Marketing is no longer about applying techniques within our comfort zone. It is about challenging the boundaries and applying customer insights in ways that have probably not been done before. The magic happens when you truly challenge status quo and aim to create the unheard.
As marketers, we are often busy, with too many sticky notes and long to-do lists. How many times have we really stopped to think and ponder, if we have been challenged to ever leave the comfort zone. – know as the place where we are at ease without any stress. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is being comfortable with discomfort. The more you practice being comfortable with change and hence discomfort the more adaptable you become.
In the marketing world, customer insights can put you in a real tough spot. Especially since demands are constantly changing and expectations constantly evolving. If we learn to adapt to the changes faster, the repeat process causes lesser resistance. So, while it could be easier to put off making decisions to try new things in your marketing, it’s best not to procrastinate but to start with what you have. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, taking the first step is nearly half way there.
Don’t ask for permission, beg for forgiveness –Grace Hopper
If you play it safe all the time, you may never try anything truly innovative. Marketing is fast, constantly changing and evolving. Marketers today do not have the opportunity to wait for permissions to be granted or the draft to be perfect. By the time it is ready, the audience would have moved on. If it feels right, without major risks involved, do it. So many emerging marketers are too hard on themselves to be perfect before launching themselves. Sometimes so hard that they barely see the light of day.
Have a direction, not a plan
We marketers, often make a plan, typically at the beginning of the year. Plans have a habit of not working out. At the same time trends and tactics change so rapidly in marketing, that 6 months into the year it feels like the annual plan is beginning to get outdated. The key is to think strategically. Have a goal, have a direction to reach that goal. It is important to think long term, but keep re-visiting the action plan to get there. Taking baby steps while adapting to the constant change around you, will surely and steadily get you where you want to be.
Customer powered marketing
Today, marketing is tough. Our customers don’t trust us. They prefer to choose who, when and how much data to give. This lack of trust makes it even more important to include advocate marketing at every step. It is the customer advocates that will facilitate in converting prospects into customers. Only a strong and engaged customer community will drive customer acquisition, development and retention.
Customer insights are important, but how to get them?
Customer insight is all about finding that little difference in the data that truly differentiates your customers, making them more human than an cell in your excel sheet.
Collect data points, throughout your customer journey. Not just the entire customer journey but across the immediate influencers of this target audience. i.e. competitors, customers, markets, channel partners, employees. Collect and analyze data across their interactions, transactions, opinions they share and behavior patterns they exhibit. Slow down and invest time in measuring what you have got at hand before going away and trying something new without much thought. It could only end up as a waste of time and budget – and you certainly don’t want that! Collect not just any data, but that which is relevant. With AI being used more in marketing it impacts prediction, automation and innovation. Don’t be a dinosaur, instead learn, adopt and experiment.
Importance of storytelling
Building trust, immersive, innovative and engaging experiences are known to help businesses succeed. Companies that are growing fast today are those that truly understand their customers and deliver customer delight. But where do you begin? A good story has three parts, beginning, middle and end. The beginnings explains the situation, the middle explains the problem statement and consequences of inactions. The end is how to overcome it and the benefits received from doing so. Ultimately resulting in a better future! Build a connect, make it fun and take them along the way.
Using insights to create and apply customer personas
This is my favorite bit! Information that is far more insightful than just a job title, demographics, and industry, is vital to understand your customers’ needs and wants to segment them into groups and target them with a personalized content messaging. Better segmentation enables account based marketing which creates better alignment between sales and marketing. Better alignment means less wastage, better use of resources and higher return on investment. The more you understand your customers the higher your acquisition and retention rate will be.
Marketing is evolving rapidly and there has been no better time than now to be part of it. With customers being more and more tech savvy and conscious they are extremely cautious to part with any of their information. The only way forward is to be authentic, ethical, human and relevant. So don’t just sit back, jump right in and ride the wave.
This blurb is based on insights attained from this phenomenal book Remarkable Marketing by Christine Bailey, Publisher Kogan Page 2021.