How can marketers adapt and individualize the customer journey based on a deep understanding of consumers’ habits and behaviors? And how will using these journeys in omnichannel campaigns deliver value, demonstrate empathy, and build trust with customers?
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We recently held an interactive panel discussion bringing together experts to talk about growing your company while building empathy for the customer. The session was facilitated by Aaron Goldberg, contributing editor for IDG, and featured own Daniele Di Nunzio, Director-Sales, Americas, alongside Vivek Girotra, VP of Growth Marketing at Times Internet, and Larry Geller, Digital Customer Experience Segment Lead at Amazon Web Services.
Below, we present the highlights of the discussion along with some insightful takeaways. Or you can rewatch the webinar recording here.
Empathy: Earn the Trust of Customers By Being Human
Empathy — that capacity to understand what someone else is going through — is a much needed element in successful marketing today. With consumers still reeling from the effects of a global pandemic, it’s now more necessary than ever if you want to earn customer trust, and build a relationship that is long term.
But empathy is not just about connecting on an emotional level with your customers. It isn’t just about strategies to use so your app users keep on engaging with your content. Rather, it is all about giving them experiences that they want — experiences tailored to their needs and their preferences.
In the end, it’s a mindset that is valuable for your brand’s longevity because it places the focus on the needs of your target audience.
Don’t Be Intrusive or Irrelevant
The first roadblock that marketers face though is customer annoyance. Many consumers are constantly annoyed at intrusive or irrelevant digital marketing tactics. How does a brand deal with that?
- Be respectful of consumer preferences. This is easier said than done, because all marketers have retention metrics to hit. It’s always tempting, as a product owner, to bombard our users with communications to hit those target retention metrics. But we need to understand what the customer wants.
Vivek Girotra shares that he encountered a recent app that would continuously send emails, and to top it off, the unsubscribe button wouldn’t work! It may have worked to increase engagement in the short term, but it created a bad impression of the brand in the customer’s mind. And users end up leaving a negative review in the App Store, warding potential users away because of it. And that’s just one way a brand can fail to respect their customers’ needs.
- Have the right software in place to monitor and measure how consumers are responding to different features that you implement in your product and tactics that you use to market it.
With the right tools, you can see if customers are hitting the unsubscribe buttons on your emails, or are opting out of your push notifications right after you send them. This early warning system can help ensure that marketing keeps from crossing the line when it comes to tactics.
- In addition, you can ensure you’re not sending an annoying campaign by filtering every tactic through these three questions:
- WHAT do we need in order to provide a relevant experience that does not annoy customers?
- WHY do we need that?
- How do we ASK them nicely?
BONUS TIP: Don’t forget that sometimes just sending a quick survey will help you understand better what a consumer wants and needs from your company.
Context and Relevance are the Future of Customer Engagement
How does understanding the customer’s context help improve the overall customer experience? And why is context so important to providing marketing that is relevant?
The best way to approach this is from first principles. Before launching a marketing campaign, let your team answer these questions:
- Is this relevant to the customer?
- What is the best way to communicate this message?
- What is the best time to talk about this?
Depending on your product, your customer profile, or your users’ behavior, the answers will be drastically different.
Context Leads to Engagement
Girotra shares: “When I was in Machine Zone, an agency where I used to handle the agency duties for DoorDash, we connected with Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) and combined the data with DoorDash’s internal user behavior. So keeping a user’s food preferences and their order behavior in mind, we could show the user ads or retargeting campaigns that fit their preferences.” Thus, meat eaters who typically ordered takeout in the evenings would receive food options featuring the latest meat dishes from local restaurants at 6:00 PM. Instant relevance for the users. And because it’s personalized, it resulted in greater engagement.
But… Orchestrate Things Correctly
This leads to the next layer of context. That of orchestration — sending customers the right offer at the right time and on the right channel. Tailoring offers to the mobile experience at the right moment for the user will always be more effective than a generic blast at an hour that’s convenient for the marketer. You have to move away from a one-size-fits-all, larger segmentation technique to more micro segmentations. Slice your audience down to logical groupings so that your communications are more personalized.
All of this comes together into a relevant and contextual message that a customer can appreciate. With the end result being more trust given to your brand.
With So Much Noise, Omnichannel is the Way
One look at our own habits throughout the day is enough to tell you this is true for your app users as well: we’re all constantly context switching. Ordering food, checking our stock portfolio, researching a TV show that our friend recommended, before going back to a Slack channel to follow up on something for work. Brands have to compete with this information overload every day.
“It’s very, very hard for us to reach the people at the right time and stand out,” says Girotra.”That is one reason why an omnichannel strategy is really important.”
You must give them the ability to switch between channels and devices at whim and still access your brand in a consistent manner. Or else you flush opportunities down the drain.
For omnichannel to work, you have to figure out what touchpoints are available to you. A pure app product will obviously have slightly less touchpoints, as opposed to if your product is cross-platform, giving you multiple options for you to talk to your customer.
If you’re able to tie it all together in a holistic customer experience, you’ll delight customers and give them the desire to keep coming back.
Larry Geller explains: “During the early days of COVID, brands were giving customers a tone-sensitive way for them to interact online, do their shopping online, and then go and pick up in store. And one of the things I found really compelling about this is that customers are happy to give out their location data if it is tied to that holistic omnichannel experience so that when they drive up to the store, the store knows they’re coming in and their order is ready.”
Solve for Customer Empathy, Solve for Growth
In the end,customer empathy is about understanding customers and using tools to get into their minds and comprehend what makes them buy, or click through, or uninstall. If you have the right tools in place, you’ve got a system that will allow your brand to scale.