The Internet and social media are changing how marketers engage our customers. When the Web was first launched it wasn’t unusual for most marketers to treat the new channel as a broadcast mechanism much like we have with most other marketing channels. Company Websites looked much like interactive company brochures. As the Web matured consumers started to take a more active voice in impacting company brands – word of mouth marketing became more scalable through product reviews at e-commerce sites. Blogs, YouTube and social media empowered consumers to share ideas about our products and take more active role in impacting our brands.
Earlier this month, Razorfish released their new report: “Liminal: Customer Engagement in Transition.” The report provides excellent insights on how customer engagement is changing as they become more empowered.
Some excerpts from Liminal:
- With a sustained engagement, you can increase sales, decrease churn and most importantly, transform consumers into brand advocates through exceptional engagement experiences.
- Engagement is a messy, complicated idea – yet a critical one – because it gets to the heart of the relationship between consumers and brands. We know that it is valuable, but the how, what and why of it is ambiguous at best.
- Most definitions of engagement are from the marketers’ perspective instead of the consumers’ – focused on lighter measurements such as awareness and brand lift and not on customer lifetime value.
- Engagement isn’t just about a channel. It’s about the consumer’s relationship with a brand, their ability to choose how and when to engage and value each channel represents.
How can you better prepare your marketing to efforts to support the empowered customer:
- Are you encouraging a dialog with our customers? Look at your marketing efforts – are they broadcast in nature or do you have ways for your audience to engage in conversations with you and others in the community?
- Are your marketing channels built in silos or are they integrated? Your customers will choose if and how they want to engage with you. Integrating your various marketing channels with help create synergies and resonate with customers when they want to engage and how they want to engage.
- As you build your marketing strategy, are your marketing efforts more focused on your products and services or your customer base? Your brand is the sum total of the engagements and perceptions that our customers have with you and your products. Are you focused on optimizing customer experiences or on selling your product? There needs to be a fine balance of both.
- Who manages your social media strategy – Marketing? PR? Customer Service? Social media touches all parts of a company but the listening platform, CRM and engagement are optimal from Customer Service. Great customer service in social media give the Marketing and PR teams permission to engage.
- Are your social marketing efforts campaign based or longer term? Social Media is a commitment not a campaign. Creating a social media or customer engagement strategy should not end at each fiscal year. It should be the heartbeat of the company.
- Diagram your sales cycle – is it linear? The sale does not end with the customer buying your product or service. It should be just the start. How can you integrate the customer voice into your product development cycle? How can you use social media listening platforms to improve your services? What is their lifetime value and how can find ways to extend it through influencer strategies?
- If you were to optimize your marketing efforts to support a more empowered customer – what would it look like 2-years from now? 5-years?
- It may be difficult to change a marketing strategy based on traditional methods around quickly but if you had a longer term vision you can start architecting what that looks like across the company.
- Don’t focus on today’s tools like Twitter and Facebook. Look at the bigger picture of what an empowered customer means to you and how you engage with them.
This is an exciting time to be in marketing. Digital/Social/Mobile are changing how we engage our customers and how they want us to engage with them. It provides lots of opportunities for those who accept the challenges.