|Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
Given the need for speed and agility, a critical priority for marketers is to reevaluate your current marketing strategies to determine if they are achieving two key objectives; competitively differentiating your brand and engaging customers across the multichannel mix.
Here are 7 game changing marketing trends you need to consider as you reevaluate your strategies. As you read these trends you’ll see that they address these key customer needs and expectations:
- Empowering the buyer to become an active participant in their experience
- Increasing relevance
- Increasing differentiation and engagement
- Solving problems and needs.
#1 Extreme Creativity
Extreme creativity is now required to help you achieve competitive differentiation in an increasingly cluttered and distracted market.
To target business decision makers and reinforce their message of big technology and big data to increase efficiency, GE used extreme creativity in the form of popular Sci-Fi movies in their “Brilliant machines” campaign. The TV spots use creative approaches to show how GE can solve major problems. GE also launched an innovative social campaign which generated 200,000 social engagements across #GEInstaWalk posts, 3.5 million unique viewers and over 3,000 new followers to the GE account.
#2 New Technology
There is a constant stream of new technology to enhance user experiences at every touch point. What’s key is to understand how your specific customers want to use technology to improve their experience with your brand.
HDFC Bank, winners of the Gartner CRM Excellence award, used technology to unify sales, service, and relationship management processes for a concerted CRM experience across all channels and devices, including branch, internet and mobile banking. This integrated, technology-based solution covered more than 40,000 users and its entire 3400+ branch network. The bottom line is that this new use of technology resulted in many improvements including reducing customer complaints by 30%.
#3 True Personalization
According to the 6th Annual Personalization Consumer Survey “consumers expect and desire personalization throughout their online shopping experience. And, 83% see value in being recognized with personalized experiences across channels.”
LE TOTE, an online shopping platform that launched in 2013 breaks new ground in the online fashion shopping experience through true personalization. The company’s personalization algorithm presents merchandise to each customer based on their supplied personalization elements such as measurements, age, location, as well as the items placed into their online “dream closet.” It has achieved rapid success because it provides a uniquely personalized online shopping experience.
#4 Leveraging the Power of Community
The power of community has taken consumer participation to a whole new level by empowering traditionally passive buyers and turning them into active brand contributors.
A powerful example is Quirky, which provides potential inventors with an online “store” to bring merchandise “made by real people” to audiences of “real people.” The concept of empowering the community to vote on which new product ideas have potential and should go into manufacturing, resonates. This community wants to participate in every facet of the process; from idea to development, marketing and ultimately buying these products. This very active community of over 200,000 people is able to vote, rate, and comment on potential new products.
Other notable community marketing campaigns are Lays, “Do us a Flavor”, Crocs social media contest (to vote on new products) and Sharknado2 ‘s fund raising efforts. All of these work because they actively engage fans by allowing them to become participants in the experience. Additionally, it gives brands relevant consumer insights about market preferences.
#5 Embracing the real customer journey
The path to purchase of your buyer is one that every business needs to understand in order to offer necessary education and a seamless experience. Understanding the path to purchase lets you make it simple and easy for people to do business with you.
Online travel site, TripIt believes that the customer journey is not a series of events, but a continuous experience. “It’s about the journey we’re on with the customer,” director of marketing Elisa Haidt. The company gives customers a way to make real-world journeys easier by organizing a trip into a master itinerary. A recent promotion for customers with one-year anniversaries offered a trial version of the premium version which resulted in a 900 percent increase in adoption because it integrated the buying journey into the fully-rounded customer experience.
#6 Multiscreen communication
Whether BtoB or BtoC, customers are accessing content on a multiple screens. According to new data from Usablenet; mobile traffic to BtoB sites will soon outpace B2C traffic and 52% of business people reported that they are using mobile devices to research products for their businesses.
Microsoft Advertising’s Cross-Screen Engagement study found that 68% of consumers engage in “content grazing,” multi-tasking using several devices at once. This leaves marketers with the challenge of rethinking how they present marketing messages so they deliver a good user experience no matter how the customer is digesting online content.
At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity the company showcased a campaign by Lexus using Microsoft solutions for a multi-screen consumer experience.
#7 Location based marketing
Though this trend is still somewhat controversial, there is no doubt that location-based marketing is here to stay. The ability to use location to target consumers with messages based on not just who they are, but where they are, opens up tremendous opportunities for marketers.
An innovative example is Livedeal.com a geo-based deal engine that connects merchants and consumers via a mobile marketing platform. The service lets 8,000 restaurants publish over 10,000 deals “real-time” and “instant offers” to nearby consumers, who download the app to use the service. The company recently ran its first media awareness campaign which increased traffic by nearly 250 percent, showing that consumers are warming up to the benefits of sharing their location info in exchange for a discount at a nearby business.
Additionally, many online location-based price comparison services, have embraced the popular consumer trends of location-based mobile shopping as well as the phenomenon of “showrooming” (checking prices on a mobile device while in a brick and mortar location.) RedLaser, lets shoppers access current deals at local stores or scan the product’s barcode, to discover if a better price is close by. This works because rather than being targeted, customers are offering up their location to seek out helpful information.
We live in exciting times. Innovation is marketing’s best friend. We hope you’ll think about how these 7 marketing trends can transform the quality, relevance and ROI of your marketing.