How to effectively communicate with customers in the digital transformation era?
Figure 1. The Marketing Funnel (Aweber, 2021)
Nowadays, customers’ behaviour has radically changed since the growth of Internet and modern business practices. This requires companies to flexibly adapt by actively engaging, nurturing and inspiring customers to maintain customer relationships. Moreover, companies can go beyond and enter the most challenging stage: loyalty and advocacy in the Marketing funnel. But, the big question is how to achieve this goal? Probably there are many existing methods, but in this post, I’d like to show you five effective strategies that help your companies in the adoption of new digital experiences.
First of all, let’s quickly go through the Marketing Funnel as shown in Figure 1. This funnel visualizes a process of turning potential customers into paying customers and reaching their networks who could potentially become customers as well. Each stage of the funnel calls for a combination of different tactics and strategies to achieve the stage goal. The following strategies can be wisely applied to these stages depending on your industry, product, competition, and target groups.
#1 – Access strategy
Following this strategy means that a business should be faster, easier, more accessible and always on for its customers. Access strategy can be related to mobile commerce (m-commerce) where transactions are done via mobile device such as smartphone, tablets, etc. The whole transaction process should be simple and convenient, completed after a few clicks. For instance, digital wallets like Apple Pay allow customers to make in-store purchases in case of forgetting their bank card. These days, many brands have also developed mobile apps, which make it more flexible and accessible for customers to scroll and make a purchase simply after a few clicks. Together with a built-in loyalty program and referral (e.g., invite friends to enjoy discounts together), companies have successfully obtained the two highest levels of the marketing funnel – loyalty and advocacy.
Another example is omni-channel experience, which focuses on the overall quality of interaction between customers and brands by offering a seamless experience through an integrated interaction via multiple applications like web, mobile, voice, email, etc. Amazon has designed this type of channel which combines self-service and live customer support for complicated enquiries. Albert Heijn, a Dutch supermarket chain, offers its customers a mobile app, web and a physical store whose information is intertwined with each other.
Other communication channels that can be used in this strategy are live web chats, chatbots, social media, web calling, etc.
#2 – Engage strategy
An engage strategy consists of different approaches such as story-telling, product demo, and utility. This strategy aims to draw attention of customers by studying which content customers are interested in, and strategizing on strengthening customer relationships via this engagement channel. Storytelling calls for imagination and creativity, creating a compelling story that can arise the audience’s emotions and persuade them to buy company’s products or services. This technique can be used in presentations, commercials & ads on TV and social media. Multiple businesses have applied this method, namely Nike, Apple, etc. Next, product demo is a way to illustrate value propositions of a product/ service towards potential customers. This method is often seen in software development, technology, sport, etc. Utility is relatively similar to storytelling – convince customers to make a purchase. There are five types of utilities to be focused on communicating value propositions, including time, place, possession, form and information. For example, package delivery firms collaborate with grocery stores to create more convenient pick-up points for customers.
#3 – Customize strategy
This strategy emphasizes delivering a more customized and personalized offer towards customers’ needs. Recommendation engines are commonly applied in this strategy, which predict how much a user prefers a certain item or action. Netflix has made use of this system intensively on their platform where they recommend multiple options that are supposed to be close to a user’s preference. Gmail can suggest draft professional correspondence based on data-enriched algorithms. Besides this, personalized emails, notifications, videos, ads are also effective communication channels with customers. Coca-Cola once held a personalized label campaign which sent a message as “something for you”, while Spotify has experienced with creating a personalized “Discover Weekly” playlist based on a user’s listening behaviour.
#4 – Connect strategy
Connect strategy indicates that business attempts to become a part of its customers’ conversation. Channels employed in this strategy consist of social media, live chat, web calling, sales persons, email marketing, etc. Responding to customer reviews, especially negative reviews, on owned and partner-websites is one of the most effective ways to listen to customers and create connection. Follow-up emails asking about customer experience after a service is often utilized as well. Another example refers to Disney World’s Magic Bands (a smart wristband) enabling users to purchase meals, reserve line space on rides, and gain access to premium areas.
#5 – Collaborate strategy
By pursuing this strategy, a business invites its customers to help develop its enterprise in order to achieve a shared goal. Crowdfunding is one of the collaborative methods, when a group of multiple stakeholders provides funds for a particular project or business. User-generated content is another technique to raise brand awareness via collaboration with customers. Examples are polls on Twitter/ LinkedIn, Youtube reviews, Instagram posts, videos and hashtags. Nike offers an option that allows customers to co-create their dream sneakers. Companies also organize open competitions (e.g., giveaways) reaching their current and potential customer groups to stimulate brand awareness, referrals, and social buzz while earning opportunities to understand their customers’ need better.
In short, these five strategies enable businesses to adapt and thrive in the digital transformation age by providing diverse techniques on maintaining interaction with customers and their networks. Furthermore, those strategies help shift traditional ways of sales towards new thinking about how businesses shall interact with customers and new models, platforms and channels for delivering value propositions.
Thank you for reading and please share if you find it useful!
Image source: https://blog.aweber.com/email-marketing/understanding-the-marketing-funnel-5-strategies-to-improve-your-email-marketing.htm