We recently published a post with our predictions for marketing trends in 2016. One of the key trends gaining in momentum is the importance of the customer experience. Marketers who embrace the concept of providing truly exceptional experiences will quickly rise to the top in 2016 and beyond.
Marketers have a really good understanding at this point that today’s customers are in charge. You need them more than they need you. With more options to choose from, more sites on which to price compare, and more digital channels to shop across, today’s consumer is more demanding than ever.
According to Gartner, in just a few years, 89% of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience. And by 2020, the customer will manage 85% of its relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. This means that the customer experience will quickly overtake price and product as the key competitive differentiator among brands.
These statistics may be alarming for some. After all, the status quo for so long has been about marketing a great product or service at the right price, and you will have a constant flow of new customers. Businesses must quickly come to terms that this is no longer the case, or won’t be for much longer. Consumers demand a great experience across multiple channels, and are willing to pay more for it.
What Do Consumers See as the Ideal Customer Experience?
Research by Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that the top five areas consumers identified as leading to a positive experience included:
- 47% - Fast response to enquiries or complaints
- 46% - Simple purchasing process
- 34% - Ability to track orders in real time
- 25% - Clarity and simplicity of product information across channels
- 22% - Ability to interact with the company over multiple channels
Don’t Forget the Personal Touch
A huge component to providing a positive experience is personalization. One-to-one marketing is no longer an option, but a requirement to acquire and retain loyal customers. Personalized marketing has gained momentum over the past year, but brand leaders are taking this to a whole new level. And the rewards will equate to more emotionally connected customers who will drive word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews.
So how do you get to this level of personalized, one-to-one marketing? Data! Data can transform “John Smith, married, one child” into “John Smith, 36, golf enthusiast, frequent traveler, home-owner, boat-owner, online electronics shopper, and more.” And by knowing this – you can really target Mr. Smith with offers that have relevance and are more apt to turn a one-time transaction into a lifetime customer.
Check out these statistics from MyBuy’s 2015 Personalization Consumer Survey on how a 360-degree customer view based on really great data drives more digital purchases. Consumers purchase more from brands who:
A Seamless Multi-Channel Experience Drives Brand Loyalty
Consumers are constantly using various channels to interact with brands. They look at the whole transaction and want to move seamlessly from device to device and channel to channel. Brands need to remember that online and offline experiences should be connected. A consumer may want to research in the digital world and move to the physical world to make a final purchase. Or vice versa, a consumer may walk into a store to browse and then decide to go online to purchase the items they found in a store.
The experience they receive in one channel will directly impact their willingness to engage in another channel which means each channel must be optimized to provide the best overall experience.
Just how important is the customer journey? 86% of senior-level marketers say that it’s absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey (Salesforce). This journey needs to be consistent and make the process as painless as possible for the customer. This means being available on every device and through every channel.
Here are some additional stats on the channels consumers use when making purchases:
- 4 out of 5 local searches on mobile devices end in a purchase and 73% of these purchases are in brick-and-mortar stores (Search Engine Watch).
- 62% of customers find it extremely/very important to be able to call your business at the purchase stage (Google).
- 67% of online shoppers call a business directly for any purchase greater than $100 (OECD).
- 83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase (eConsultancy).
As you gear up for a great 2016, be sure your marketing plan includes strategies to ramp up your focus on your customers’ experiences. Your customers are demanding it and will flock to those companies that can deliver.
To learn how to create positive customer experiences driven by data, download this free guide.
As DataMentors' Director of Marketing, I have a deep understanding of today’s data-driven marketing environment, including key components such as multi-channel marketing, marketing data solutions, and technology and analytics to drive business performance. I manage and coordinate all marketing functions, including lead generation goals, event and project management, and corporate communications.
DataMentors is the industry’s leading provider of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) and Right Time Marketing. Our comprehensive data solutions combine an integrated suite of data products, marketing technologies, and analytics to deliver: The Right Person, at the Right Moment, through the Right Channel. This makes us the Right Answer for clients seeking to grow, acquire, and retain their most profitable customers with cross-channel marketing strategies. We help companies leverage the modern data ecosystem and real-time data analytics to create a customized “always on” dataset of consumers where purchase is imminent. www.datamentors.com