Role of Customer Experience in Marketing

Consumers are generally willing to pay a premium for a greater customer experience. However, a significant percentage feel the brands they purchase rarely meet their expectations, with respect to customer experience. It is a much better strategy to associate your brand with a greater  experience  then just touting product features. Quality customer service, competitive pricing, ample inventory and selections are a few areas that address the experience other areas include;

Employee loyalty vital to customer satisfaction

Always remember that your employees deal with the customers on a regular basis. Their attitude will play a huge role in how your customers feel while interacting with them. How your employees think of your business also plays an important role in how your customers see your business. They impart these opinions to your customers while interacting with them. As a result, it is very essential to keep your employees happy, so that the same feelings will be transferred to your customers. This will lead to the creation of positive opinions about your business and brands.

Coordinating customer insight to improve customer satisfaction

Coordinating customer feedback and implementing it within the workforce immediately, can bring about great changes in the overall customer experience. This implementation of feedback will lead to an increased number of happy and satisfied customers. Simple score cards can be used to track and evaluate the performance of your employees. The employees on the other hand, can use the score to concentrate on their critical areas. While coordinating this information on an immediate basis can be a challenging task, it can be crucial to provide the best customer experience possible.

Manipulating Customer Behavior for Successful Marketing

When it comes to marketing within the world of e-commerce, customer behavior plays a crucial role. Fresh clean product page design, and clear crisp images, affect the way customers perceive your brand. Coherent and intuitive category flows in the navigation also influence how customers behave. So customer behavior really plays a huge role in the success or failure of any consumer-based business, especially e-commerce.

Triggers for customer behavior

Businesses concentrate a great deal on the price of their products. If price is a critical differentiator then the ability to present competitive comparisons is a great way to trigger your prospect to buy.  In fact, consumers prefer to compare prices instantly and if they are at the buying phase of their research, they very often purchase at that point. Providing this option also helps them to make better decisions,  leading to have more trust in your brand. So the ability to compare prices can act as a trigger for customers, who are motivated to make a purchase.

Email campaigns

While many have been quick in suggesting the demise of email marketing, these suggestions are far from being true. While they might not serve as the only interactive marketing tool, they can make sure that your brand is on your customer’s mind. Customer behavior always requires a trigger. Customers usually have a need for a product, but they may not know the best source to procure it. It is your job to remind them (post satisfied survey) that they had a satisfied shopping experience at your store. So it is healthy to drop in a email blast once in a while about specials, discounts, and offers provided at your store or for your brand.  ‘Out of sight out of mind’ Right?

Adding a Personality to Your Customer Engagement Efforts

Successfully marketing a brand in large part, is about the ‘experience’ you provide to your customers. On a similar note, customer engagement is all about what stories your brand is tied to. The more interesting the story, the greater the engagement and the higher the chance of your customers being loyal to your company. Customer engagement is not just dictated by the success or size of the brand, it also depends on how you present it in front of your customers. Here are a couple of things that will help increase your customer engagement.

Customers are valuable assets, make them feel it

Business cannot successfully survive for a prolonged period of time without the feedback of customers. The real question however is whether your customers know of their importance to the brand? Customers usually attach an emotional value to any product they buy. Your products on the other hand do not emote the same, so it is up to you to demonstrate that your customers are just as special to your brand, as is your brand  to them. An occasional email, or a greeting on their anniversary or birthday, can make sure that your customers feel special. As a reward for your efforts, there is a good chance that your customer would recommend your brand to others and retention will be all that much more ensured.

Surprise your customers

A healthy surprise once in a while can in itself act as an effective marketing tool, and an excellent means to boost customer engagement. This can come in handy if you are launching a new product. Conduct a simple survey and find out what features the customers generally attribute your brand with, and in your next product enhance those features. It might sound a bit like reinventing the wheel but it need not be that way. Simple but unexpected surprises such as an enhanced, additional feature or a change in design can generate a lot of interest among your customers.

