I recently attended a session focused on mobile marketing. The panel was moderated by Matt Leonard, Director of Traffic Acquisition & Revenue Management, Cruise Critic (part of the Trip Advisor Media Group).
Panelists included John Bastone, Executive Director, Retail Product Marketing, Catalina, Kim Geralds, Senior Director of Global Digital & Marketing Strategy, Enterprise & Intelligence Solutions, Syniverse, Don Rua, Marketing Technology Strategist, Raymond James and Fred Steube, Senior Director of Emerging Technology, Cox Target Media.
Although focused on mobile marketing the conversation quickly grew and expanded to include all digital marketing solutions, including web-based technologies. Discussions sprang up around issues that the panelists face every day; for instance, all panelists heartily agreed that not every problem will be solved by an app.
There was also a group consensus that all platforms supporting the brand need to be interconnected in order to provide a seamless experience for the end user. All the panel members also agreed that message consistency is of the utmost importance for retention and loyalty.
Although each panel member had a slightly different viewpoint, based on their company, position and experience in individual markets; all agreed that there are four pillars that have to be present in order for a great customer experience to exist.
First and foremost the solution at hand has to be efficient and save time for the customer. Simplifying their lives and making things happen in an instant is the focus of most digital solutions. Anytime you can resolve an issue cleanly and efficiently for the user you win. In today’s fast forward society shaving even a few seconds off a pending task can make you the focus of adulation.
Secondly all solutions need to save customers’ money. If the customer is able to realize savings and feel like they got a good value as a result of interacting with the solution they will continue to use that solution. If they feel like they got good value in addition to saving money they will tell their family and friends about their experience. This type of advocacy cannot be bought and has more weight than any advertising campaign.
The third pillar mandates that utility must be provided, this is crucial to the success of any customer-facing program, app or interface. In the desktop days of yore, before smartphones were invented, there were many utilities made for the PC. You don’t hear much about utilities nowadays, they have been bundled together with apps and not seen as the distinct category they once were. Utility is defined as the state of being useful, profitable or beneficial. Providing users with the ability to accomplish a task they normally couldn’t accomplish easily by themselves.
Surprise and delight is the fourth and probably most important aspect of customer engagement. It is the experience that keeps customers coming back for more. At a recent SXSW session a company named Digital Roots outlined an 8-pronged approach to delivering surprise and delight to customers; the steps are as follows:
- Find the Conversation – pinpoint the most relevant conversation, and find the right people to focus on.
- Hone In – Customers love it when brands take ownership and provide high-quality customer service.
- Stalk a Little Bit – Integrating social into your CRM will enable you to better track and delight your customers.
- Choose the Scope – The goal of what you’d like your campaign to accomplish will determine your approach.
- Choose the Reward – Prizes should be desirable, reflect your brand and be delivered in a timely manner.
- Plan your Social Attack – Determine key performance indicators before you begin the campaign.
- Deliver in a Meaningful Way – Brands with a proactive approach in social, found their programs more effective.
- Build Your Brand Loyalty – The job does end once you’ve surprised and delighted customers. A company must continually work to build its brand loyalty.
Demographics are dead: it’s all about what customers buy right now. With today’s technology, companies are able to track what customers’ buy and utilize that information to target these customers in the future.
Today’s social and mobile customers determine how and when they want to interact with companies. Providing these four pillars will lead to better customer experience, resulting in accelerated revenues and heightened loyalty.