Marketers know digital technology has changed customer behaviour forever – but what is the best strategy for engaging and maintaining relationships?
Should brands focus on content marketing strategies to pull customers in and make sales? Or is it better to concentrate on servicing before, during, and after the purchase phase?
We joined CIM’s latest webinar in find out.
In the red corner, fighting for content marketing was CIM’s very own Nick Baggott, director of digital marketing. In the blue, Postcode Anywhere’s chief technology officer, Jamie Turner.
Nick Baggott started the discussion with an adage – ‘content is king but promotion is queen’
In June of 2000, there were fewer than eight million websites. Today that number is greater than 750 million, according to Netcraft.com, and shows no signs of slowing down. This means that it will be harder and harder for marketers to cut through the noise in order to get their content read.
Google is helping to fuel this debate, too. With its Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates, Google is essentially telling marketers to publish as much content as possible and to make sure it’s extremely helpful to the people that read it if they want to do well on the search engine.
With everyone jumping on the content marketing bandwagon how can we ensure our efforts aren’t wasted?
Amplification. One piece of content can be shared on a multitude of different channels – you just need to be efficient with it. It takes a lot of time to create original content, but savvy content marketers know that you can save loads of time and effort if you strategically repurpose content in a variety of ways.
What’s the biggest challenge with content marketing?
Quite often the biggest challenge is getting the best people to do the job. Usually it’s the marketers or an external agency who’s responsibility it is to draft the content, but to get the most engaging, insightful content it should be those ‘on the ground’, the experts who know the products inside and out. Getting those people to write the content is the challenge marketers will face.
How often should you be putting content out there?
Don’t get too hung up on frequency – only post when you have something meaningful to say.
You need to be asking yourself is it relevant – because if it is, frequency is less important. Apply the 4-1-1 theory. For every six pieces of content you share, four pieces should be content that’s not yours, one piece should be original content you created and the other piece should be sales-related.
What advice would you give to marketers working in regulated areas?
Choose the channels most appropriate to your audience and purpose. If you’re working in a regulated industry such as finance or medicine, something like Twitter, where people are expecting real-time answers might not be appropriate so consider a blog instead.
Up next, promoting the importance of customer experience was Jamie Turner.
Jamie, a self-confessed tech geek, openly admits that marketing isn’t his forte, he does however know a lot about customer experience. Jamie and Guy grew Postcode Anywhere to a highly successful business, with over 8,000 customers on a headcount of less than 50 employees. And the ingredient for their secret sauce? Unparalleled customer service.
Why should we focus our efforts on customer experience?
Customer experience represents the heart of any brand. When your customer experience delivers or surpasses customer expectations, every single marketing campaign works better. From customer loyalty programs and grassroots social media to content and public relations, marketing resonates well. And if the experience suffers in any way, brands risk losing customers. Virgin is a great example of a brand doing this right. Known for delivering a distinct and defined customer experience they use this as a point of differentiation to market and drive the growth of their business.
How do you deliver a good customer experience?
It’s simple – know your customers really well. To deliver a great service you need to be able to pre-empt the service or product your customers need. For example, when you think about a local newspaper shop, they can deliver good customer experience because they know that John Smith comes in every Friday for a pint of milk and a newspaper and can get that ready for him before he walks in the shop. The problem comes when there are thousands of Mr Smiths who all want different things. The more personalised your messages are the better level of service you can give.
So how can you scale your business and still deliver good customer service?
Marketing automation is great for providing a self-serve business, the challenge is getting the balance between being helpful and spamming people. Adapt your business model so that your customers don’t have to interact with you if they don’t want to but that there’s always someone on the end of the line should they need that extra help.
How can you tell if a customer is happy or not?
One of the key ways to monitor this is through journey time. Sure the end goal is getting the customer to purchase, but if it has taken that customer a long time to get to that purchase, something inevitably has gone wrong along the way. Real-time intelligence will be critical in highlighting these hiccups in the journey enabling you to intervene and rectify them as soon as possible. Your customers are your biggest advocates so it’s in your best interest to look after them efficiently.
What’s next for customer experience?
Whilst there are whole bunch of marketing automation tools out there, most tend to focus in on a very narrow part of the customer journey. They seem to focus on acquiring new customers rather than retaining customers which is where the real value is. At the moment there’s nothing out there that can help you monitor customer experience end to end – cradle to grave. This had led us to develop our own technology, triggar, which will address this gap and identify and resolve problems at different stages in the customer lifecycle.
For more information on customer experience follow Jamie on Twitter.
You can listen to the webinar broadcast on the Marketer’s website. Which side are you backing? Let us know below.