In the much heralded ‘Age of the Consumer’, increasingly time-poor customers demand that communications are personalised, relevant and timely. Your customer wants to be recognised and valued – a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing won’t cut through the noise of the thousands of messages targeted to your audience every single day.
Delivering a tailored experience is key to grabbing attention in this saturated environment. Here are our five steps outlining how to REACH your customer, get to know them better and deliver that all-important personal experience:
1. RECOGNISE Who’s buying your product, who’s your target audience? Successful marketing is dependent on a clear and deep understanding of your customer. What do you currently know about your audience? Start with an internal workshop to pool any research or knowledge you’ve already amassed on your customers and prospects. Identify and integrate useful data sources – for example, what do your landing page analytics, contact logs, customer experience feedback or online reviews tell you about your customers?
Aim to segment your customers into groups based on shared characteristics. Building personas based on these segments is a great way to enable personalised marketing and deliver messaging that grabs attention. Avoid purely demographic (age, gender etc.) segmentation and focus on the what and why; behaviours, attitudes, emotions and motivations. Don’t assume you know what your customer wants – be sure to ask them and fill any gaps in your existing knowledge!
2. ENGAGE To engage customers you need to talk to your audience to find out what really makes them tick. Qualitative research methods like focus groups, in-depth interviews and ethnography will start to give you a clearer audience understanding that you can act on. Be sure to understand what your customer is trying to do, how they want to do it, and how your organisation fits in. What’s their relationship with your brand and your competitors? What channels do prospects use to research their purchase and inform themselves? How does your audience behave, what are their motivations, attitudes and beliefs?
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer to enable development of content that excites your audience, fits their lifestyle and encourages prospects to engage with your brand.
3. ACT To encourage your audience to act, remove any barriers to purchase and clearly identify and leverage the purchase triggers. Understand which channels your customers prefer to transact and communicate through.
To achieve this, finalise your personas based on the information you’ve collected, and be sure to plot the customer journey for each persona. The key output will be to identify the ‘pain points’ and ‘purchase triggers’ on the customer journey. Take each of the pain points and prioritise them in order of biggest negative impact – develop strategies to overcome these barriers to purchase. Now review the purchase triggers and create a plan to maximise your opportunities. Thoroughly understanding the path to purchase for each persona is key in helping you to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time using the most effective channel. Not only should your business identify purchase triggers, but how, when and where to pull them.
4. CHERISH By minimising the pain points and maximising the purchase triggers you’ll attract more customers. Now cherish them! By 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Keep listening to your customers, monitoring their experience and learning from the results.
Remember to ask your customers about their preferred experience. Customers are often frustrated and disengaged by brands communicating too often or with irrelevant information. What content would each customer like to see from you, how do they want to be contacted and how frequently? Make it an imperative to put the customer in charge to foster loyalty and see your customer retention rates rise.
5. HARNESS According to the latest Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83% of respondents say they trust the recommendations of friends and family. Harnessing customer relationships will create brand ambassadors to proactively spread positive word of mouth. The more your customers see you are listening and trying to deliver to their exact requirements, the more they will want to be involved in your organisation.
Develop a two-way relationship with your customers, invite them to share feedback and involve them in the building of your brand. An online community can be a great forum to test ideas and concepts with your target audience. Be open to the idea of co-creation to help improve your products and services and really get to the heart of what your customers want.