5 Ways Customers of the (Near) Future Will Change Marketing
Almost every industry has experienced disruption in the past few years and while many people blame technology, being non-customer centric has actually become the biggest threat. Big brands that have shifted their marketing focus to maximize customer experience have reaped the benefits and surged ahead of competitors. For many companies, breaking through the noise has become even more of a challenge—especially in industries which refuse to adapt. Marketing is no longer a silo from departments such as HR and customer service; a successful business overlaps all of these on some level. Marketers must realize the shifts they see now are only the beginning, or else they risk getting left behind. Here’s 5 ways the customer of the future will change marketing:
1. Customer experience will trump product
Customers of the future will continue to prioritize experience and it will only further drive their purchasing decisions. According to a recent study conducted by Walker, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. We are seeing this happen now; people are willing to pay more for a better experience—think airlines, hotels, household products, services etc. For businesses, this includes everything from UX design websites, multi-channel servicing and going above and beyond for the customer. Improving your customers’ perception of you, regardless of the industry, should be your main priority as a marketer to increase sales, retention and customer satisfaction.
2. People won’t wait
Constant connectivity is the future of the Internet and humanity alike. Instant gratification amplifies the need for quick, responsive marketing strategies. People will be able to complete anything from anywhere and waiting will be a thing of the past. For example, if someone comes into your retail store and has to wait at a counter to buy a product they can easily buy with one click on Amazon, the customer of the future will choose Amazon every time. Companies that don’t grasp the necessity of a seamless experience will simply be passed by for those that do. For customers of the future, anything that is inconvenient, slow or disrupts the fluidity of their lives will be avoided.
3. Audience-based marketing will be the priority
Because every aspect of one’s day will be immersed in the digital world, marketers will need to place even more emphasis on audience-based marketing. Every digital marketing strategy and tactic will need to be optimized to ensure campaigns are being delivered to the proper customer via the best channels. Thanks to new Google and Facebook algorithms, targeting has become more fine-tuned but it will only continue to evolve. Buyer personas will be put to the test in both paid search and paid social campaigns, helping to laser-focus lead generation to increase ROI.
4. Analytics are gold for marketing
It’s no secret analytics are steadily taking over our lives. From tracking how many steps we take in a day to suggested shows we should watch on Netflix—we live in a world of constant monitoring. The role analytics play in marketing will only increase when the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) take off and weave themselves into virtually everything. Fast-paced, day-by-day monitoring and tweaking of campaigns in real-time based on consumer behavior will be the norm. Because of the availability of big data, customers of the future will demand predictive problem-solving—which is already happening in some industries.
For example, Rod Bagg VP of Analytics and Customer Support for Nimble Storage states, “90 percent of the time, Nimble Storage is informing our customers about issues rather than the other way around.” If your marketing teams aren’t paying attention to big data now, they surely won’t be able to keep up with the customer of the future.
5. Transparency will be demanded
The shift to transparency is already widely practiced in many industries and demanded by many consumers. In the future (and to a certain degree, what is already happening), people will no longer trust companies because they tell them to. Purchasing will shift from a personal decision to a collaborative decision based on diverse opinions—whether that’s from a community of social networks or Artificial Intelligence (AI). Just as testimonials and reviews are sending shock waves through many industries today, transparency will be directly linked to customer experience in a way that allows companies to own their actions and change for the better.