For marketing teams today, the challenge of keeping pace with customers’ changing expectations is a considerable one, especially when it comes to brand interactions. According to the 7th Edition of the State of Marketing Report, 80% of customers agree the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. While conversely, 72% of marketers say meeting customer expectations is more difficult than a year ago.
This can be frustrating for both you and your customers and it’s making the role of marketers more and more complex. To build a successful relationship, you now need to know exactly where your customers are in their journey and understand what they expect from each and every step.
In this article, we’ll examine how high-performance marketers are raising their game to lead in this space by looking at the key signals of change from the future.
Data empowers marketers to deliver the trusted, personalised engagement customers expect, but managing it is only becoming more complex. Marketers expect a 40% increase in the number of data sources they use between 2021 and 2022.
Recent research has shown that 84% of customers say that they want to be treated like a person instead of a number when a brand is trying to win their business, and to do this, 84% of marketers say they adapt marketing strategy and tactics based on customer interactions.
But while all marketing teams would love to do this, the problem often lies in trying to integrate the latest tech with legacy systems which can lead to cumbersome tech stacks that may be all too familiar.
However, most companies are still planning how to integrate with intention. And solutions are available which can help you bring everything together without compromising your existing infrastructure.
(Sources: “State of the Connected Customer” & “State of Marketing, 7th Edition”, Salesforce Research)
Part of bringing everything together is the acceptance that your customers are constantly changing which means that your data needs to change with it. It needs to evolve as your customer does to get the most complete picture of them as possible.
However most brands work with static data and struggle to pull it together into this single source of truth – and we don’t just mean in marketing but across all touchpoints.
According to the 7th edition of the State of Marketing Report, only 33% of marketers are completely satisfied with their ability to create more relevant experiences with customer data.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought about a shift from going online to living online. And it means that more and more people are relying on technology to inform their self-image, self-esteem, and self-concept. But often people have different aspects of their identities in different places - like social media handles, email addresses, or in their purchase orders. So the challenge is to bring all their siloed data together into one multifaceted customer identity.
We anticipate both an acceleration of tech-enabled identity and increasing scrutiny of its prevalence. Even something as simple as an algorithmic product recommendation can help you show you understand your customers’ online preferences. Bonus point if you can deliver this in real-time.
With so much misinformation coming our way, it’s important that your customers can trust and understand what you’re offering. Data can be easily misinterpreted or manipulated in the wrong way, just like some of the data from the Covid-19 pandemic has. So it’s essential that you address bias everywhere - whether it’s within your own data set or making things clear for those who interpret it. Companies who are doing this well will maintain trust with customers and help them develop a more valuable journey.
And this trust will be further established by demonstrating you know all about your customers’ privacy concerns. Even customers with little online knowledge have a rudimentary understanding of GDPR or how easily their personal data can be used in malicious or unauthorised ways.
However one of the positive results of the pandemic has been a changing perspective of the use of data for the public good. They can now better balance the benefits of data with its pitfalls and this gives brands like yours an opportunity to develop campaigns that show you’ll use it in ways that benefit your customers.
The pandemic is also providing opportunities to trial new brands and change the way you connect with your customers. For example, 52% of consumers now visit the website of their favourite brand instead of their retail partner. So knowing more about your customers can help you build a more direct relationship instead of solely relying on a retail partner to understand them for you. This can also open up new opportunities for targeting loyal customers - they love your brand so why not persuade them to trial new products or become an organic Insta ambassador for you?
It’s by knowing what makes your customers tick that you can become an empathetic and relevant marketer who offers brilliant, personalised customer experiences.
And this is where high-performing marketers currently operate from, by developing one source of truth and leveraging their customer’s data. They know the insights generated which can help them better understand and target their customers.
Take a Look at what the Future of Marketing Looks Like with this 5-minute video recap, and for more marketing videos catch up on all the innovations from Dreamforce on Salesforce+