Modern Customers Think Just Like Search Engines


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Customers continually search with their five senses for the right brand messages, the right high-quality data, and the right compelling offers which meet their specific requirements.

Just like Google or Bing’s powerful global search engine algorithms – which are becoming more ‘human’ since the Penguin 2.0 update in May – modern customers are wired to hunt for genuine, not spammy, brands and clear messages.

Just like search engines, they will issue mental penalisations to those fly-by-night firms or well-established brands because of a brand’s lack of personalised marketing knowledge or negative practices.

Just like Google, they do this by either ‘deranking’ a brand in their memory temporarily or forever. More proactive behaviours will include shutting down a cold call within seconds, blocking all future vocal interaction, de-subscribing from opt-in e-comms, or by moving their full attention to a competitor within seconds.

Here’s a real example of a customer call interaction with a national brand which went wrong in seconds because of a lack of local, demographic, seasonal customer tracking and knowledge, and poor ad copy scripting:

‘Do you still eat fruit and veg?’

Here’s a quick attempt at penalising it, just like Google or Bing might (my own analysis):

1.The badly scripted line – there’s a stark lack of hook, appropriate key words, and relevancy

2. Use of an opening question which can only lead to a ‘YES/NO’ answer despite use of the emphatic word ‘still’ – this approach fails open the conversation and move on the enquiry to goal, and implies lack of customer knowledge. Ergo, point 3

3.Lack of seasonality and customer knowledge/buyer habit – firstly, it’s summer so people usually eat more fruit due to the heat, and vegetables are in abundance. More basically who really doesn’t eat fruit and veg given a) we’re humans b) the massive health messages around a balanced diet c) the service is aimed at adults and parents who mostly already ‘get’ the value of a nutritious diet.

On a more serious note, the customer has used the provider before during other seasonal cycles over the past quarters or years. There should be plenty of analytics to mine on their purchasing habits already. Powerful lead forensics for CRM these days provide all this information at a dashboard glance to corporate marketeers.

4.Time call was logged: mid-afternoon – which assumes a no-no for busy professionals, parents on school pick-up duties, shift workers, and anyone in North America who is just waking up. Customers generally have particular times of days when they makes searches be it in their free time at lunch, just after work or after dinner, and when offers are about to run out. Again powerful customer analytics can provide evidence of a customer’s previous attention span for best searches and messages.

5.The lack of compelling message – poor brand introduction in customer’s own brand ‘memory’ searches

6.Zero competitive CTA – no ‘push’ within the first critical opening lines e.g. save 20% on first 6 orders over £50.

The BBC’s current reality-documentary series, The Call Centre, tells us exactly what is going at the other end of such calls. The fact is there is a general reaction when a customer receives unsolicited sales calls:

‘I don’t take sales call. I put the phone down on them. Nobody has time for that.’

In fairness, most modern customers are generally primed to receive and to be influenced by the best possible searches and evocative messages across different target channels.

Many customers naturally possess a in-built radar for fuelling good brand interactions once they get powerful messages and warm to a brand’s personality. Once won one over they will move from early adopter to mainstream proponent, through to ambassador, and viral influencer themselves.

However, get the customer marketing pitch even a little bit wrong and it’s quite possibly game over at that point. They might not respond or search for your brand again – or else do so out of the basic principle of need, rather than a real desire to engage.

Modern customers think just like search engines – get used to it.

Image credit: creative commons license Author: JakobVoss

Laura Sans
Laura Sans blogs on marketing, technology, business, HR, and trends. She works alongside MS Dynamics Partner, Preact, have recently been given President's Club Status by Microsoft as acknowledgement of their growing status in the industry.


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