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Augustine Nyemah
Augustine Nyemah 5 May 2016
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Engaging the Connected Customer

Investment in technology is undoubtedly bringing new opportunities for marketing to do things differently. Digital marketing is the top priority for technology-aware businesses and the focal point for investment over the next five years. But is marketing really ready?

It is up to marketers to step away from the day-to-day challenges and think about how they want to engage with connected customers in the future. And how to use this increased investment to differentiate the earned customer experience? And most importantly, if there is real benefit in these investments, how marketing uses this new capability will be critical – will it be incremental or is this the opportunity to turn the marketing function by 90°?

Connectivity: Transforming Relationships With Customers 

Marketers need to think about how they want to engage customers differently in the future

- Marketers make sure the technological capabilities support their vision.

- Technology appears to be leading the change to deliver a leading customer experience.

Connected customers concept involves moving from managing individual interactions to developing an ongoing dialogue with customers about the things that matter to them. Now a days, many of the leading UK media companies have recognised this and have programmes underway to ‘transform their relationship with customers.’ The connected world allows organisations not only to connect with their customers, but also to help the organisation’s customers (both business and consumer) to connect with each other.

Again, B2B organisations are starting to develop a similar model, connecting their consumer customers to the organisation’s business customers or partners, in order to put themselves at the centre of this network and increase value to all their parties. This “B2B2C” model is changing the role of the traditional B2B organisation and implementable in both media and technology sectors.

In order to progress these relationships and optimise the customer lifecycle, marketers need to understand what customers want and, most importantly, what they value. Priority needs to be given to detailed understanding and analysis of the data you hold on your customers, together with the increasing emergence of open data and initiatives such as the UK Government’s midata. The focus of marketing is changing. After all, effective relationships drive loyalty, build communities and cultivate influencers.

Engagement: The Personalised Experience

To connect with customers, marketers have to use this new customer insight to engage effectively in a personalised, relevant and highly contextual way. The ability to test and learn and adapt in very short timescales allows marketers to readily understand how to transform their relationships with customers.  The new technologies allow organisations to respond in this agile way.

Customers Expect More

Marketers need to think about how they want to engage differently in the future with their customers and make sure the capabilities support their vision. It is not enough to just do what they do today but a little better, as customers expect more. Customers are comparing your experience to their interactions with leading retailers, media and technology companies. If you can’t keep up, you risk losing customers through an irrelevant experience. Investing in technology and digital marketing is arguably the easy part and leveraging new insights and technologies to truly transform the way you engage with the connected customer is marketing’s big challenge.

Technology And Data: A Correlated Era

In the modern era of customer experience, new technology and data is not just enabling organisations to engage with customers across their owned channels, but also to extend this personalised, one-to-one relationship across earned and paid media channels. Marketers need to be driving this change and should not only think about a combined strategy that engages customers in an ongoing relationship throughout the customer lifecycle, but also about the data implications.

Finally, data privacy and data-driven approach to marketing deliver real value to both the customer and the business, in turn, demonstrated through increased levels of engagement, customer value and customer satisfaction.

Sources:

1.      Gartner’s 2014 CEO survey

2.      http://www.climate-kic.org/

3.      http://www.cmo.com/

4.      http://www.accenture.com/us-en/Pages/insight-engaging-digital-consumer-new-connected-world.aspx

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