The marketer extraordinaire wears many hats, manages a variety of channels, and is challenged to understand the ongoing technological developments changing the way buyers and customers interact with brands.
You’ve heard the word on the street: ‘The buyer is in control.’ Your marketing has to be ‘customer centric.’ And I can’t say it enough: take a cue from Carly Simon and don’t be vain!
With the buyer in the driver seat, marketers have to find a way to comfortably ride shotgun rather than being left in the backseat, or worse, not have the opportunity to ride along at all. Customer retention is a critical concern for every marketing organization. Marketers must continually demonstrate value and commitment to their customers.
This is a daunting challenge, as a new study conducted by Korn/Ferry International points to customer engagement as the top concern keeping CMOs up at night.
The Korn/Ferry Marketing Pulse Survey was based on an online survey of 124 senior marketers conducted in June. It found the top marketing concerns of CMOs include customer engagement (52%), taking advantage of digital (29%), acquiring digital-savvy talent (11%) and dealing with budgetary issues (9%).
It’s interesting to note that budgetary issues were the least cited concern —illuminating how much more significant a challenge engagement is in comparison to finances. Moreover, within the category of customer engagement, the top concerns cited by CMOs include creating sustainable and engaging customer relationships (30%) and providing an effective customer experience (22%).
While many organizations struggle to define ownership and may have more than one person ‘steering the ship’ to manage different tasks, 35% of respondents cited their marketing departments as the owner of customer experience and engagement. A similar portion (32%) said it is a joint marketing and sales effort; 28% said it is a multifunctional task force; 3% said the job falls to no one; and 2% said sales alone.
“It is not surprising that customer engagement remains a top priority for marketers,” said Caren Fleit, Senior Client Partner and head of Korn/Ferry International’s Global Marketing Center of Expertise, in a press release. “The marketing team may not be directly selling a service or product, as the sales team does, but they are wholly tasked with engaging with the customer across multiple touch points to build brand value, and as a result business value. The best marketers will know how to leverage all the moving parts to create a unique, long-lasting relationship with customers that can ultimately be monetized on behalf of the business.”
Here are 5 marketing musts to demonstrate value to your customers, and continually showcase your commitment to their success:
- Provide valuable content that supports your customers in their usage of your products and services. Content and information that enables and empowers your customers to do their jobs better is the ultimate way to thank them for their business, and support their success in ways that will serve volumes to your advocacy marketing.
- Establish and maintain a customer community that serves as a hub for knowledge and information exchange. Give your brand its own social media channel and provide a means of connecting your customers across the globe so they can learn from like-minded peers and showcase their success and best practices.
- Share your company’s stories via social media to support positive brand perception and humanize your products or service. Posting information about your team, their milestones, and personal journeys helps distinguish your company and encourages two-way relationships between you and your customers.
- Anticipate and address customer needs to showcase your appreciation for their business and commitment to their achievements. ‘Get in front’ of milestone events — like contract renewals — by setting up trigger alerts and drip programs tied to expiration dates. Create and circulate supplementary how-to guides and/or troubleshooting tips for known bug fixes.
- Host networking events that bring together your customers and relevant peers, influencers, and team members. User events are a great platform to get your customers excited about product launches or updates. Physical events are challenging for those marketers managing a smaller budget, but there are a variety of free web event hosting platforms. Google Hangout is another great way to virtually provide thought utility, engagement, and find out your customers’ biggest concerns.
Looking for more resources? Click here to access an Engagement best practice tip sheet and a printable Blueprint to map out your objectives and action items!