Digital marketing: the customer is always right

Posted on 11 Mar 2016 by The Manufacturer

The Manufacturer’s digital strategist, Hayden Richards, looks at the increasing trend of customer optimisation in digital marketing.

Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer
Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer.

Have you noticed that products and price points are decreasing in value from the standpoint of the customer?

Increasingly, consumers are favouring quality, consistent experiences, and are likely to stick with firms that offer this type of service if a high degree of personalisation is thrown into the mix.

The challenge this shift brings is retention, as a standard marketing approach won’t be enough and many companies are not prepared to meet customers on their own terms in the new digital economy.

This year will see an increase in customer expectation around personalisation, but the trend is not quite there yet.

In a recent Forrester blog, analyst Michelle Moorehead said this year still won’t see enough businesses fully equipped to deliver one-to-one experiences, “Customers don’t necessarily need perfect personalisation; they just want their needs to be met in a way that delights them”.

What’s implied in that statement is creativity and savvy technology use by businesses trying to avoid disruption.

A 2015 Forbes insight report has identified a couple of key points that can address this issue:

  1. Technology which includes personalised media e.g., interactive personalised video
  2. A 360 degree view of customers – a well-integrated CRM system can certainly help with this

This is one of my favourite ideas from the report: “On-the-fly responsiveness: Siloed approaches to customer communications are out, and an interconnected ability to compose relevant and timely responses on the-fly is in.”

A lot of this may be driven by the CMO, but I can certainly see other department heads wanting to influence this journey.

Hyper-adoption is defined as the rapid and simultaneous uptake of new behaviours or put another way, the unprecedented uptake of new services and devices.

Soon everyone you consider a prospect will own a device that will allow you to offer more interconnected, experience-driven marketing communications.

Expect all of this to be driven by artificial intelligence, connectivity, the cloud and big data.

Last year, Forrester’s James L. McQuivey suggested that many companies don’t have the procedures in place to disrupt digitally despite being well aware of the opportunities.

For things to get better, collaboration is key, McQuivey states: “Let the CMO – who understands the customer experience – identify what would need to be done, even if it stresses the business model, but then respect the CIO’s need to do it the right way.”

The customer experience you offer will depend on how many employees are truly committed to being customer centric, they will all need to be team players and sing off the same hymn sheet.

If you think about it, marketing and customer service could all claim ownership and have slightly differing agendas, so a key point will be to effectively manage the customer experience across all touch points and avoid the perils that internal company silos could bring.

Consider truly merging all departments and their interactions into a unified customer experience.