By Sam Counterman, Director of Marketing, Northern Europe & Global Digital Lead, Selligent Marketing Cloud
As we all begin to emerge again into some form of normal life following the COVID-19 outbreak, it is clear life as we once knew it has changed significantly. Brands and marketers have never had to react to a macro situation of this scale, and are quickly trying to figure out where they fit in the new world and how to reach new and existing customers, both empathetically and effectively.
Effective engagement strategy
As a result of the pandemic, brands are having to completely rethink their go-to-market strategies and redefine their business goals. But the key to all this is to look past all the “noise” and think long term, not just short term, such as what your audience cares about and the value you can add to their lives; more importantly, which communication channels you can reach them on, as recent research found that 40% of users have abandoned social media platforms due to privacy concerns.
As more and more people rely on online processes for everyday aspects such as shopping, work and banking, transparency about how and where data is being used and stored is key to building a strong relationship. Marketers need to think strategically about which communication channels are most relevant and effective to reach their target audience, to deliver their message and add value.
As marketers, we love the concept of attribution modelling, but the reality is that not everything can be tracked and attributed. In digital marketing especially, we often forget the notion of “dark social.” This is when a customer has a good (or bad) experience with a brand and socially shares that experience/product/service with their family, friends, and colleagues, so the influenced prospect can then pursue that same experience, product or service. Marketers need to be smart when setting campaign goals and break this down into soft (qualitative) and hard (quantitative) KPI metrics, focusing on the end goal and how to achieve it.
Micro-moments to work smarter, not harder
Understanding the customer journey is not easy. In fact, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all customer journey. We all know that it’s a multi-touch journey we endure on the path to purchase. However many touches it is, each of these “micro-moments” plays a vital role in terms of winning or losing a customer at any given time. Marketers need to think logically when analysing data, in order to extract actionable insights they can apply to future campaigns: what worked, what didn’t work.
Personalised omnichannel experiences
1:1 vs. 1:many. As consumers, we have modified our behaviour as technology has evolved, becoming savvier and less responsive to the generic messages we are pushed by brands. We’ve all been hit by a tsunami of 1:many empathetic brand messages recently, which is a good thing. But to truly keep the momentum flowing, marketers need to be able to add value to their customers’ lives by delivering a truly 1:1, personalised omnichannel experience. This comes from analysing and understanding what the most valuable customers look like and what they care about most.
Growing customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is something all brands should aspire to simply by the virtue of their existence. In times like these, it’s more logical to keep and retain your loyal customers than it is to try and buy new ones. Let your loyal customers become your brand advocates to attract new customers. One of the key ingredients to the success of any loyalty program is the customer data platform (CDP) – insights such as purchase history and real-time web activity data can be merged together through AI, allowing marketers to push personalised value-add messages to their customers when the micro-moment of opportunity presents itself. Whether it’s free delivery on purchases or a personalised promotional discount coupon, customers will keep coming back for more, and become loyal brand advocates.
While marketers should avoid over communicating, going silent now through these challenging times will only make it harder to come back later. Understanding the situation, developing a clear strategy, setting realistic goals, and identifying the right tactics will ensure marketers are adding value to customers, both short-term and long-term.