Customer Insight – Generating Ideas from Customers

In a competitive market, the only key to survival is continually improving your brand and products. The key to constant improvement is the availability of constant feedback. Customer insight forms an essential part of brand development. Your customers can provide you with a lot of information about how to improve your products. Gathering this information from them can help you improve your services or your brand image.

Observation

One of the most important aspects you need to focus on, when it comes to gathering customer insight is observation. It is always a good practice to conduct market research, using observations about how customers use your products, and a competitor’s product. This would give you information on the level of user experience your products provide, as compared to the competitor’s products. You can then use this information to innovate and improve your products.

Brand communities

Brand communities are excellent avenues to gather customer insight. Many big brands have used this method to engage in discussions with enthusiasts, to learn about the shortcomings of their products. These discussions provide valuable feedback that you can look into whenever needed. They also help you to improve your products as per the needs of your customers.

Promotional challenge

Another easy way to gather customer insight is to simply float a promotional challenge. This could be anything from pitching a new name for your product, suggesting improvements, or simply making some improvements. With a lucrative reward to offer, this could be an excellent way to promote your product, gather customer insight, and innovate.

Building Lasting Customer Relationships

Managing customer relationships from a marketing point of view, initially began as a method to increase sales by targeting customers with tailor-made campaigns. These campaigns suited their needs by using information that was readily available about the customer. Over the past decade, this process has undergone a lot of change, and has completely transformed the way in which customers interact with brands and businesses. The relationship that consumers share with brands today is a lot more complex, as compared to their relationship few years ago.

Impact of social media

Social media has completely revolutionized the way we interact with people around us. Customers today are leveraging social media as a platform, to engage in conversations with their favorite brand stores. Emails and phone calls can be easily avoided, but when it comes to social media, customers can simply voice their complaints publicly and can cause great damage to the brand’s image. As a result, businesses are taking a more proactive role in interacting with their customers about their concerns. This is an ideal step in making your customers feel that their needs are being heard and it leads to a better relationship, despite the issues faced by the customer.

Considerations while interacting with customers

Social media can be a great way to improve customer relationships. But it can be equally damaging if you fail to identify which forms of communication need to be ignored. Not every interaction on social media warrants a reaction. Sometimes, not responding can be beneficial. Always make sure to filter out such interactions. React only to genuine concerns that are aligned to customer’s needs and which offer a potential value for your analysis.

Identifying Brand Tolerance to Execute Creative Campaigns

The previous year has been challenging for marketers across the globe, with respect to consumer spending slowdown, the US Fiscal Cliff Negotiations, and several other events. While speculators have predicted time and again that businesses are likely to cut ad budgets, the reality is quite a contrast. Actually it is a paradoxical scene where the ad revenues are increasing. It suggests that brands are striving to maintain brand awareness among their consumers, through intelligently creative ad campaigns while also indulging in brand tolerance.

Brand Tolerance – The receptiveness your (targeted) consumer market has to the way you position and communicate your brand to them.

Evaluating the risk

Taking risks is a part and parcel of a marketer’s life. It is a challenging and difficult task as an increased amount of risk would mean failure, and any failure is not good for the marketing team. It is always important to evaluate the risk and brand tolerance, whenever a new marketing campaign needs to be launched. While unnecessary and reckless risks could invariably damage your campaign, well-calculated risks could certainly contribute to the success of your campaign.

This can be seen very often in TV ad campaigns for various brands, where a controversial ad once in a while generates so much hype that it works better than any other form of marketing campaign. In such a scenario, the real question that you need to ask yourself as a marketer is how much risk is acceptable? How far can you push the limits of your creativity? A little discipline and a healthy debate on how much risk is acceptable, is all you need to remain ahead of your competitors. Always remember that taking risks may end up in failure, but when creativity is maintained within limits, it can bring forth unimaginable rewards.

What is Lean Marketing?

