Like many people, I have spent a lot more time in 2020 with Zoom meetings and Netflix characters than with real people. And as social distancing continues to be the norm, the resulting consumer habits are leaving some marketers to rethink their tactics. I recently sat down with our CEO to talk about what’s changing – and what isn’t – as more consumers are staying home.
Often, consumer behavior – especially in the ever-changing digital landscape – can feel like a moving target. And as we’re head-first into the new year, it’s always enlightening to sit down with our CEO and talk shop about what’s happening, what’s ahead, and what we as marketers should – and shouldn’t – be responding to.
Effective customer engagement is not about overwhelming consumers with generic offers and promotions. Customer engagement is about building a long-term relationship with customers by gaining their trust and loyalty. True engagement can only take place when there is a give-and-take between your company and the customer.
We’re finally far enough away from the holiday season to take a good look back at what worked and to catch a glimpse of where we’ll go from here. And now we’re seeing retailers making big shifts for the new year, further illustrating the importance of going back to basics.
For so long, the phrase “without disruption” has been used in the same breath as things like quality time, concentration, relaxation, and so on. Vacation getaways, study time, spa days, date night, etcetera are all arguably better when you’re not disrupted. But in a culture where we are constantly seeking reprieve from disruptions, many brands are committed to delivering just the opposite.
Marketers who think they have mastered data-driven approaches are all aflutter about the next step in customer interaction: prescriptive messaging. It’s not enough to communicate at the right time, right place, etcetera – now we have to tell customers what they want before they know they want it!
But what happens when those messages, meant to be full of convenience and usefulness, come across as bothersome or egregiously incorrect? Is anticipatory messaging worth the risk of annoying or insulting your customers?
The changing seasons have many of us shifting – our wardrobe, our activities, our focus. The kids are back in school; we’re rounding third toward the end of the year and the colder weather forces us indoors to face the inevitable seasonal closet cleaning. While many of us agree that decluttering feels pretty rewarding, some are taking it to a whole new level.
In the age of ride shares and tiny houses, consumer behavior is changing. And as the upcoming generation is thinking mortgage/marriage/family a little later in life, this leaves a tremendous amount of space to fill. With what? Not things. Experiences.
I like a good deal as much as the next guy, but stopping into a big box discount retailer the other day had me thinking about the dilution of the customer experience. Walking into a cluttered shopping experience where the in-store offer doesn’t match what I found online (or on their mobile site, because I’m definitely consulting that while I’m in the store) is an all-too-common occurrence in retail – and using discounts to defend a poor customer experience just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Referrals have been around for ages. Whether it was where your neighbors bought their first television or where your best friend got his hair cut, we’ve always relied on peer feedback when considering purchases. Enter, digital and now we have access to online reviews for everything from nannies to neckties. And we trust it, right?
Often, a brand connection is in a fleeting moment. I pull on my favorite pair of shorts and I wonder if the retailer still has that same pair, but that question is not enough to get me to sit down at my computer to find out.
But what if I could ask that question, say, in the same spontaneous way I’d ask a buddy if he wants to grab a beer after work? Enter, SMS.