Customers are changing: embrace it


This is not a political post, but the recent and unexpected results of the US election and ‘Brexit’ are glaring examples of how unpredictable the consumer has become in modern society. Attitudes have changed: we consume information differently, buy differently and clearly vote differently.

So when did everyone change? When did the shift happen and has the world of politics missed it? More to the point – has the world of marketing missed it too?

The answer is that consumers changed a long time ago. Both marketers and political experts have overlooked this shift by clinging onto old metrics that bear no fruit in the modern world. Whether lumping together groups of consumers or voters, a failure to appreciate the behavior of people, on an individual level, means you may not always get the response you predicted.

In the current age of the customer, the way some marketers measure their efforts can give skewed results, or tell just a fraction of the whole story. For example, you might think it makes sense to channel your energy into the 5% of customers who regularly open emails from you. But what about the other 95% that you cannot track using traditional metrics?

Customer experience experts talk of ‘measurement blindness’ – a focus on the richest source of data and overlooking the rest. In voting polls, sentiment can be measured by website responses, but not by phone. In marketing, this might mean shaping a strategy based feedback that delivers unnaturally extreme responses. Sometimes what is unsaid (or whispered) deserves more attention than the information you have been given. Either way, this limited insight can leave those that did the measuring with egg on their face.

Understanding comes from having a comprehensive and nuanced view of each customer. If your channels still exist in silos then that means fragmented touchpoints and inconsistent engagement. Your customers expect a seamless experience, whether they are using a mobile device or laptop, or switching from social to website to call centers.

Today there are infinite customer journeys that consumers undertake, at their own pace and on their own path. However, this voyage may not fit into the linear campaign mind-set that you want them to follow, and if they go 'off course' then your marketing results will be misleading. Marketers now need to have open arms and this requires a cohesive, contextual omnichannel experience – to make the journey, any journey, a pleasant experience towards the destination.

For a consumer-centric, outwards-in approach, this demands visibility: analytics that can monitor omnichannel customer journeys, collect personal, behavioral information and apply it at relevant points of contact. This can highlight that a brand not only understands a customer’s needs, but can intervene with the right action at the right moment to maintain their journey momentum and facilitate what the customer wants to achieve.

Many in the US and the UK have been caught unprepared by shifting political attitudes. Marketers, too, must cater to more empowered and tech-savvy consumers with higher expectations than ever. Either way, there are voices that need to be heard and people that need to listen. 

intervening-in-the-customer-jourvey-cover.pngTo find out more, please download the BlueVenn eBook: Intervening in the Customer Journey.

Marketers now have to focus more on the experience than the goal, simply because your customers and clients demand control of how they get from point A to point B. To do that, marketers need to understand the customer journey, as well as find new ways to intervene appropriately, at the best times.

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