Customers have developed voracious appetites for new content. To be visually appealing and to stand out, new content has to be updated in terms of its features, packaging, presence on convenient distribution channels, and digital media friendliness. If these conditions are not favorable, the content occupies the bottom of the feed or even occupies less shelf space, and accordingly, a lower positioning in the customers’ perception. Fierce competition that leaves consumers with a plethora of choices creates a challenge for marketers who have found themselves in an endless race of creating a unique experience for customers to avoid jeopardizing their loyalty or lower their retention rate. Retaining existing customers or attracting new ones requires adopting different techniques that had not been prevalent before. These techniques in dealing with the new generational cohorts have become indispensable to sustain a company’s level of competition or market share.
Trends in Dealing with Customers
Regardless of the industry in which a certain business is established, there are some new patterns of behavior that dictate the mode of operation. These patterns are focal for sustaining or developing an edge with respect to rivals.
Hence, businesses operating in this decade have to be concerned about the following:
1. Creating connections between customers:
While the economy of the last millennium was based on building assets by industrialism, the current economy rewards value created by building relationships and creating connections. The most valuable companies will connect buyer to seller, or consumer to content. For instance, Uber is the largest “taxi” company–yet they own no vehicles but still excel at connecting riders with drivers; and Facebook is the largest media company–yet they create no content, among many other examples of leading companies.
2. Customer experience:
The unprecedented bargaining power, which customers have acquired, has driven companies to compete based on providing their customers with a unique experience. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are urged to develop bleeding edge technologies to enhance customers’ experiences. Marketers and other key managers capitalize on Big Data and other analytical tools to make decisions and formulate strategies for that purpose.
Every smart phone adopted by one of the two billion smart phone holders is an opportunity for marketers to connect with a new client and create a unique experience, foster better customer loyalty and improved long-term engagement. Leveraging on the data required to fuel the outreach and building solid relationships founded on trust come as a replacement to mass targeting.
3. Developing human to human relationships
Companies are trying to appeal to the emotional side of customers in their marketing efforts. Striving for story-driven communication that is personal, conversational, empathetic, inspirational, and humorous arouses the interest of customers in a certain brand and creates more loyalty.
Digital Trends in Dealing with Customers
Being visible on the busy shelves and overcrowded newsfeed is a challenge that businesses confront in appealing to their customers. Customers have adopted some preferences in digesting information, which requires marketers to adopt technologies that serve that purpose. Sujan Patel, contributor to entrepreneur.com, says that the following trends can be leveraged on to enhance the appeal of the product and speak the language of consumers.
1. Virtual reality:
Virtual reality has come a long way since the concepts and products released in the 1990s and since the realities of today were believed to be mere science fiction. Technology like the Oculus Rift, which was bought out by Facebook to the tune of $2 billion, had a big impact on the way companies engage individual consumers.
Companies are now exploring improved control methods, this is why Facebook introduced hand tracking interactions are more seamless than using one’s own hands. Facebook will even be investigating brain interfaces in 2020! Virtual tours, one-on-one engagement, interactive and immersive commercials, enjoying a courtside seat at a game, or consulting with a doctor face-to-face are just a few ways marketing will likely shift in the near future through the use of virtual reality.
2. A new age of search
For years, consumers have been accustomed to the search engines of Google, Yahoo!, And Bing, which dominate the search market respectively. Facebook is currently adopting continued advancements to become a major player in this market. By expanding its search functionality, Facebook is able to tie in other components, which include call-to action buttons and payment messaging. This is accompanied by the ability to join groups and social discussions all in one platform that allows brands to create real digital experiences. Automation in 2020 will be more than a matter of convenience it will be an edge. Google is expected to earn $55.51B in ad revenues this year. This highly effective tools helps with everyday campaign optimizations, reporting, and tracking. Another search trend according to ComScore, is voice search. 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
This changes the way that people search and what type of terms or phrases they use to find information. Finally, one should not forget visual search such as Google Lens released in 2017 by Google or the Microsoft visual search tool. This allows users to search the web using their camera. In fact, 62% of Millennials express the desire to search visually, more so than any other new technology.
3. Stepping away from evergreen to creating more spontaneity
Brands used to develop evergreen content, or content that can remain viral for an extended period of time. Starting 2016, we have been witnessing a growing trend in sharing content in real time, especially with the growth of Snapchat, Periscope, the moments of Instagram, and the live option of Facebook, among other tools. Hence, the trend calls for simple, brief, and timely content.
4. Location-based marketing growth
Despite having been experimenting with location-based push marketing for a few years, retailers and brands did not get the sought support from major phone manufacturers. To create an interactive experience, brands and retailers target the user directly at or near the point of engagement. Using Bluetooth technology, you can send push notifications to nearby devices, attracting the attention of your target audience to retail locations, a tradeshow, or a nearby restaurant, among other locations. “Applications go beyond retail or location-based marketing. For instance, SK Telecom and Seoul National University Bundang Hospital are using Bluetooth Smart Beacons to provide round-the-clock patient information and navigation to 6,000 daily patients,” Patel says.
In addition, using this method of mobile targeting, brands can target relevant audiences with ads based on demographics and other data points. These are consumers who are most likely to fit their ideal customer profile. The most popular location marketing is mobile geolocation marketing including Mobile Audience Targeting and Real-Time Location Targeting such as geofencing and beaconing. In a report by Factual, almost 9 in 10 marketers said location-based advertising and marketing resulted in higher sales, followed by growth in their customer base (86%) and higher customer engagement (84%).
5. New forms of payment
NFC compatibility (Near Field Communication), Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Tap-and-go are some of the payment modes which started gaining momentum and will shape the payment modes of the upcoming decades. Bank cards now feature NFC technology to make payment become contactless. the process of authorizing transactions with a signature has become virtually obsolete. Banks also removed the signature requirement from credit card transactions, making advancements in payment security technology, such as EMV, tokenization, and artificial intelligence (AI) for payment data monitoring.
Another form of payment is related to Biometric authentication where consumers use their fingerprints to unlock their smartphones, authorizing mobile banking transactions and making mobile payments. Payment processes are some seamless thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Shoppers can now select their purchases, walk out of the store and receive a receipt on an app or via email or text. In addition to this, it is important to note that payment security is still a top priority.