We’re moving into a golden era for marketing. Post-GDPR, organizations have finally shifted away from the use of third-party data and are focusing their efforts on engaging customers who have actively consented to sharing their personal information. This higher quality data means marketers have better customer insights and can deliver easier, relevant and more all-round exceptional experiences.
However, in return, there are significantly higher expectations from consumers that marketers will use the information they have on them – whether that is a past purchase, browser behavior or a simple click on a particular web page – to delight them. They’ve shown you who they are, and they want to know you are listening. They have very little patience for poorly targeted communications.
The majority of marketers strive to deliver on this, but they’re struggling to get it right all the time for everyone. Small teams overloaded with thousands of data points on each customer could just miss the mark, and this will harm brand loyalty.
It’s still possible to deliver on the promise of marketing and provide the customer with exactly what they are looking for. Indeed, industry professionals have always been adept at the art of storytelling to evoke an emotional reaction. This means they will be highly attuned to the nature of buyers and sellers and will recognize that the personal touch is the way forward. After all, they are also consumers themselves.
The future of marketing is to focus on personalization and drive trust through adding value to each and every customer. Here are three promises every marketer should make:
The consumer will always come first
The future of marketing starts with empathy. It’s time for practitioners to put themselves in the shoes of their customers and really think: is this communication all about the consumer, or is it lazy marketing? Perhaps the brand simply doesn’t have the wherewithal to tailor things to this degree. But the reality is, if you want to win customers and keep them for a long time, every single interaction needs to deliver value to them, not just be approached as a sales opportunity. The marketer/consumer relationship broke down in the first place because of companies putting quick wins before long-term loyalty which ultimately doesn’t benefit either party for more than that one-time purchase, if you get that far. So, the way we market to the consumer needs to fundamentally change. We must put consumers first and at the core of all marketing strategy and we need to see them as part of a community that we get to know as well as that grocer knew our grandmother or the old school barber with our uncles. That means using the data you have so diligently collected on your customers to enhance their experiences through meaningful communication.
1-to-1 personalized interactions will be standard
Consumers demand a 1-to-1, personalized experience more than ever before. And it’s no longer just a nice-to-have, but a must-have for brands to succeed in today’s market. However, challenges arise as consumers leave their fingerprints on the many touchpoints they have with a brand, whether that’s on email, online or in-store. And, while many companies have gotten better at collecting and aggregating all this data, they are still grappling with too many different solutions to turn this data into meaningful, personalized interactions. Marketers must be more committed to closing that gap between the personalized experience consumers want, and what they actually deliver. This extends to understanding how frequently consumers want to be communicated with, when and on what channel.
Deliver value through automation
A team of five marketers cannot possibly deliver on the promise of marketing to a database of 100,000+ without the help of technology. The reality is that, to truly nurture and optimize engagement, they will need to configure customer journeys for any scenario from a single hub. There’s no need to be apologetic for the use of automation to deliver better experiences – whether that is tailored emails or individual discounts. However, marketers should build trust with the customer by being totally transparent about how they are using technology to deliver the best possible experience at all times.
Consumers put a lot of trust in marketers by sharing their data and they have reasonable expectations in return. It’s time for marketers to make sure they deliver on their promises and continue to provide unforgettable customer experiences to ensure long-term loyalty.