There is significant competition between industries to dominate the search engine rankings and many have resorted to inbound marketing strategies to help them out. Large enterprises are using these strategies to market their products and achieve higher conversion rates. Small businesses are using inbound marketing strategies to create better brand awareness and improve their online presence. However effective inbound marketing requires the generation of quality content in a very short duration of time. Creating quality content requires an increased amount of review, which often cannot be accommodated in a jam packed production schedule. As a result, the industry requires ongoing strategies to go about its inbound marketing activities.

What is lean marketing?

Lean marketing is a process that involves making continuous improvements to an already existing method in such a way that maximum efficiency can be achieved.  One of the challenges arises because of inefficient lead building and management tools and methods. These methods are not efficient and they are also time-consuming. With better inbound marketing strategies being constantly integrated into business processes, the marketing departments are now better equipped with tools that enable them to effectively manage leads.

One such strategy is called lean marketing, the Six Sigma model as an example, follows the process of

  • Explore
  • Develop
  • Implement
  • Define
  • Measure

Conversion to lean marketing

Most of the marketing teams today are equipped with tools that help them improve their processes but what they lack is a disciplined process that enables them to launch effective campaigns and strategies to counter obstacles as and when they are encountered.

Any marketing process can be converted to a lean process by implementing the following general strategies.

  • Creating a structured process for the various aspects of inbound marketing such as planning, evaluating, content creation, executing, lead generation and nurturing. This will create a disciplined process and enable incremental improvement for optimization.
  • Holding regular review meetings is also a good practice. This allows for interaction between the various business teams and solutions to complex problems can be sought in a short span of time.

Effects of lean marketing

The biggest effect lean marketing can have on any marketing strategy is an increase in the efficiency. Inbound marketing tools reduce the wasting of time and help in easy monitoring. As a result of a repeatable process, campaigns can be launched quickly and efficiently and lastly due to regular meetings, solutions can be quickly obtained.

Product Marketing Using Rich Content

Inbound marketing involves the creation of quality content aimed at driving traffic and boosting conversion rates. While great targeted content gets you visibility, it is also  the application of quality content that speaks to your product, its functionality and its benefits that help your sales team achieve their targets.

From a user’s point of view, there are two types of content forms that are delivered. First is the form that caters to those at the top of the marketing funnel and the other caters to those at the bottom. While the former appeals to those users that are just looking to gather information and the latter appeals to users who are interested in your products, and convince’s them to make a buying decision. There is a huge gap between the two different forms of content. If the gap is bridged appropriately, then the content marketing strategy will be optimized . Blending the right balance of rich content in your messaging is the key.

Here are a few things that you can implement to achieve effective product marketing through rich content

Video promotion

An image speaks a thousand words and a moving one speaks a million. Videos are great tools to communicate your thoughts to the users. Videos can be used to provide live demonstrations to your audience  about your products. Videos are also ideal for providing your audience with an instant overview of your products and your business along with in depth analysis of individual products and product features. These videos can also be linked and featured on product pages where users can get instant access to product overviews.

Case studies and testimonials

Including customer testimonials and case studies about how your product played a vital role in the success of a particular customer goes a long way. These testimonials and case studies add credibility to your product and your marketing strategies, and also help your sales team meet their goals at the same time. Case studies should be intriguing and must contain an in-depth analysis of the customer’s problems and how your product changed the customer’s life for good.

Product demos, surveys and reports

Another great way to add to the credibility of your product is by routinely providing your audiance  with statistics on the performance of your product. The reports themselves can be major sales generators at times. In addition to this, product demos from your sales personnel can be incorporated into content and fed to the users. You could also record these live demonstrations and include the videos on the site.

The Basic Crafting of a Marketing Survey

Feedback both positive and negative is essential to improve the performance of any business or marketing campaign. One of the most effective methods implemented by businesses to obtain feedback is surveys. These customer feedback surveys enable marketers to tap into the minds of their customers and come up with better alternatives to achieve marketing goals.

