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While low prices may have been marketers’ unique selling proposition in the early 2000s, to win business now — and into the 2020s — they will need to shift focus to a new USP.

According to Walker Research’s “Customer 2020” report, customer experience will overtake price as a driving factor in consumer buying decisions by 2020. Companies offering unmatched customer experience succeed by heading down the path of intelligent marketing, which includes three key aspects:

  1. Know

  2. Engage

  3. Personalize

 

Know Your Audience

According to the “State of Marketing” report, 50% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs. This hints at the first step on the path to intelligent marketing: knowing your audience.

Have you defined key segments? What are their needs and challenges? How do they engage with your brand across channels, and how might they engage with your competitors’ brands? Do you collect suggestions, reviews, and other feedback to see if there are consistent gaps in experiences with your brand?

A large part of understanding these needs is to open the data pathways between teams in your company. Gathering and storing data separately can lead to a fragmented view of your customer, so it is important to compile your data in a central location with a common language. Sales, service, and marketing should all be on the same team.

 

Engage with Your Audience

After you get to know your customer, you can begin to engage with them throughout their journey. The first action in this step is to map out the consumer journey. Document the step-by-step process that your customer follows in their buying lifecycle. Mapping out the process for each platform ensures that you are delivering a consistent experience. The “State of Marketing” report mentions that 75% of consumers expect consistency across multiple platforms.

It is important to know that each of your segments may require a different map. So, determine where each segment’s journey begins, where they intersect, where customers need guidance, and where the journey ends — and, ideally, where it begins again.

Once you can satisfy customers at important touchpoints, you can start capitalizing on smaller moments by using what Jay Baer calls Magic Moments — tactics used to exceed expectations and gain a lifelong customer.

Within the customer journey, people stay engaged when marketers do three things:

  1. Provide relevant content.

  2. Keep customers within content.

  3. Personalize content.

 

Personalize Communications

Personalization seems like table stakes these days, yet it’s a concept many marketers haven’t mastered. As more customers demand personalized content experiences, marketers need to get on board or risk being left behind.

According to the “State of Marketing” report, customers are 52% more likely to switch brands if communications lack personalization.

Artificial intelligence is one way to help personalize content experiences at scale. Think of all the personalized content we experience on a daily basis. We receive emails with dynamic content based on our purchase history and preferences. Netflix tailors movie and TV show recommendations while we browse from our couches. We interact with online chatbots while searching for something to buy online. The list goes on and on.

To learn how artificial intelligence can help you personalize content, check out these awesome articles:

For a more in-depth look driving intelligent, personalized engagement, listen to Jay Baer and Tiffany Tooley’s webinar dated 12/12/17: How to Drive Intelligent, Personalized Consumer Engagement Using Data and AI.