Our thoughts on digital marketing, consumer trends, technology, creative, strategy, and more.

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    Personalization is key to relevance

    Personalization of customer experiences

    Personalization Marketing Forrester Example

    With recent changes to the web and mobile experience and the shift in media consumption patterns of our customers, it has become increasingly easy for marketers to obtain data that tells them who gets what content, where they get it and what they do with it. Marketers will be expected to tailor their messaging and experiences to better match what their customers expect – relevance. In 2016, you can expect more personalization of brand experiences.  

    Personalization statistics infocom systems

    Personalization is the ultimate form of targeted marketing, creating messages for individual consumers – it delivers to a market of one. With the customer data we’re able to collect from multiple points of interaction with our brand – online and offline, we’re able to develop more concise buyer personas that paint a clearer picture of who our customers are, where they go, what they do and what their needs are. Marketers can now develop experiences that are specifically tailored to these customers, like custom landing pages, or features on a website that are in line with what users want to access.

    Personalized services have always been an element of small businesses and local stores, where people know their customers by name; now database technologies are equipping larger businesses to personalize as well. The ability to personalize depends on the information available on the customer; therefore, personalized marketing is most effective with consumers who are most comfortable with sharing information.

    Fortunately, more people are willing to exchange a degree of privacy for a personalized experience. Compared to the total population, younger people—who have grown up with technology—are more comfortable with sharing information than older customers.

    Trend Tip:

    1. Apart from making personalized recommendations, web pages should be designed to display other content based on customer history. You should consider building your landing pages on the same premise; when a customer arrives at the website, the referral source, geographic location, and purchase history can all influence what is presented on the page.
    2. Personalization statistics Janrain Harris interactiveGreeting your customer by first name is more engaging than an impersonal “Dear customer.” Lead data can be integrated into the emails so that specific products or offers are highlighted accordingly. For example, if your mailing list is generated from your customer/lead database, then information on prior purchases or lead activity can be used to suggest future actions.
    3. You should adopt the same personalization approach when responding to customers on social media, answering their questions and engaging them. A personal interaction here (as opposed to automated responses) goes a long way.

    RESOURCES:

    1. Case Studies – 5 Incredible Examples of Personalization
    2. Why Marketers Must Think Personalization
    3. 10 Personalization Tips
    4. Personalization Strategies to Attract and Retain Customers

     

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    Customer Experience is Customer Service

    Customer Service meets Customer Experience

    Customers will continue to show their disapproval with inconsistent and unfulfilling brand experiences. In an attempt to raise the bar, Caribbean brands will and must, change their customer approach and start thinking about how to deliver greater value. This will include improving customer service models, investing in customer service solutions that afford better monitoring and management and improving online engagement.

    What does Customer Experience mean?

    Customer Experience encompasses every opportunity your customer has had to interact with your brand. To fully understand what the term customer experience means, think about it as the sum total of individual customer service moments a consumer has with the folks who represent your brand. This interaction may have initiated with marketing during the early stages of the buyer’s journey, but would certainly have pulled sales, customer service and maintenance and support into the engagement loop.

    Why brands need to improve their customer experience

    happy customers

    In today’s world, brands easily suffer from curtailed customer lifecycles, with leads falling out of the sales funnel after encountering either poor customer service or when faced with inconsistent brand experiences along the way. A 2013 study by J.D Power and Associates recognised that consumer expectations for social interactions vary across industries, however, quality content and responsive service representatives were keys to unlocking higher satisfaction levels. Just as brands have begun engaging in social marketing practices, they must close the customer satisfaction loop by providing social servicing[1]

    If you’re not sold on the need to deliver quality experiences that ensure positive brand sentiment and lead to overall brand loyalty, then let’s consider the impact on your business’s bottom line. For those of you who are keen on measuring the ROI of a company’s expenditure on the machinery needed to deliver a blue ribbon brand experience, consider the performance of these companies –

