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As the year comes to a close and marketers begin to plan their 2019 strategies, it is time to radically shift how we think of marketing to current and potential customers. In our experience-focused world, people are no longer fulfilled by just a product; rather, they seek out an entire brand experience. They want to be fully immersed in all parts of the buying journey, and they often view brands in humanistic terms. Just as people want to be more connected to each other through technology, the urge is the same for connecting with brands.
So… your company needs to not only have a successful business model, but you also have to be everywhere and talk to people all the time? I know, it sounds exhausting and overwhelming to say the least. But before you panic, take a step back. Think about who your core customers are for a second. How old are they? Do they talk about your brand online? If so, where? Does your company gain earned media from your most loyal customers? If so, where and how?
After you do an analysis on who your highest lifetime-value users are and what their digital behavior is, it is time to reshape your digital marketing strategy. A great place to start is mapping the customer journey on a customer relationship management (CRM) database. Most CRM databases can connect with a variety of platforms, which allow you to set up complex customer experience maps. By mapping customer journeys, you have more control over the marketing budget, the communication, and the overall buying experience. Additionally, it will give you insight into where customers drop off or become more engaged, which will allow you to use the data to continue tweaking and improving the experience.
Customer Journey Example
Lead Form ad on Facebook to sign-up for e-newsletter → Email with discount for signing up for e-newsletter → reminder email about discount → push notification via app about discount → Facebook retention ad to see seasonal sale
Making sure that your brand is everywhere can definitely be difficult to manage, and while platforms are increasing their connectivity to other platforms to help ease that pain, it can still be a challenge. One really great option that has been increasing over the last couple of years is utilizing influencers in your marketing strategy. Not only do they create content and have a large reach across multiple platforms, but they also humanize products and services. They represent a certain lifestyle, know how to create visually appealing and engaging content, and often have very loyal followers. The term “influencer” is quite broad, as they tend to range in quality and amount of followers, so it is important to do your research first and possibly use an influencer agency to ensure that you’d be working with someone you trust.
Something to keep in mind when implementing this strategy is to make sure all branding and messaging is consistent across platforms. It has been proven that the best customer experiences feel like a seamless conversation between the brand and the user. This applies not only to the content that the organization creates, but to anything published by influencers as well. To protect your brand and ensure that your voice is consistent, send influencers specific brand guidelines and restrictions, including clear instructions about the type of messaging you want them to share.
As we close out 2018, keep thinking about how to be where your potential and current customers are, and use 2019 to focus on increasing your brand’s voice across platforms. Take the leap from observing the conversation to participating in it.