The marketing has changed a lot in the last years, it become more technological, but more important become a data-driven practice. As marketers we have plenty of tools that help us to reach this deep customer knowledge we wanted in the past. This is not only due the huge amount of historical data we had and are able to store and process, but also thanks to the Artificial Intelligence as we can predict what will be the next step.
Dialog and interactions
There is a dual role in the marketing teams, inside-out, engaging with the customer, telling them how can we help, what is our view and mission and what are we doing to make it happen. However, we should not forget the outside –in perspective. It is key to set up this dialog with the customer, and this means to lessen to them, gather their feedback and interact based on this explicit data we get to increase this customer engagement
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There is no doubt this customer-Brand relationship is a bi-directional communication. It is about a dialog between both, and if a brand fails on this the impact will be quickly visible. Customers look for a high engagement with the brand, feel part of it and know their voice is listen. It is easy talke about a customer-centric approach in any corporate strategy speech or presentation, but this is what really means (not only as marketing but as the whole organization). However, this is not an easy task, and it require to team-up, work in no-silos mode, and build/sent the correct message according to customer preferences. Each customer has a different needs, and this why real-time customization and personalization are key in this process
Technology as a partner
The time-to-market (time spent since idea or concept is thought until we present it to the customer) is the new currency for any company. It is about to be quick, agile, fast and adjust ourselves to the market. This doesn’t’ impact only products, but also any communication we sent and the interaction we have with our customers. The real-time communication is the key requirement the business is asking to get the desired customer engagement and loyalty. Brands should to communicate with the customer in the correct point of time. These moments should not be set up by the brand, they should be trigger by the customer interaction and behavior. And companies act accordingly. We use to assume we know why customer are prepared for buy certain product, based on a fix customer journey. But this customer journey step should be sharp or be driven by how the customer behave toward us as a brand.
Technology is way more easy (and even cheaper) than several years ago. There are new technologies and solutions to get support from and one of the big examples is the Martech landscape (all these tools build and desinged for marketing and automatable advertisement). The real-time marketing is one of the functionalities that a lot of this marketing automation tools offer right away, Of course, this should not be adopted just because is the new buzzword, it should be done based in the scope of our strategy and for the customer-company benefit. Our goals (mentioned some lines above) could be met easier supported by this, but of course this required we, as a company change our mindset.
Campaigns are the more frequent way to communicate with the customer. Knowing that a campaign could be a single email, but could be based in a complex flow (landing pages, emails, SMS, push notifications,… all together in an overarching customer journey). This is the change we need to make, Let’s start thinking cross-campaigns. Those should be some of touch points with the customers such Christmas, Blackfriday, Mathers’ days But these use to be touch points with the customer in certain days. On top of these, we use to communicate product launches, events, trade shows o try to get additional sells (cross selling, upselling, renewals,..). If we work horizontally, pulling together all these activities in a CDJ (customer decision journey) we will get what we want: a continues engagement with the customer along the lifecycle, and not only on sales moments. This is the real mindset change to be done, as the customer perspective toward the brand will be different (brand cares along a extended time frame of the customer, and not only on sales moment, with unstructured messages). Obviously, the plan is not to set up a script, instead a framework to be filled with content based on customer interaction. All the new marketing automation tools, CRM platforms, DMPs and data lakes help in this personalization and automation. They allow to introduce decision points, which will be solved based on the customer input (or actions). However, what we need to have in mind always is a consistent, cohesive and insightful story line to communicated
Real-Time marketing and personalization walk together toward the customer engagement and loyalty boosting. Both, together help us to bring to the customer what they need, in the moment they need and in the format they want. Customer will feel we really care about them, understand their needs and try to do our best to address them. The real time marketing will trigger the required actions just in time, and the personalization will bring just what customer needs in that point of time.
There are tons of examples that wrap up all above. All of us have are working, or interact with solutions, supporting this kind of process, and that all together build the customer experience ecosystem (web, wearables, apps, social media,..). The APPS, in general, could be a very good channel for this purpose, as allow us to connect with the customer in a very personal way in the exact moment. Although this is not the only channel to be used. It depends on how we want to engage, the goal of the action to trigger, the content we want to share or what we expect from the customer. Not often time we think in SMS as a good channel, but it is in certain occasions. So, channel to be used depends on the customer, the journey we want to build and the situation. The automation of these communications could be supported by the new tools and platforms in the market, having in mind always the goal: be faster and get the personalization to improve the customer experience
Let’s take the most of the moment
In order to get this engagement with the customer, and to be relevant, brands have to show the added value and differentiation with competitors. Companies should provide solutions, and only promote products. At the end, customer are looking for an holistic view on how to tackle their paint points or needed. Because of this, it is key to set up a dialog with the customer and be able to react in time with actions toward customer expectations. The real time marketing is about to set up, keep and look for this micromoments. There is existing technology that could support with plenty of functionalities, and unlock this value is not very difficult, we need to have a clear strategy in mind. Of course there is a lot of room for improvement, and of course a lot of new laws an legislation is about to come in, but we need to find out way in the while. Social Networks are very useful too, and there are very good examples of companies do recommendations based on products or services already booked or bought by your friends and family (Airbnb, Amazon..) As you can imagine, smartphones, mobile devices and search engines are key in this journey. Mobile technology (wearable, smartphones,..) usage is getting higher and higher, and big percentage of the customer touch points are leveraging them. There are a lot of these micro moments we should jump in, such when customer are in queue, waiting for something, commuting, between meetings. Taking the advance and using these moments could make the difference, and generate a big positive impact for our brand, capturing customer’s eye.