While Consumer or Customer Engagement (CE) has technically existed since the advent of business, it’s only recently become an established discipline unto itself. Like most new areas of business, the main reason for the increased emphasis on CE is largely due to–you guessed it–the internet.
With all the wonderful things the internet has given us, it’s also brought about decreased brand loyalty and smaller audiences for businesses. The ability to instant research a nearby competitor and compare prices means that businesses need to cater to the consumer more than ever. The purpose of Consumer Engagement’s is to allow businesses to better adapt to the demands of the modern consumer by dedicating an entire department’s worth of resources to improve their experience.
AYC Media has developed its own Consumer Engagement Department to help our clients market and refine their customer experiences in order to stay ahead of the quickly evolving demands of the modern consumer. With so many emerging channels and new ways to reach and communicate with consumers, expectations are actually starting to outpace technology.
To help guide you through this perilous landscape, we’ve listed some of the top Consumer Engagement trends to take you into 2016. These trends can help improve more than your latest marketing campaign, they can help to improve your entire business model.
SIMPLIFY THE EXPERIENCE
The modern consumer is constantly bombarded with a slew of advertising information and content throughout the day. Ensure your message and consumer experience is as simple as possible. No one will put up with your unnecessarily complicated landing page or shoddy mobile app when your competitor offers a better one. Technology is here to simplify, not obfuscate. This could be as simple as logging a customer’s information so that they don’t need to re-enter next time they access your online web chat or as complicated as retaining data from a recent search to compile an email with relevant product suggestions.
These days, consumers respond best to a conversational tone and not one-size-fits all messaging. While used car salesmen still produce cheesy commercials with obnoxious fonts and slogans that demand you “come on down,” their approach is antiquated and frankly, no longer effective (sorry, Leapin’ Larry). Know your target demographic and create messaging that speaks to their needs and treats them as an individual. A conversational tone that considers the customer is a great way to get across your businesses character and define your brand to set it apart from the competition.
KNOW YOUR MILLENNIALS
2015 was the “Year of the Millennial,” and, unfortunately, the old school methods of marketing do not really work as well with them. Make an effort to understand this demographic as best you can, for they are your future. 85% of them own smart phones and they’ll use them in your store to research competitors and find the best price. That said, 45% of millennials will go out of their way to shop at stores that offer a rewards program. Facts like these are important to know, as they present just one way you can adjust your strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
DON’T THINK MOBILE, BE MOBILE
Mobile optimization has been a hot topic for years now, but it’s time to stop looking at it as a new trend and simply assume it’s part of your marketing strategy. While peripheral smart phone technology comes and goes (Beacons, QR Codes, Snap Tags), your marketing strategy, whatever that may be, needs to consider mobile first. This means more than just having a responsive newsletters or landing page. Geolocation, for instance, allows you to deliver relevant information directly consumers’ phones when they need it the most.
BENEFITS ON DEMAND
Consumers expectations are loftier than ever these days, which means loyalty programs, location-based coupons and other incentives need to be instantly redeemable. The days of using scissors to cut and snail-mail a proof of purchase for some nominal savings or a chintzy prize are long gone. Smartphone technology and automated software systems now allow consumers to instantly redeem incentives in store. Don’t make your customer wait!
TEST AND LEARN
With so many channels and new ways to reach customers, it’d be foolish to treat them all equally. A specialized B2B business may not be suited for a massive social media advertising campaign, though its newsletter efforts may prove much more fruitful. Track conversions, open rates, redemption rates–any and all data you can–to identify the channels that best suit your industry or campaign. Then, drive resources to the ones that work the next time around.