Today’s consumers have never had so much choice and control. They are hyper-connected, hyper-mobile and hold the power when it comes to how, when and where they choose to consume content, products and services. Consumers now research, review and consume anywhere and everywhere – at lightning speed. Yet marketers often find themselves stuck in archaic channel-first ways of working. Departments across the industry are often arranged into siloed teams working with separate datasets on separate initiatives across separate channels – which can create disjointed and unintuitive customer experiences. After all, if today’s consumers are channel-agnostic, why shouldn’t your marketing be too?
As marketers, we must adapt the way we engage with our consumers, otherwise we risk losing them to existing competitors and new disrupters. Customer journeys are no longer the simple linear paths they were once were. A plethora of technology and changing consumer behaviour has drastically altered the world we live and market in. Loyalty, lifetime value and revenue lie in customer relationships which are built on experiences that are relevant, contextual, consistent and personal.
Brands need to constantly re-evaluate their engagement strategies, including the channels they are using. Consumers expect their experiences to be integrated and intelligent; whether interacting with a brand via a mobile app, email, SMS or in-store – they want connections that are relevant and personal. Humans these days have an eight second attention span, that means marketing messages across any platform are quickly disregarded if they appear to be generic. Brands that learn the preferences of their customers and tailor their marketing approach will win relationships and market share.
The power of data
Data has dominated our industry headlines for a while now, from big data to small data – it’s a hot topic. Hyper-connected consumers are providing more data than ever before. IDC predicts that by 2020, consumers will have generated 40 trillion gigabytes of data (more than 5,200 gigabytes for every man, woman, and child in 2020). Consumers who offer data do so as part of a value exchange for a more personal service and experience – inability to provide this to consumers, means you’re missing an opportunity to be smart with data, to get to know your customer better and provide consumers with better experiences.
In marketing departments worldwide, organisations are collecting consumer data – but many do so, in siloes, from email data to transactional information and customer service enquiries. However all of this data is valuable, especially when it’s connected. By uniting all data to form a single 360 degree profile, marketers gain much needed insight into consumers’ lives and journeys. This unified profile allows for sophisticated segmentation and an approach to marketing that makes the most of individual preferences, to delight weary consumers.
Clearly, the rules have changed. Traditional marketing models no longer work, higher unsubscribe rates, and lower engagement are all signs that channel-focussed marketing is no longer sufficient for engaging hyper-connected customers. Consumer-First marketing helps to build valuable relationships on the consumers’ terms. It is an approach built upon empathy, respect and integrity; having the courage to alter communication and content paths as needed to create valuable one-to-one customer relationships, that put the customer back at the heart of your efforts. It is time for marketing to become a champion of the customer. Putting the Consumer-First is win-win for marketers – consumers have a better experience and relationship with the brand, while you’ll also see improvements in your results and marketing activity.
By Christopher Baldwin, head of UK marketing at Selligent
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