In a recent study by Forbes Insights and The Trade Desk, 42% of CMOs identified customer experience as one of their top three challenges, and 36% said improving customer experience is their primary mandate for 2019. Today’s marketers are faced with fragmented media consumption habits, marketing-savvy consumers, and social and political divides at every turn. So, brands have much to gain by strategically balancing their focus (and budget) between customer acquisition and customer retention. Marketing efforts historically focused on identifying and targeting new customers to draw them into the sales funnel. But shifts in today’s consumer marketplace are forcing an expanded focus that includes customer retention, often driven by managing the customer experience. It’s commonly understood that acquiring a new customer is five times more costly than keeping one, and increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits from 25% to 95%. The question becomes, how do marketers “own” the customer experience? Here are three considerations.
Rethink Your Customer Journey Map
The purchase process no longer begins with awareness and consideration alone. Today, customers’ actions are triggered by any number of touchpoints and brand perceptions, so marketing efforts should no longer end with purchase or intent. Instead, embrace customer action as the beginning of a relationship and engage in ways appropriate to their stage. Extend the customer journey map with natural post-purchase activities. Set clear goals and strategies that lead to further client interaction and eventually turn customers into brand ambassadors. For example, when a national health system wanted to increase the number of bariatric surgery patients, Hart’s campaign began with driving prospective patients to make an appointment, but it didn’t stop at the first interaction. Recognizing the emotional and lifestyle significance of a bariatric journey, the campaign maintained direct engagement, explaining the process and overcoming the fears through the time of surgery. Communications continued through recovery and lifestyle changes, eventually encouraging advocacy through success stories.
Create Connection by Anticipating Consumer Needs
When consumers are connected to your brand, they’re more loyal and recommend the brand more often, generating 306% higher lifetime value. Such connections are built through truly knowing your audience, anticipating their needs and engaging them in the future of your brand. Launching a new product? Crowdsource the product name. Hearing complaints about product features? Directly solicit customer feedback when you upgrade the product. In one case, roast sales for Certified Angus Beef® brand were declining. Research showed it wasn’t price point that was turning off consumers, as previously assumed. Rather, they were intimidated by the idea of preparing a roast. Collaborating with Hart, the brand embraced this key insight as a new engagement opportunity. The Roast Perfect app was developed to guide consumers through every step of selecting and preparing a roast. App downloads soared, hitting £3 most downloaded food app within the first six weeks, and it created endless opportunities to engage customers on a whole new, deeper level.
Integrate Marketing and Operations
Marketing can’t do it alone. In fact, 55.3% of consumers say the product is what makes them loyal to a brand. Break down the silos between marketing and operations teams through effective internal communications and collaborative planning. When the marketing team knows of operational challenges and successes, they can more effectively communicate the product’s true value proposition. And when operations teams understand consumer expectations and marketing strategy, they’re more likely to stay on-brand and deliver customer experiences that support your strategy. This integrated mentality summarizes our agency’s holistic approach to brand building and why we believe our work is better built to perform. With equal focus on our own client experience and the craftsmanship of our work, delivered at a distinctly Midwestern price point, Hart has rapidly grown to be one of Ohio’s largest independent agencies.
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