A couple of years ago, I was looking for a loan to sponsor my MBA, and to ensure that I made the best choice I performed a thorough research. This meant filling in a lot of enquiry forms on the websites of banks and financial institutions.
However, that happened a couple of years ago. Today, my needs are different, and an education loan certainly does not figure anywhere on my list. But, this is something that banks do not seem to understand. Till date, I keep receiving phone calls and emails with education loan offers. At times the timing of such phone calls makes them all the more annoying, and those emails just add clutter to my mailbox. For me these are disturbances, and for marketers – waste of resources. It’s time marketers align with their customers’ needs, and take the much needed leap from interruptive marketing tactics to a contextual approach. Below are 4 fundamental steps in this direction.
For me these are disturbances, and for marketers – waste of resources. It’s time marketers align with their customers’ needs, and take the much needed leap from interruptive marketing tactics to a contextual approach. Below are 4 fundamental steps in this direction.
- Focus on Data Recency and Accuracy – As the saying goes ‘change is the only constant’ in this world. The world around us is changing, and so are our customers, their preferences, jobs, locations, and needs. To remain relevant in this volatile business environment, it’s important for marketers to keep track of these changes, anticipate changes, and build future-readiness into their marketing engine. The classic customer life-cycle has evolved, over the years, into a much more complex trajectory. By charting your customers’ journey, and enriching your database with relevant and real-time customer insights along each step of this journey, you can gain a huge competitive advantage for your brand.
- Revamp Your Customer Communications – Today’s customers demand not just personalized but person-to-person communication, which lends authenticity and credibility to a brand. Further, the growing popularity of social media and mobile apps, to not just evaluate products but also make the purchase, characterizes a major shift in the buying process – which is no more dependent on in-person communication for the final transaction to happen. On the one hand, this has sped up the buying process, and on the other hand, it has put extra onus on Marketing, to make the sale happen. To motivate customers to move from the stage of awareness to consideration and finally purchase, marketers need to engage them in meaningful conversations, rather than targeting them with standard campaigns. Moreover, this engagement should be sustained beyond the sale transaction to build trust and sustain the relationship.
- Ensure Consistency Across Channels – Your brand remains your brand, irrespective of the channel the customer chooses to interact with it. From the customer’s perspective channel is less about choice and more about convenience, and that’s why customers keep moving back and forth between channels through the different stages of the buying cycle. The only thing they remember about these interactions is your brand, and any inconsistency in their experiences, across channels, damages their perception of your brand. Just being present on every channel is not sufficient; you need to ensure real-time flow of information between channels, to provide seamless customer experiences.
- Listen to Your Customer – With media becoming social, businesses can no more limit themselves to broadcasting messages. Broadcasting can only serve to create brand awareness, and awareness does not guarantee adoption. It’s very important to listen to your customers. The new generation customers are very well-informed, and cognizant of their needs and preferences. And the best part is that they are extremely vocal about their needs and opinions, and have a practical decision making approach, which relies on peer feedback more than anything else. This makes it all the more important for marketers to pay attention to the customer’s voice.