Consumers Are Transforming Marketing,…Again!

consumersWho would’ve ever thought I’d be saying that mobile marketing is (almost) already yesterday’s news? Can you believe how fast marketing is changing? And it’s not just subtle changes; it’s major changes.

Some of our familiar, “pushed-based” marketing (like print media, batch and blast emails) are on the decline; and what’s on the incline is omnichannel, multi-device marketing.

And guess who’s pushing us in this direction? You got it: Consumers!

Consumers are a funny breed; they’re always ahead of the pack. They’re telling us marketers they want more personalized, 1:1 communication, through the many channels and on the many devices they use. For example, consumers today are flitting back and forth among smartphones, desktops, and from laptops to tablets to TVs, meaning a staggering 90% of consumers start a task on one device and finish it on another.

So what does this mean? It’s time to follow the money that consumers are spending, and in the multiple ways they’re spending it!

Marketers need to provide a seamless experience, across all channels and devices – simultaneously! Think about how consumers can now engage with your company. It can be in a physical location, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog, or through social media. They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer – and even via smart TVs.

So how does omnichannel marketing differ from multi-channel marketing? Here’s my simplest definition.

  • Multi-channel is how you allow your customer to complete transactions in each distinct channel.
  • Omnichannel is viewing the experience through your customers’ eyes, orchestrating a 360-degree experience across all channels so it’s seamless, integrated and consistent.

Here are four recommendations for any marketer looking to implement a more omnichannel approach:

  1. Always, Always, Always Think Like Your Customers!

I like to start this process by mapping out the total experience your customers go through in order to research, purchase and connect with your products. Better yet, go through that experience yourself. Place orders, interact via all available channels, submit a technical support ticket, etc. Then see if you had a delightful experience; or if you found any annoying barriers. And I suggest you have both external and internal people go through this exercise for objectivity. It’s an eye-opener!

 

  1. Segment Your Audiences

This is a biggie. Marketing is no longer one size fits all. If you’re still marketing this way, you’re wasting thousands of dollars. Understand which data points are useful to you, and segment your audience accordingly. Using marketing automation, you can capture this information to build very rich profiles about your customers and the customer journey. Remember, it’s all about personalized, meaningful and 1:1 communication with your buyers.

  1. Develop Content that Addresses Buyer Behaviors

Content and messaging are the two keys. If a customer has previously engaged or purchased your product, you probably want to consider that in your marketing. If a customer has gone only so far in the buying process but stopped, use your content to reference that intent. Marketing needs to happen in real-time and take into account your buyer behaviors as they relate to your brand.

  1. Engage on Preferred Channels/Devices

Increasingly, people use multiple devices during a single transactional process. Make sure you’re listening and responding accordingly!  For example, an e-commerce retailer should preserve items in a cart across devices – if you add an item to your mobile shopping cart, then it should still be in your cart when you log in on your desktop computer. If they have to start all over, chances are, they’re going to abandon the sale. Who has time to start all over again? And know that this applies to B2B companies as well, not just B2C.

The takeaway here is to listen to your consumers; resistance is futile. Their behaviors – their wants, their needs and their demands – are eventually going to change the way you market to them. Why fight it? Get ahead of the consumer curve and start collecting more of their cash before your competitors figure it out!

If you need help figuring this all out – or even if you just want to vent about the fact that marketing is completely transforming…yet again – my door is open. Email me at pam.rak@ctechrocks.com.

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