Amazon, one of the world’s most successful companies, runs almost entirely via a digital platform. The company prides itself on being customer obsessed, “Our leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers ”.
Years ago, advertisements were typically one sided—-large companies invested huge amounts of money in ad campaigns that were usually viewed via TVs or magazines. Hope was the key word here- hoping your target audience watches your selected TV stations at the selected time(s) you paid for a slot, hoping that purchased the magazine you placed the ad in…etc. But in the modern era, businesses have learnt the hard way— hope is not a strategy.
Your competitors are consistently using data driven tactics not only to create a market from current non-consumers but also to convert your existing customers into theirs. Your customers on the other hand, are continuously gaining more power over their own experiences across multiple platforms. They are bombarded with information from every angle and have shifted from being passive consumers into actively engaged and aware buyers.
The idea of ‘social business’ is often poorly understood, poorly executed and in some cases, completely overlooked. It involves effectively blending social business strategy, marketing technology and customer experience. In 2017, two-way communication and engagement between customers and brands is not only easily available but expected. With Google and only 1kb of data, the average customer can instantly find information about your product, reviews, service, company mission and actions. As a business, you must also make the necessary investments to study your customer behaviours, especially those that determine whether they are one off buyers or loyal repeat customers. Technologies like customer journey analytics measure how any organization is doing at implementing these tools.
Asides your well thought out advertising campaign, your customer is also skewed in the direction of other factors, which include but are not limited to, your brand message (think Nike, “Just Do It”), Your social media page (think Kim Kardashian or Fashionova), brand ambassadors’ social media (think Toke Makinwa/ Tiwa Savage), customer reviews (think YourGreenBook or Yelp), digital word-of-mouth, your website functionality and the customer post-purchase experience.
Word of mouth marketing and getting customers to recommend business and products to their “friends” is slowly becoming outdated — unless it’s done digitally. Continuous engagement with customers and trend analysis will put you one step ahead in the domain of product development and improvement of existing services. Letting go of mass marketing campaigns, based on hope to hit a string in the customer’s wallet needs to be abandoned and replaced with targeted customer conversion. Your job doesn’t end with acquiring a customer, your aim is to nurture the relationship and ultimately convert them into brand loyalists.
Creating customer experience vision and strategy coupled with developing a mindset of customer process improvement is a good place to start. Being flexible with your approach and being open to unconventional means and abandoning archaic methods that don’t produce results is another major step. To be successful, think customer experience first, and technology as an enabler of the customer experience your organization wants to deliver.