    Walt Disney Customer Experience, Customer service

    • Amazon Q4 14, net sales increased by 15% over Q4 13
    • Apple 39.9% profit per product –  (3 months to end Dec 14)
    • Disney Earnings per share up 27% in year to Dec 2014
    • Zappos Annual revenue in excess of 2 billion
    • Starbucks Revenue rose 13% in Q1 FY15
    • BMW 7% increase in vehicle sales – Jan 15 vs Jan 14

    Apart from their obvious successes, these companies have 2 things in common – they deliver exceptional customer experiences and they have loyal, happy customers. It’s no coincidence that they’ve been able to obtain this level of success while consistently delighting their customers at every interaction with their brand. Like Tony Hsieh and the folks at Zappos, each of these brands is focused on putting the customer first and supporting this drive with a strong internal company culture. None of these are out of your reach, here’s how you can get there too.

    Building a Great Customer Experience Strategy

    It’s not too late for brands that are not currently wowing customers with a great experience to make a turn-around. The best place to start is by developing a customer experience strategy, much like the one we’ve found on The Client Heartbeat – 5 customer experience strategies that work.

     1. Define the customer experience and keep it consistent across all touch points

    The best companies recognize that customers interact with different parts of the organization and across multiple touch points. They know customers engage with different employees when they make a purchase, when they’re getting service and support, and when they’re talking to billing or accounts.

    2. Base the experience on individual customer needs

    Customer experience strategy must start with knowing what your customer needs and wants, which will equate to their expectations. Once you know that, you can work backwards to create an experience that exceeds those customer expectations.

    3. Leverage technology to enhance the customer experience, not create it

    It is recommended that you define a customer experience, and then identify what tools and software you need to assist in making it happen. Do not mold your customer experience strategy around technology. Find technology that you can use within your strategy.

    Here are some tools you should look into:

    • CRM tools for relationship management: keep all data and communications between your company and employee in one spot so everyone can see it quickly.
    • Marketing tools to engage with customers:  send trigger emails based on specific actions.
    • Online survey tools and customer satisfaction tools: survey customers, get feedback and measure satisfaction.
    • Web analytics and tracking tools: Measure engagement, number of site visits and page visits. Build out customer profiles full of data to help manage the experiences.

    It’s all about integration

    To effectively address the needs of our consumer base, brands must evolve their customer strategies into a three-pronged approach that can treat with marketing, sales and service engagements. Brands can no longer ignore the growing social customer demographic. For companies that are interested in fostering positive customer experiences across this audience, they must treat with digital strategy holistically.

    Brand Tip

    Change your perspective around customer experience. Consider delivering exceptional customer experiences as an economic asset rather than additional company expense. “70% of companies say it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire one and 49% say that, pound for pound, they achieve better ROI by investing in relationship marketing over acquisition marketing.”

     

    [1] Social Servicing – Social servicing engagements include answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems via social channels.

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  • Advice for SMEs – Survival of the Smartest

    Caribbean SME at work

    Advice and mentorship come in handy when you’re an ambitious SME and trying to win your world. Of course, not everything out there is going to resonate with you or be applicable to your particular business scenario. There are some common scenarios, that many SMEs around the world struggle with. We’ve chatted with a few small and medium sized business owners from across the Caribbean and they’ve shared some of their business challenges with us. We were not surprised to find commonalities among some of the problems they faced. Among the challenges identified, prioritisation, email management, and marketing on a budget stood out as three of the most common issues faced by small business owners and entrepreneurs. Here are some quick recommendations on how you can address these challenges.

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    How digital solutions can unlock business value

    Digital solutions are here to stay.

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    It’s not the 90s and the internet is not the new kid on the block. We’ve far progressed from the age of digital astonishment since mankind delivered GPS devices, smartphones, and digital music into our lives. Let’s face it, the question around adopting digital solutions for our business lies not in the innate fear of trying something new, but in the fear of successful implementation. 

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