As we move into 2020, new marketing trends are beginning to take the spotlight. At the forefront of all of them is the changing nature of the customer from just another number, to a person with much more nuanced expectations.
Learn how you can prepare to meet these customer expectations by improving interactions with your company, making sure you have the right team in place at all points of engagement, and by using visuals to create more meaningful and memorable experiences.
Let’s follow the trends.
In the last few years, marketing has shifted from pure customer acquisition to retention efforts with emphasis on creating better experiences between your customers and your brand – making your brand so appealing, your customers will return again and again. While getting new customers is still very important, it’s far more cost-effective to retain current customers; studies show that keeping a customer is just 5 to 20 percent of the cost of acquiring a new one.
A key part of customer retention is improving the customer experience. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 73 percent of people say that customer experience is an important factor in their recurring business with a vendor. If you don’t make people want to come back, they won’t.
From the moment the customer gets introduced to your company – through a website, a sales call, or a brick-and-mortar door – that customer experience begins. Through convenience, the helpfulness of your staff, the ease of making a payment, and long-term satisfaction with the purchase, customers are looking for a variety of different factors when they interact with your company and your product.
Additionally, we now know that developing a customer experience strategy is as critical as marketing and sales strategies. This strategy should be based on research-driven insights – both qualitative and quantitative – and should be comprehensive across all customer touchpoints.
One of the most critical of these customer touchpoints is how the customer interacts with your employees. Two-thirds of customers have said a “bad employee attitude” would lead them to avoid further business with the company. Additionally, the speed and efficiency with which your team deals with the customer can make or break a sale. Having a team of engaged, qualified members can be the difference between a repeat customer or a bad review.
Building such a team begins with recruiting the right talent and is rounded out by providing them with the tools to succeed. Make sure your employer branding and recruiting is targeting the right candidates, your employee training supports your company’s goals, and your management is empowering team members to solve problems and answer questions.
Whether your customer interactions take place across a checkout counter or over email, your employees should be friendly, professional and efficient in dealing with your customers. You can foster that by being friendly, professional and efficient with your employees from application through employment.
Consumers still want to see products, not just read or hear about them. While smart home devices like Alexa and Siri have taken interactions into the audio realm, images and video are still the most effective way for people to learn and absorb information, with 65 percent of people saying they are “visual learners.”
This is more important than ever on social media. Successful use of platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – as well as up-and-comers like TikTok – rely on catching the customer’s attention quickly and efficiently, and putting an exclamation point on the importance of the right visual. Photos, images and video, especially on these platforms, must be high quality and strategically aligned with your brand. With so much content to engage with, images that tell a story in a compelling way will always be more effective than those that are just there to look pretty.
And as technology expands, those visual interactions are becoming more sophisticated. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are rising trends in industries from manufacturing to real estate. If you watch professional sports broadcasts, you’ve noticed the increased use of 3-D imagery to get viewers (virtually) onto the field to review plays.
VR and AR can also play an increasingly important role in employee engagement, as these technologies are being used for employee training, product development and resource management. They’re not just for video games anymore; they’re becoming an integral part of optimizing business management.
Turning to 2020
In 2020, customers are being inundated with information. You’ll need to be much more strategic and memorable every step of the way to keep their attention. By tapping into these three trends, you’ll be able to get to the heart of what customers and consumers are looking for – and keep your brand top-of-mind for your target audience.