time, and basic targeted marketing campaigns will struggle to keep up with the shifting tides. Generally speaking, this form of marketing works well, but it can alienate people when a brand fails to recognise life changes and other catalysts for segment alterations.
BRILLIANT MARKETERS: USE CONSUMER-CENTRIC STRATEGIES.
Consumer-centric marketing puts the consumer at the centre and strives to add value at every touch-point along the customer journey, from their first interaction with a brand through their (hopefully frequent) purchases and into the follow-up and feedback stages. A consumer centric-marketer uses real-time data that leverages behaviourally driven actions.
As an example, consider the “cart abandonment" programs many smart e-commerce retailers employ. If a customer fills up a virtual shopping cart and then navigates away from the page or leaves it sitting for more than a day or so, he or she will receive an email inquiring if there was a problem and perhaps even offering a discount if they checkout soon. This is just one example of touch-point communication that occurs at the checkout stage.
Such strategies can help with everything from outreach and client base expansion to retention and “win back". For instance, some websites send messages to users who choose to unsubscribe from newsletters. These messages may ask the customer if they’d still like to receive discounts and promotions or if they’d like to lower the frequency of emails, which can encourage customers to stay on board. We have a poster that can help marketers identify other opportunities for touch-time within the customer lifestyle cycle.
Consumer-centric marketers strive to surprise and delight their customer. For example, they may set up an automated birthday feature that leverages customer data sends a push-notification to the business’ mobile app, giving the birthday boy or girl 50 per cent off all purchases on their special day. Who doesn’t love a nice discount on their birthday?
BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
Forget about the specific channels and start to think about how you can create a better customer experience that onboards new customers, engages existing ones, and retains/rewards the most loyal of fans. To do this, start with your product, look at your customer service and ensure this is a closed-loop system that monitors the entire lifecycle. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to get started:
- Setting the foundation: Lock down the basics so you have a solid starting point to build upon. First, take stock of your current campaigns to see where you stand. Start researching your customer base on the micro level to get BIG data. Use automation services to streamline the process.
- Boost your programs: Up-level your efforts through testing and consistent messaging across channels. Optimise your programs through A/B and multivariate testing. Bring all your communications together to form the conversation and take the next step forward.
- Build the customer journey: Begin defining your complete brand experience from start to finish. Draw out a map of the ideal customer journey and lifecycle. Merge your online and offline marketing metrics, and move beyond marketing and into customer service operations.
*This post was originally published on Australian Financial Review.