The structure and format of a survey plays an important role in the success of the survey. These factors greatly affect the accuracy of the result and the response rate of the survey. A marketing survey should be clear, precise and to the point. Structuring a survey can sometimes be a daunting task without a proper strategy. Here’s what you need to craft an effective marketing survey that will get you maximum responses and accurate results.

Use a healthy flow pattern

Arranging questions in a logical sequence is the key to crafting an excellent marketing survey. The questions should flow freely; otherwise the survey might look like an inquisition to an outsider. A motivating introduction with information on why the survey is being conducted is the biggest “call to action” that you can use. While sequencing the questions, you should always start with broader questions and continue to narrow down to deeper issues as the survey progresses. This helps in easing a user into the survey. Make sure that you reserve the last spot in the survey for sensitive information such as demographic data unless you are filtering your respondents by one of these sensitive parameters.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – Leonardo Da Vinci

Complicating things might work well in an academic report but not for a customer survey. People are taking time out to respond to your survey and that time must be valued. Complicated questions may simply put off your customers and even though you may get responses, they may not be very accurate as many of your customers may not understand the questions. Also keep your surveys short; too many questions take much time to respond, and as a result many may leave a survey half done.

Randomize your sequence

Randomizing your sequence has got nothing to do with disrupting the flow pattern discussed earlier. The flow must always remain the same (broader areas to narrow sensitive areas). But you need not keep talking about one area and then go on to the next; feel free to mix and match. People usually get influenced by a previous answer when responding to questions pertaining to the same area. Randomizing ensures that this does not take place. Randomizing keeps the survey interesting and ensures that you get a correct response to each of your questions.

Customer Engagement in a Troubled Economy

A troubled economy is the time when all your customer engagement strategies really get tested. It’s a time when people tend to spend less and defer action. Effective customer engagement in such times can help move your customer to take action and engage in a more normalized sales process with your company. Here are a few customer engagement tips that may help your company thrive despite all the turmoil.

Find new ways

In a bad economy, all the parameters that govern your sales and purchasing trends change. Relying on conventional methods to engage your customers can be expensive and provide little value in return. As a result, it is time to innovate. Using online customer engagement can be an effective strategy. As it is the least expensive, but has a very wide reach. Social media, email campaigns, and effective blogging are inexpensive ways of online customer engagement activities that can be executed, with far less costs that traditional marketing initiatives.

Cutting Back

Businesses often implement cost cutting during troubled economy. This is an effective tactic that can help you survive economic turmoil but it does little to help you capture sales. A reasonable amount of cost cutting is always unavoidable, but you must also think about more effective ways to drive new or maintain customer-based sales. Don’t forget that your existing customers are critical and that your business survives because of them. So plan strategies that concentrate on the continuing support of the needs of your customers, as you move to cut back on internal costs.

Use digital media

Using digital media and other content driven online strategies is an effective means of engaging your customers. These methods are both cost effective and also engage customers with efficiency. While you engage in a dialogue with your customers make sure to cater to their emotional as well as business needs. More frequent communication regarding the support of their account may be in order? Simplifying online access to sales and order data is key in that ongoing online relationship. Updated catalog and general product information, should be addressed and providing added value information through blogging is always a great way to keep your brand and credibility in the forefront of your clients.

Research and test

Introducing new products, or services into the market does not stop or slow necessarily because of an economic conditions. In fact they may be required in order to stay afloat. A lack of market or consumer testing, is another major area where many businesses fail. Many businesses often simply assume certain probable responses from their customers and as a result suffer significant losses. Always conduct an ample amount of research and then test your research before jumping into any conclusions regarding the behavior of your customers. Always remember that there is no such thing as a per-determined outcome. Responses are largely based on the customer sentiments. So you will have to appeal to these sentiments and engage with your customers in order to get effective results.