As more and more marketers continue to adopt new automation tools to improve efficiency and increase performance, it’s important not to lose sight of why your customers chose to purchase your brand or service in the first place. Now more than ever, customers are seeking brands that they feel a connection with. And let’s face it, have you ever felt a connection to a robot?
Your customers want to feel special - to have personalized experiences. And while automated systems and programs can quickly identify and learn your customer's behaviors and preferences online, do they REALLY know who they are and the emotion behind their decisions?
Behavioral learning and smart targeting are great but there’s a reason why we’re seeing an uptick in marketing leaders looking for more strategy in their plans this year. When every company and brand is using an army of robots to make their marketing decisions - they all start to look and talk to their customers the same way.
If you are hoping to stand out among your competitors, it’s time to get back to basics and talk to your customers. The wealth of data and predictive analytics marketers have at their disposal today opens up the opportunity to maintain creativity while also scaling data and technology in more meaningful ways than ever before. It’s finding the balance between the two where the marketing magic happens.
But don’t take our word for it - ask your customers. You’ll see that their motivations have changed when choosing a brand or service and if you don’t keep up with their expectations, you’ll find yourself left behind.
Customers expect responsiveness. While customers likely don’t expect someone at your company sends each customer an individual email or promotion, they do expect that if they hit reply, their question or comment would go to an actual human who would respond in a timely way. And if the only response to those questions is too ‘canned’, you’ve lost an opportunity to connect with your customer and solve their problem to their specific satisfaction. While automated email and social media platforms make communications more efficient, be sure you have a process in place to have a customer service representative reach out individually when necessary.
Customers expect to be appreciated. In today’s competitive landscape, consumers have lots of choices, yet they choose to purchase your brand. They expect to be shown gratitude - whether that’s with a follow-up offer, coupon, or a simple thank you. When the offer is also personalized around important milestones in the customer journey or based on customer preferences and previous buying habits, you’ve shown your customer that you are listening to them and understand their needs.
Customers expect authenticity. Today’s consumers, particularly the younger generations, are drawn to brands whose values align with their own. Communicating your company’s core principles and mission adds a level of humanity to your brand. And don’t just stop there, talk to your current and future employees to be sure they understand and embrace these values. Employees that are satisfied with their place in your company are more productive.
Customers expect privacy. As customers share more and more personal data in exchange for highly personalized experiences, they will also expect companies to protect this data. While they recognize that this data is used mainly for automation, they want to know that the humans involved in keeping this valuable information secure are trustworthy. Customers can’t see behind the curtain of your marketing automation tools, so transparency on how this data is protected is crucial. Customers need to be able to trust the brand they’re communicating with and they are likely more willing to trust a real person versus a robot.
Customers expect compassion. Your customers want to feel that they are being understood and listened to. Increased prices, supply issues, and the uptick in natural catastrophes have left today’s consumers with economic challenges they haven’t experienced in some time. Showing your customers that you care about their struggles brings a level of humanity to your brand that many have been missing since the rise of automated messaging.
While 70% of CMOs agree that customer experience would be drastically improved by introducing or improving a customer data platform (Martech Alliance, 2021), these same marketing leaders mustn’t discount the positive impact a human touch can have on providing a positive brand experience for their customers.
Vennli can provide you with fast, actionable insights that help you identify where your customers are looking for more personalized experiences so you can make the changes necessary to further ‘humanize’ your brand and increase loyalty and trust - which keeps your customers coming back for more.