Being in a constant state of flux has been a reality for marketers for decades. Entering the digital age has merely quickened the pace. Fictional 1960s advertising executive Don Draper from the AMC series Mad Men, said, “People want to be told what to do so badly that they’ll listen to anyone.” Well, maybe not anyone, but it holds true that when making a purchase, prospects look for guidance not only from family and friends but a myriad of other sources.
In this era of the Engagement Economy, where everyone and everything is connected, customers have the power to equip themselves with all the information they need to make educated buying decisions. Unfortunately, a problem still exists between what marketers think they are achieving and what customers are experiencing.
The majority of marketers (though startlingly not all) see the value and importance of consumer and customer engagement. Self-reported by marketing professionals in The State of Engagement, a majority (85%) believe they provide a consistent experience across channels, 84% are more successful when stakeholder teams and strategy are aligned, and 83% deliver a consistent and personalized experience.
However, 47% of B2C consumers and 65% of B2B consumers think brands could do better in aligning with how they prefer to engage. Consumers want to have a personal relationship with brands and they expect value and advantages that are customized to their interests. They also value consistent engagement regardless of channel, calling for marketers to respond to consumer activities across channels in real time. In particular, both B2B and B2C consumers agree that it is critical for companies to integrate email, website and phone interactions.
That said, despite marketing efforts to understand and build a relationship with consumers, consumers do not feel the connection, and receiving too much irrelevant content has been cited as the top reason they choose not to engage. Consumers also feel that their experience with brands is primarily transactional in nature, void of intimate connection or engagement. So, how can marketers solve this problem?
In this blog, I’ll cover solutions to a big problem marketers face right now: misalignment between marketing’s approach to engagement and the consumer experience.
Better engagement starts with providing an omni-channel experience, personalized content, and engagement at the right moment. Having the right marketing technology stack is essential for marketers. However, the report identifies tools as the number one barrier of marketers to effective engagement, with only a 56% average overall satisfaction with the abilities of tools across all aspects of engagement. To turn this around, according to The State of Engagement, “marketers need to shift their mindset and identify tools, solutions, and platforms that coordinate data from the various touchpoints and translate those activities into actionable insights.”
Align Strategy Within Your Organization
Ensuring that structure, buy-in, and alignment are central to any engagement strategy. The report reveals that internal alignment for consumer and customer initiatives is focused on getting customer service and support (75%) and sales teams (70%) on the same page. But alignment falls short when it comes to executives (56%). Marketers also consider demonstrating ROI on technology investments as the top challenge. As a solution, The State of Engagement suggests “moving beyond single-purpose tools to technologies, solutions, or platforms that facilitate the seamless flow of data and coordinate across elements in a marketing stack.”
Explore Advanced Approaches
As consumer demands rapidly change over time, marketers also expect to use more advanced approaches in the near future. Powered by artificial intelligence, which enables most of the mentioned technologies, predictive marketing turns the customer journey into a scientific process. Predictive marketing identifies the most appropriate way to engage the customer through the right segment, messaging, and channel at scale and near real-time. For example, Mintigo’s Intelligent Customer Engagement platform discovers the ideal customer and highest likelihood to buy, turns data into clear and meaningful insights relevant to consumers, and allows marketers to create adaptive campaigns and engagements.
Moreover, with insights into the context and outcomes of customer interactions as they move across the complex customer journey—from channel to channel, product to product, or business line to business line—marketers can better align executive leadership with the entire organization around consumers. The result? A more effective and holistic engagement strategy.
Don Draper was successful because he listened to people. He analyzed what they wanted and delivered campaigns accordingly, coming up with the right message to sell products and services. Marketers today operate on the same notion, but with tech-savvy and informed consumers, they must move as quickly as the rate of change in trends and demands.
Fortunately, marketers have an incredible range of resources to support their efforts. Combining the right technology, aligned engagement strategy, and openness to new methods with an overall customer-centric approach will empower today’s marketing leaders to best position their brands for success.
What solutions have you considered for aligning your engagement strategy with customer expectations? Did you discover any new possibilities in this blog? I’d love to hear about your future plans in the comments below.