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How to stand out from the crowd in the Digital Economy

Doug Gross, CEO at NGDATA discusses how to reach customers in a digital age

The digital economy offers more opportunity than ever before to reach potential customers. The downside of this is that it creates a highly saturated market and leaves brands questioning how they can possibly stand out from the crowd? How they can set up their brand to compete? And most importantly, how brands can guarantee that they’re delivering on customer experience?

Customer First

Companies like Amazon and Netflix put the customer first by using their data wisely for the best possible customer experience. From “things you might like” to “other customers also bought…”, their recommendation engines and ease of use have made them customer service favourites. Both companies are constantly evolving their offering based on what their customer wants, and more importantly, providing things the customer wants before the customer even knows they want it! And they’ve been able to implement all of this by putting in place top-notch analytics.

Recent research from NGDATA identified marketers’ top tips for developing a robust customer engagement strategy. The responses, overwhelmingly spoke to the importance of knowing your audience, recognising your customer and understand the buying process in order to curate a winning strategy.

Know your audience

The first step to success is identifying the brand audience. There are hundreds of readily available tools but some offer more valuable insights than others, including:

• Social Media: What are customers posting? How do they interact with brands? Facebook insights prove invaluable here.
• Conversation: The best and most useful insights come from talking to customers directly. Every customer enquiry is a source of valuable information, reaching out to customers is a worthwhile exercise that shouldn’t be underestimated.
• Buying Drivers: Investigate customer buying behaviours. What they buy, when and perhaps why? Distinguish between seasonal items, impulse buys and everyday essentials to identify brand strengths.
• Surveys: If speaking to customers directly is not viable, the next best option is mass surveys.
• All of the above: In other words, data should be varied, come from multiple sources and should never stop being collected!

Recognise your customer

Personal interactions are obviously a great way to get to know customers and know them well. Using an innovative customer data platform to listen to customers, gathering data from all customer interactions, and learning from their behaviour helps to create a full picture of the customer. Once this data has been collected, brands can target their customer’s unique interests to best meet their demands. In fact, research from Segment has found that:

• 49% of customers have purchased a product that they didn’t even know existed, but now love, based on personalised recommendations
• 40% of consumers have opted to purchase more relevant products that exceeded their existing budget expectations because of personalised recommendations
• Personalisation leads to fewer returns and happier impulse buyers
• 44% of consumers plan to be a repeat customer because of a personalised shopping experience

Understand the buying process

Another key tip from marketers: use date-driven insights to identify what you want your customers to experience. After all, brands get to decide how customers interact with their products, so it makes sense to cultivate every step of the process. One way to do so is by creating a customer journey map. Essentially, visually laying out the purchase process from the perspective of the buyer. This can be current state, future state or day in the life. Mapping helps to uncover the questions, comments and worries the customer has. With those insights, it typically leads to an improved buying process with higher customer satisfaction, lower customer turnover and better advocacy from current customers.

Brands need to be able to fully understand their customers to provide them with the content and offers they want, no matter what time, channel or where they are in the journey. With a full consumer engagement strategy brands can ensure they are equipped to stand far out from the crowd.

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