Four ways your business is affected by the changing tides in marketing
Did you hear? According to Forrester Research’s Customer Experience Predictions Report, 2012 is “the year of the customer.”
Any successful business owner might argue that every year is the year of the customer; listening to customers’ needs and adapting to meet those needs, providing stellar service and products – those are the foundations of business success.
But “The Year of the Customer” goes way beyond customer service. It means that the customer is in control.
- Physical borders have been eliminated, so customers can make virtual purchases from companies anywhere around the world.
- Customers are more informed thanks to an abundance of online information, and they are more socially connected than ever before. They pose questions to their online friends about products and services and get unfiltered opinions almost instantly.
- They have access to business reviews, literally, at their fingertips.
- They can compare prices and features using their tablets while smartphone apps show them nearby businesses and deals.
The rapid growth of technology adoption is blinding. Just check out these staggering statistics. It’s not slowing down, either, which means that the power will continue to shift with the customer. Maybe as a consumer yourself you’ve felt this shift? Think about how often you use technology to discover, share, learn and communicate.
But, what does this mean to us as business owners?
- Customers have more choices than ever before. Be where they are.
Do you know how to reach your customers in their homes? On the phone? Online? Identify the marketing channels most likely to reach your target customers and capture their attention when it matters.
- Customers are bombarded with information. Consistency is more important than ever.
We discussed in our blog post “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” how customers are bombarded with 30,000 unique marketing messages every single day, and the importance of effective frequency. To stay top of mind with your customers, you have to stay in front of them. Choose the right marketing channel and stick with it. Advertising, in any form, is a program where repetition matters, and even more so now than ever.
- Customers have a louder voice than ever before. Listen and adapt.
As sharing personal experiences online becomes the norm, the importance of having a reputation for treating customers well and providing high quality products and services skyrockets. We’ve stated before that the best gift you can give your customers is to listen to them. Use every opportunity to learn from your customers about what you can do to keep them coming back.
- The “customer experience” matters more now than ever.
Reflect on what “customer experience” means for your company: it is customer service, but it reaches beyond that into every corner of your business, from high quality products to store cleanliness, to monitoring online conversations and interacting on social media with both happy and displeased customers.
Bottom line: Today, consumers buy what they want from who they want, how they like it, when they need it, and know where to find it. Their options are ever changing and always increasing. The time has come to be just as flexible and meet them where they are.
Do you agree? Is this “The Year of the Customer?” What will you do to make this “Year of the Customer” more stellar than last year?