Traditional marketing is on its way out. Over the years, we have been marketed and sold to death and we've actually learned to avoid ads. The more empowered consumer walks, reads, listens and looks right past them - they just aren't listening.
Consumers now have total freedom choose how they consume information and what they choose not to. Consequently, broadcasting generic marketing messages to large groups of customers on different channels is no longer relevant in your customer's buyer journey.
Today customers are empowered and with that comes the ability easily find their own information and share it with others - meaning your directly marketed product and feature led initiatives are no longer seen as a trusted source.
The goal is for any business is to evolve from this traditional 'push' marketing where you simply chase prospects to a realisation that your customers are your most important asset and referrals and word of mouth are keys to future growth. Your new focus should be all about outcomes. Consumers feel satisfied when they achieve their desired outcomes - which should be easily achieved through interactions with your organisation.
A more mature digital strategy on building connected, personalised experiences with your customers will win them over for life.
According to Brian Solis: "This sets the stage for a new era of leadership; a new generation of business models, charging behind a mantra of 'adapt or die.'"
This blog post will look at what is required of organisations today to keep pace with the now connected and empowered consumer, specifically, the challenge presented to marketers, and how they can fine-tune their marketing strategies to become more digitally mature, plus provide a framework for getting on the right road to digital maturity and winning customers for life.
Over the past 10 years, we have entered a revolution in how the world is becoming more and more connected. Today, customers can connect with others and share information about your brand with very little effort.
But essentially, consumers haven't actually changed; it is how they make decisions that has. For example, information about your brand, your product or service has always been available with a bit of searching, but with the rise of social networking, technology has made it easier than ever for the consumer and the customer has taken control.
The bottom line is - this rate of technological and subsequently behaviour change is showing no signs of slowing down - our customers will continue to evolve - with or without us.
Fundamentally, a brand is a grand total of every experience, however big or small they have with you and today's customer expects you to recognise them from their last interaction, and continue the conversation where you left off.
Largely due to these consumers growing demands, effective marketing today is a monumental task! Marketers are faced with having to deliver the right message, within the right context, at the right time, and on the right device. If the message isn't right, or relevant, or hit at the right time, the customer (or potential customer) will go elsewhere - easy for them - a huge risk to their brand.
Similarly, as our customers are continually evolving, marketers are on a never-ending journey; meaning they must be more agile than ever, stay abreast with emerging communication channels and at the same time in-tune with their customers.
We are seeing the most exciting time in marketing right now, where the marketing function inside an organisation has the opportunity to drive real business outcomes.
As Stan Phelps of 9inch marketing says in his Slideshare presentation, Traditional Marketing is Dead... Long Live the Customer: "We now need to make the longest and hardest journey in marketing. The 9 inches from the brain to the heart of your customer."
This is the new era of marketing - this is Experience Marketing!
Experience marketing provides marketers a single view of the customer in real time, so they can personalise every experience, across all communication channels.
This new marketing era is not just for the likes of Amazon; it is for all organisations to embrace in every market. Optimising customer experience is affordable and generates real business results. If done correctly, it opens up the possibility to transform your organisation from a business with a traditional marketing approach to a market leading organisation where marketing is a key business driver with an important stake in strategic decisions.
Building connected experiences with our customers provides great benefits not only for your customers - who get better, more personalised experiences when they want them, but also for your organisation - as you can more easily achieve your strategic goals.
Yet despite this, many businesses still choose to ignore the needs of their customers and continue to roll out egocentric digital marketing plans instead of focusing on the needs of the customer.
According to Brian Solis, this is because we are in a time of digital Darwinism - an era where technology and society are evolving faster than businesses can adapt.
He highlights that if consumer behaviour is evolving as a result of technology, businesses either compete to get ahead of it, they perpetually react to it, or they belittle it. Rather than reacting to change or be disrupted by it, some forward-looking companies are investing in digital transformation to adapt and outperform their competitors.
People Before Technology
This predicament is intensified when coupled with today's marketers more often than not, grappling with trying to manage monumental marketing challenges, usually, on a plethora of different tools, managed in silos and disconnected from each other. In this case, these tools, rather than being an enabler and part of the solution, adds to the disconnected brand experience delivered to the end user, and then becomes part of the problem.
This emphasises that you could have the best software on the market, but without the right people with the right skills, and processes in place, you will not get any value from your tool. You must have the right people and processes to get any value from any technology solution.
Moving towards customer connection, across all channels to create a connected experience through effective experience marketing is not an easy task. It usually requires huge business changes to be applied, and new waters to be trodden.
New processes will need to be carved out and new relationships created and nurtured between different business units. Culture change is never easy, but the rewards are huge - digital maturity and customers for life.
Equally, for an initiative to be a success it is not just marketing which needs to adapt. More importantly, sales, operations, service, and finance etc. will all need to be part of the change programme and involved from the initial planning process. Digital maturity dictates that any business function that touches customers will to have an impact on customer experience.
It is not surprising then that research carried out by eConsultancy shows that 94% of organisations see the value in creating personalised experiences with customers, but 72% don't know where to start.
The process can often seem overwhelming - this is where the Customer Experience Maturity Model comes in.
Customer Experience Maturity Model
If you want to be part of the current marketing revolution, increase your marketing expertise and adapt, there is a whole new space opening up to you. Those marketers, which aren't willing and choose to take the 'business as usual' approach will continue to generate the same one-size-fits-all generic content, delivered at every customer touch point, delivering indifferent customer experiences.
If you are on-board and want to connect with your customers and build lifetime advocacy, The Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model is a natural place to start.
The Customer Experience Maturity Model is the process part of the people, process and technology. The model has seven stages, which maps the customer experience maturity level of your business and offers guidance on how to progress upwards through the different stages.
The first step is to take the Customer Experience Maturity Model assessment, to ascertain your current level of digital maturity. Once you have done this, you can then effectively map your destination.
You can access the Customer Experience Maturity Model assessment here. Once you ascertain your level of digital maturity or if you would like to know more about how to align your digital marketing efforts with marketing objectives that drive strategic objectives, please contact us on 0808-189-2044 or email [email protected]