Individuals, businesses, and society have all undergone a transformation during the pandemic. And while changes are still underway, one thing is for sure – we are never going back to the old ways of doing things. From a business standpoint, the shift in consumer behaviour and expectations has moved the needle on customer engagement and experience.

As brand ambassadors, marketers are finding themselves under pressure to remodel their techniques and keep customers delighted throughout their journey – to take them from awareness to advocacy. The good news: there are some pivotal techniques that promise marketers transformational results, if applied the right way.

Marketing as a data-backed science

Marketers are rethinking conventional marketing as they work in the new normal. Marketing leaders can no longer limit their skills to communication and creativity. The new-age marketer is also data-savvy, prioritises innovation, and uses the latest tools and technologies to build customer value and increase brand revenue.
In addition to traditional metrics such as revenue growth and sales effectiveness, marketers will now also be focusing on the more customer-centric KPIs such as Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and referral rates. And to do this, new data sources, such as transactional data and known digital identities, will be harnessed. 

By adding analytics to the marketing stack, marketing leaders can build comprehensive customer profiles, monetise customer interactions, and enable highly personalised messaging. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be another marketing heavyweight when it comes to putting customer data to work. According to our Sixth Edition State of Marketing survey, in India, marketer's top three AI use cases would include:

  1. Programmatic advertising and media buying
  2. Bridging online and offline experiences
  3. Improved customer segmentation

Cross-functional collaboration

Marketing is increasingly becoming a team effort. Two factors are responsible for this:

1. To double down on the business value

As businesses move into the recovery and adaptation phase, marketers have a significantly strong role to play in business growth. Marketers will collaborate closely with colleagues across functions to align marketing goals with overall business objectives. Metrics such as customer acquisition cost, lead generation, and customer satisfaction will inform marketing strategies.

2. To build cohesive and relevant customer experiences

92% of Indian customers expect connected experiences, right from the time they discover a brand, to posting a product review, to reordering and beyond. To send relevant communication a customer’s way across all touchpoints, marketers must have their finger on the pulse of every interaction a customer has had with the brand – via sales, service, and commerce channels. For instance, marketers can factor in a customer’s unresolved service ticket when sending them any future communication, or they can team up with their sales counterparts to run successful Account-Based Marketing (ABM) programmes. 

Continued expansion (and coordination) across digital channels

We are in an omni-channel, omni-device era where customers would not do business with a company that does not engage with them on their preferred communication channel. Marketers can overcome this challenge by extending their strategy to all key digital touchpoints – websites, social media, mobile apps, customer communities, search engine marketing, etc. But expansion across digital channels alone is not enough. Customers expect a seamless transition from one channel to another, where their experience in each channel reflects knowledge of their past interactions and individual preferences. This requires a coordinated marketing communication strategy built using tools that connect customer’s online and offline moments. Also needed is a single source of truth that integrates customer data scattered across platforms - such as social, search, display, video, emails, web and more – for marketers to gain in-depth insights on each customer.

As businesses recover from the pandemic, marketers will address the changing times with a renewed focus on customer experience, evolving skills and techniques, and adoption of technology. Winning customer trust will be crucial for the success of any and all marketing campaigns. And marketers will be able to do this through empathy for a customer’s need, purpose-driven messaging, and contextualised product and content recommendations.