Opinion

You've got the power of the customer in your hands

Abi Owers

,

27.01.2020

How do businesses cut-through and create meaningful campaigns that get noticed, liked and shared in today's digital marketing universe?

As it is becoming increasingly difficult to truly differentiate a brand through its products or services, many companies often struggle to build meaningful engagement with their customers through their brand or performance campaigns.

For many companies it's hard to entice customers to become or stay loyal to their brands. Many businesses have begun to realise that their strong focus on performance campaigns is failing to meet long-term sales targets. Why, is it despite most companies’ best attempts, so troublesome to entice what seems to be a bunch of very fickle customers?

Talking the talk is easy, walking the walk, not so much

The answer is quite an obvious one: putting your customer at the centre of your business. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, many companies claim to run a customer-centric business. They talk the talk, but in reality, they seem to limp the walk. This is not surprising, as getting under the skin of the customer has become more challenging than ever in a digital space that is not only complex but also highly fragmented. So, let’s for a moment put the customer truly at the centre of our thinking and explore what is really happening in their world.

Competing for customer attention

Our customers’ modern lives (and yours!) are dominated by being more digitally connected than ever before. We are all are bombarded with a constant stream of information, digital advertising and social media messages. As the human brain is trying to cope with this massive information-overload, it simply starts to ignore or switch off from messages that are not relevant or meaningful.

While companies are fighting for the attention of customers in this highly crowed digital space, there is a rising trend in the opposite direction: people now actually paying to unsubscribe from advertising (about 30% globally) despite many brands’ best attempts to provide what they think are targeted messages.

'Cut-to-marketing' is dead

The reason for this is that many companies are guilty of what we like to call ‘cut-to-marketing’. This is the principle where a company presents information across as many channels as possible, expecting customers to embrace it, change their behaviour and buy a product or service. This is how traditional marketing used to work but is no longer true in the digital marketing space.

Instead customers have adapted to this by skipping, blocking and avoiding messages that lack meaning. So, how can we truly cut-through and create those much-coveted meaningful digital campaigns that get noticed, liked and shared? While at the same time creating masses of brand advocates that buy our products or services and keep coming back for more? It requires a customer-first digital marketing strategy as we already know, but how can companies put this into practice?

There is a lot of work that needs to be done between a potential customer seeing content and then taking action. Let’s see what that entails.

1. Inspire by validating existing beliefs

First of all we need to inspire, by connecting with and validating existing beliefs already present in our customer audience. A good starting point is to look at the generational tribes and discover what they are looking for in your industry. For example, Millennial's and Gen Z in particular are looking for those brands that share their social and environmental values and are highly sceptical of brands with corporate and traditional brands values.

Baby boomers are capital-rich and time-rich, take their time to compare offerings and will choose those services that support their health and well-being in some shape or form. It’s about looking for a deeper connection and common ground between your brand, products or services with your customers, and then validating these firm beliefs of your customer audience with your offering.

2. Empathise through deep-rooted issues

All too often companies start by enthusiastically communicating their product or service features without understanding what problem or issue it actually solves in the lives of their customers. Crucially, here we realise that these reasons can be more complex than just a functional need like ‘replacement’ or ‘an upgrade to a better version’.

Customers often buy from company X because their offer fulfils a deeper psychological need like giving ‘a sense of purpose’, ‘supporting positive relationships’, ‘allying fear’ or even a combination of these. Ultimately, it’s about uncovering that motivating factor, and then demonstrating how your product or service can play that meaningful role in the lives of your customers.

3. Shift behaviour by making it inevitable

It is critical for companies to clearly understand what behaviour you want your customer to change and what it would take to facilitate such a behavioural shift. This means having an in-depth understanding of what the steps are in the timeline of your customer’s unique journey. What are the critical moments your customer goes through? How do you get from awareness to purchase or trial and then advocacy?

Once companies understand these steps, they can then start mapping out what type of content to communicate and what are the most effective channels and devices to create a truly engaging experience.  This then helps their customers to make a behavioural shift that will inevitably lead to buying your product or services.

Meaningful content heroes the customer

If we look back at our challenge of becoming meaningful to the customer and make sure they stay switched on to your brand, it is often not a lack of finding motivated customers, but much more about making our brand, product or service personally relevant to them. And then it is about winning over your customers rational minds and emotional hearts step-by-step throughout their buying journey by making it very easy to buy into your product or service.

Customer-first content is about understanding the psychological decision-making process of your audience. Who is taking the decision, why is it important to them, and what do they think and feel about your product or service? Having this knowledge means businesses can create content that is meaningful and relevant. It will also identify the channels that best support their customer's buying decision.

It's time to move on from bombarding customers with irrelevant campaigns. The focus should be on investing time and effort into content that makes the customer the hero. It's time for meaningful brands, products and service campaigns. If you'd like to know more get in touch.