Why customer engagement is the new marketing

chipespinoza
Author, Academic Director
Concordia University
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The contemporary marketing game is changing along with the multitude of emerging technologies. The bottom line is that customers are getting used to receiving instant gratification and customizable solutions, so to stay in the game, companies must provide services that has the customer at the forefront.

Customers are no longer vague entities somewhere down the supply chain, but are at the ready to review your product, comment on your ads and effectively promote or disparage your product. Thus, the people that traditionally would have been on the receiving end of advertising are now actually at the forefront of the marketing campaign. Successfully exploiting this emerging paradigm comes down to an effective customer engagement strategy.

Nurturing existing customers as brand advocates can be considerably influential with prospective customers. It makes sense to align the business focus towards customer engagement to tap the revenue generation potential. There are various strategies to achieve this and here are some of them.

Customers have the potential to drive revenue

Liz Pedro, director of customer advocacy at Five9, advocates that being customer led is more important than being marketing or sales led. In addition, stating that customers are not only necessary for maintaining current revenue, but hold the potential to create future returns.

How customers help retain existing revenue is apparent. Satisfied customers will keep coming back. But to create an environment that allows customer advocacy takes this marketing strategy to the next level. Prospective customers are more likely to consider advice or reviews from a fellow customer than from issued marketing material.  The current exemplar is that the power is shifting from the seller to buyer, and to remain competitive, companies need to provide an excellent customer experience. Customers have the command to take their business elsewhere and communicate vastly about their experience. Many spend months travelling in the far east, where they can get a Vietnam visa on arrival, and stay for a long time. Potentially, they can influence the market around the globe. On the other hand, content customers are also more than happy to wax lyrical, thus marketers need to cultivate this form of advocacy and drive revenue through non-formal channels.

Optimizing the customer experience by mobilizing all departments

It’s clear that the customer experience is vital to a sustainable business. But whose responsibility is it? The reality is that it is a multi-disciplinary task that utilizes the talents from sales, marketing and customer relations. Consistency of strategy and objectives across all departments is necessary to provide adequate customer engagement.

Sales teams are mostly motivated and incentivised by new client acquisitions but in the evolving landscape, it is essential that they play a role in post-sales service and advocate empowerment. Continued involvement of salespeople throughout the process also delivers a smooth experience wherein the customer, and consequently the business, benefits.

Changing the way sales personnel are remunerated can help maintain their involvement. Instead of just sales commission, perhaps recompense for customer advocacy can be issued. To promote further encouragement, it is important to share customer feedback, success stories and reviews on various platforms.

Customer engagement means actually engaging with customers

Living in today’s digital world means often customers don’t ever come face to face with personnel. The advent of marketing automation and online purchasing has taken the emotion out of the mix. It is thus important to prevent technology from eliminating the human aspect of your customer relations entirely. This can be achieved by personalizing messages and leveraging personal customer data to create familiarity and a feeling of community. Moreover, actual people need to involve themselves in each account to provide a human interface with the customer and taking into account individual needs.

How to get customers advocating on all fronts  

Smaller businesses particularly risk burning out their sources of customer advocates by utilizing the same pool over and over again. Thus it is essential to scale customer engagement effectively to nurture a wider net of advocacy. There are software solutions to help companies scale campaigns and measure targets and objectives that are conducive to furthering the marketing strategy. This provides a convenient and opportune way for customers to engage and prompts engagement at various levels of the supply chain.

Keeping customers happy is the bottom line for most organizations but keeping them happy, and happy enough to actively promote the services or product is the crux of the matter. By engaging customers, upscaling those engagements and measuring successes will help align the marketing strategy on all fronts and result in an effective customer engagement approach that will ultimately drive revenue in the right direction.

About chipespinoza

About chipespinoza

Recognized globally as a leading authority on the subject of generational diversity in the workplace, Chip Espinoza is trusted by Fortune 100 to family owned businesses to help them create environments in which all generations thrive.

He was recently named a top 15 global thought leader on the future of work by the Economic Times. Chip co-authored Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce, [email protected]: The 7 Skills Every Twenty-Something Needs To Achieve Greatness At Work, and Millennials Who Manage: How To Overcome Workplace Perceptions and Become A Great Leader.

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