Get Ahead of Customer Engagement for the back half of 2023
Customer engagement can be tricky to master, wherever it sits in your growth strategy. Trends change constantly, the channels seem to keep growing, and the speed of technology advancements makes it so that by the time most brands have a handle on what’s working there’s something new gaining traction.
Yet customer engagement and experience is still critical. We all know that it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain one, so the question becomes: How do I engage with my customers in a meaningful way without getting lost in the digital noise of the coming year?
At GoVi, we live and breathe for the Brand/Customer relationship and we’ve recognized a handful of notable trends that we've seen with our current clients across the globe. The top Customer Engagement factors that are truly moving the needle for brand in 2023 are:
1) Multi Channel Touch Points - Your customers are all over the place digitally. When brands only focus on customer engagement during the buying process, they lose trust because their buyers start feeling like dollar signs instead of people. A truly successful customer engagement strategy takes the entire customer journey into account, allowing the brand to stay top of mind even when there’s no purchase action on the table. This requires transparent communication where your customers are.
“Transparency is becoming a key differentiator for companies looking to stand out from their competition. With a wealth of information at their disposal, customers can make more informed choices between vendors, and they tend to choose the company that is most transparent upfront about the sale and post-sale relationships.”
Jack Vawdrey, Head of Content Marketing, Vista Point Advisors
a) Customers have options - Remember that it is easier than ever for customers to find an alternative to what you offer. In fact, a majority of shoppers do research before they purchase anything and at the touch of a screen they can search dozens of options on dozens of platforms. Our clients find the most success when they’re seen across the internet rather than focusing on a single platform with a single ad type.
b) Stand out from the noise - Beyond simple brand awareness, customers need to be provided with the opportunity to learn about and engage with your brand in the way you want them to.
i) People are 16x more likely to pay attention to posts from friends as compared to content from a brand. Which means that, not only do you need to be all over the internet, you need to guide the conversation as much as possible.
ii) Relevant information - Not all customers are created equal. Not all platforms are created equal. A crucial part of your engagement strategy should involve identifying what information is relevant to what kind of customer on any given platform. This means having multiple forms of content for various stages of the customer journey, from awareness to long term loyalty.
c) Social media - The average person has close to 10 social media accounts and they spend, on average, 2.4 hours per day on various platforms. They’re already talking about everything under the sun and they're eager to talk about even more, including your brand. Make sure you’re part of that conversation in the way you want to be included.
2) Data - 76% of consumers say that it's okay for brands they like and trust to use their personal information to deliver more relevant content and personalized offers. However, 2023 brings with it new GDPR rules as well as the California Privacy Act which is an incredible leap forward in consumer protections, but it also makes the jobs of marketers and customer success teams more difficult if there’s no strategy to engage with your customers to proactively gain their permissions and their data.
Fortunately, there is good news. 99% of consumers are actually willing to provide personal data and feedback in exchange for rewards. By utilizing real world information from target buyers, brands can not only tailor their messaging and products to what their customers actually want, they can deepen the emotional connection with their customers, current and future, thereby increasing spend by as much as 2.5x
3) Mobile first - By the end of 2023 there will be over 16 billion mobile devices in use, an instance number given that there’s only 8 billion people on the planet - this means customers are not only looking to be able to purchase directly from their phones, they also prefer to engage via mobile interfaces as well. This, in turn, means your communication strategy has to be easy to consume on the go. Your rewards and loyalty programs have to be mobile friendly, both to engage with and to earn from. The easier you make it for your customer to engage, the more they will do so. Meet them where they are, and where they are is on their phones. This presents an incredible opportunity for brands to no longer be constrained by physical location. Even if your primary business is brick and mortar, you can still engage with your customers from anywhere on the planet.
4) The Actual Customer Experience - So far we’ve talked about strategy and tactics, but let's speak for a moment about what the customer actually goes through when they interact with your brand, even if that interaction is simply noting content that comes across their feeds.
a) Pulling not pushing - Customers now ignore most ads when they’re not actively searching for a specific product or solution. They know when a brand is simply trying to push a product on them and not only will they ignore the product, but they’ll begin to ignore the brand. The solution is to ensure a vibrant content policy that pulls the customer in by providing well thought out, strategic, value generating content to gain positive mindshare with your current and future customer bases.
b) Habit Loops -
“Almost everything we do as people is dictated by our habits. Habits have a significant impact on how we engage with one another and with brands. It will become a priority to implement habit loops that keep customers engaged in digital settings.”
Eric Rohrback, CMO, Hill & Ponton
A habit loop is a neural process, and how people establish habits. It comes in three parts: The hook, the activity (or routine), and the reward. In simple form: you pique the interest of a consumer, then they take action, then they are rewarded for their action thereby reinforcing the habit to do so again and deepening their emotional investment in your brand. Sometimes known as the "Benjamin Franklin Effect", the act of acting on someone else’s behalf creates a predisposition to view that person or brand more favorably in the future as long as the experience was positive.
When it comes to customer engagement strategies, many brands fail to identify the cues or hooks to trigger the reflexive routines that will lead to the positive outcomes that customers want. Brands who do so can begin to shift customer behaviors and overcome any lingering barriers to ultimately achieve a mutually beneficial result and relationship.
c) Direct communication - Consumers are nearly 2x as likely to engage with brands who directly engage with their customers via reviews, social media, or internal communication platforms. In fact 97% of customers are likely to increase how much they spend if they feel like their feedback and communications were utilized.
5) Build a Community - The customer experience is more than just the purchase process; customers form communities around brands they love. Smart brands build those communities themselves and use them to ensure that their customers get the most out of their products, services, and experiences.
a) Use rewards to build a community. It may sound counterintuitive in today’s world of large businesses and millions of customers to think about trying to build community around such a volume of rewards, but think back to the days of the local shops, the places where everyone knows your name, as it were. Those business owners knew the value of rewarding their best customers–a free slice of pie, a drink on the house, a little goes a long way to keep a customer and that customer will bring their friends, those friends will tell their friends, and the community grows in a self-perpetuating way because you've personalized the experience for those customers.
b) The community builds for you - 92% of consumers believe their friends and family over any other form of advertising but only 7% of marketers believe that word of mouth marketing impacts buying decisions.
Where GoVi fits in -
GoVi sits at the intersection of all of the above points. Our platform allows brands to create incredibly impactful customer engagement strategies that are wholly customizable to the company, the goals, and the customers.
As we’ve discussed, the keys to engaging your customers boil down to meeting them where they are with content relevant to their experience in order to build that strong connection and community that keeps them loyal to you. GoVi allows you to engage your customers at scale to create predictable, ROI-generating activities across your entire customer lifecycle. We call this Mass Customer Mobilization. After all, your most valuable asset is your customers—we’re here to help you and your customers achieve the best for one another.