Marketing is constantly changing. When you think about it, two of the main components are technology and people. Because of the development of new technologies, the way people interact with each other shifts. That means that brands have to shift their customer engagement strategies accordingly.
Customer engagement is a key factor in the success of your marketing strategy whether you are B2B or B2C. Here are all the areas customer engagement has evolved and what to watch out for in terms of potential shifts in the future and how it could affect your strategy.
Your customer engagement will always start with your brand story and the foundational messaging you have developed. While your messaging should reflect who you are as a brand, it should also reflect on how your customers will perceive you. It can’t all be about you all the time, you have to make it about your customer and what they will get out of working with you or purchasing your product.
Now more than ever, customers prefer some sort of emotional tie in to their lives – a sensory experience – where brands are concerned. You have to get better at storytelling and you will need to rely more and more on your foundational messaging to help you stand out among your competitors.
Values & Ethics
Not only do you need to get your brand story straight, but you also have to stand for something. There is a reason why cause marketing has become one of the latest trends in strategy development. Customers want to know that the brands they support also have the same values and ethics that they do. Aligning your brand with a cause will give you a way to build a community through customer engagement.
“Back in the day” customer engagement meant door-to-door salesmen and at-home parties where product was sold directly. While those channels are still used, technology has made it possible to have a customer engagement strategy that uses multiple channels. Figure out where your target audience likes to be targeted and work those channels. Usually, success lies in the middle of the more “traditional” tactics (experiential, traditional media relations, guerilla, etc.) and newer tactics that rely on technology (like social media, influencer relations, video, mobile, apps, etc).
The other thing to note is that consumers shop differently than they used to. Most of the time they will do their research first online and then purchase in-store, or they will just purchase online. As brick and mortar storefronts fight to stay relevant and services like Amazon become even more successful, brands need to consider beefing up their digital strategy, especially when it comes to e-commerce.
Customer Relationships and Value
Because we have the tools to create dialogue, customer engagement has become more about relationship building on a larger scale than it used to be. Your strategy should involve multiple layers where you start by engaging your audience as a whole and as they move towards purchase, the communication narrows. In many cases, it would narrow to a more direct one-to-one conversation depending on what you are selling. While that is more like a salesman approach, the difference is you use techniques to pull people in with your communication. Much of the pull strategy comes from great content provided online. You need to provide value for your customer even before they purchase from you.
The biggest thing to remember is that no one wants to be pushed into buying anything anymore. They want to feel valued as a customer. Pushy salesman techniques will only turn people off of what you have to sell.
Not only do you need to keep up with trending topics related to your industry, but your communications need to come out in a timely manner. Customer service response times need to be almost instantaneous because we’re all so used to having information and solutions at our fingertips – this means a more client-centric strategy needs to be in place.
There is so much noise on a daily basis, whether it is advertising, personal communications, music in the background, sales pitches, etc. Don’t just add to the noise – people want to be able to date their brands and get to know them, not be stalked. While you have your revenues and cash flow to consider, you need to focus on visibility and brand recall while not overwhelming your audiences. Find a happy medium where you can realize success with your customer engagement strategy without drowning them in more noise.
If all else fails… When in doubt use cat videos… If that doesn’t work (and it likely won’t exclusively), call us and we’ll help you build out your customer engagement strategy.