By Adam Corey, VP Marketing at Tealium
As this year’s brand campaigns get under way, marketers are all too aware of the pressures to embrace the latest tech trends to get results.
With the role of technology increasingly seen as fundamental to success, marketing focus and dollars have shifted accordingly – Gartner even predicted that this year, CMOs will spend more on high-tech solutions and services than CIOs.
But amid a deluge of virtual and augmented reality, chat bots, IOT devices and mobile-first strategies, there is a growing realization that something is missing. Marketers are becoming aware that by overemphasizing the focus on tech, they have lost sight of what matters most: listening to what consumers want and delivering a seamless customer experience.
As we start to move out of the tech fog and look beyond digital isolation to a more customer-centric way of marketing, let’s see how this change in mindset is shaping up:
Relationship-Based Models are Rising
Digital marketers can sometimes be guilty of treating consumers as distant objects — cookie IDs or members of an audience segment — rather than human beings, but this is changing.
We know consumers are complicated and motivated by both rational and irrational factors, with most decisions based on emotion. Marketers understand that today’s consumers drive their own journey and can express exactly what they want throughout their brand experience. Therefore connecting with customers at a human level, truly listening, and providing empathetic responses are vital to generating mutually beneficial results. Poor decisions can create dissatisfaction and diminish brand loyalty, so by minimizing hassle in the decision-making process and delivering exactly what each individual needs, with a renewed emphasis on relationship-based models, marketers can make it easier for customers to say yes.
Marketers are Joining the Data Dots
Every time a consumer visits a website or mobile app they leave clues about who they are and what they care about. And they expect brands to know what they want, regardless of how they choose to communicate. Consequently, it makes sense that marketers are joining up the data dots across multiple channels and devices to achieve a single view of the consumer, helping to define what they want and subsequently offer the best possible experience.
Consider an abandoned shopping cart. Say a consumer halts an online purchase but later decides to complete it in-store; if data across the physical and digital worlds is not connected, the result could be a frustrating experience where the consumer is retargeted for the product they have just bought. Equally if a consumer contacts a call center for information on a holiday they’ve requested a brochure for online, they shouldn’t have to repeat the details they have already entered on the website — this is not a good customer experience.
Insights are Being Actioned
Undeniably, data is an integral part of marketing strategy and works in an automated and scalable way, so now marketers are increasingly focusing on activating the data, and not just analyzing it. This dynamic approach is tipping marketers towards a solutions-oriented mindset, which is driven by identifying consumer problems and finding innovative ways to solve them, all as part of an ongoing conversation.
Brands must use insights to deliver experiences that meet specific customers needs, whether these are post-sales, loyalty, or promotion opportunities. Rather than always being in promotional mode, brands must understand that delivering a better experience than their competitors is a more powerful way to stand out than relying on product offering alone.
One-to-one moment Practices are Growing
In the mass marketing era, messaging was one-to-many with brands creating campaigns that appealed to the lowest common denominator in the hope of mass appeal. While marketers today are working on more targeted one-to-one messaging – where they know who their audiences are and can communicate based on behavioral or demographic data – this is still not enough. Consumers might have static attributes but their needs and motivations are continually adjusting as their context changes.
Customer expectations of contextually relevant experiences are rising, and brands must prioritize the creation of real-time meaningful moments how and when most appropriate for that individual person.
While digital transformation remains a key priority, there is a renewed emphasis this year on customer-centricity. For too long tech has dictated all marketing activity — from strategy to creative execution — but marketers are returning tech to its rightful place: a supporting role.
Rather than prescribing a set path for customers to follow, brands are listening to customer needs first, then using tech to facilitate a first-rate customer experience. Although no one could say tech is really a hindrance, it can only be called helpful when it’s used to create meaningful marketing moments – rather than running the whole show.