Five years ago we talked about a then-new concept: the Now Economy. Back then, however, we focused on the changing expectations of the consumers. Today, we’re still living in the Now Economy but we want to take a closer look at how it impacts us—the marketers.
The Now Economy speaks to how consumers expect immediacy. Fed by a culture of fast results, consumers want what they want and they want it now. And, since we last talked about the Now Economy, a lot has happened. The pandemic forced a lot of brands to speed up their digital timelines, only fueling the fire of high customer expectations.
By revisiting the Now Economy with 20/22 vision, we’re hoping to demonstrate what pitfalls marketers may face if they’re not prepared to deliver on customer expectations. Let’s start with a quick refresh on the Now Economy.
A Quick Refresh on the Now Economy
According to a research article published in The Journal of Creating Value, “The Now Economy is service dominant and runs on speed—digital technologies and immediacy (Weinstein, 2019).” Consumers expect brands to be able to deliver high-quality customer experiences at a rapid pace.
Think about all of the services customers have access to with just the tap of a screen. Car services, food delivery, even same-day Amazon drop-offs. Everything is fast, simple, and, most-importantly to customers, accurate.
As technology continues to evolve, customer expectations are only becoming more heightened. With the added potential for individualization, customers are looking for brands to know exactly who they are, what they want, and to provide it immediately. For marketers, this changes how we do our jobs.
Challenges We Face in the Now Economy
In our previous article about the Now Economy we focused on the consumer and how the Now Economy is impacting what they want and need from brands. They’re expecting on-demand convenience, real-time customer support, personalized service, and memorable brand experiences.
While we always want to put the consumer first, for the sake of this article, let’s flip that around and think about things from our perspective. How can we ensure we’re prepared to meet (and exceed) customer expectations in the Now Economy?
A Competitor Does What You Can’t
The technology to provide automated, instantaneous, seamless customer experiences already exists. So, if you can’t deliver a fast, accurate service, there’s probably someone out there who can. In fact, “in an internet-based world, brands are faced with the challenge of digital sameness—the customer experience across websites has become pretty uniform.” So, if your brand doesn’t at least match other brands’ digital capabilities, you risk providing a negative customer experience.
In a previous article, Winning Customer Loyalty, Pt. 1: From Good to Great, we talked about the example of a customer who goes to a banking site and, when an account problem arises, is easily led to customer service and the issue is resolved on the website. The same customer then goes to their insurance site but instead of getting automated help to resolve an issue, they see a small phone number telling the customer to call if they have account issues.
There’s a huge difference between the two experiences, and after the experience with the bank, even with these industries being slightly different, the customer has new expectations of automation.
In the Now Economy marketing automation is incredibly valuable to marketers because it minimizes manual lift, freeing up time for more strategic initiatives. By using certain event triggers in customer journeys, you can automate the path each individual customer takes as they interact with your brand, immediately satisfying customer needs and wants.
To avoid falling behind: find a martech platform that uses artificial intelligence to automate the customer journey while using existing data to individualize the experience at the same time.
Distrust in Brands and Technology
There is a lot of distrust between consumers and brands and consumers and the technology brands employ. So, while customers expect everything instantaneously and accurately, they also want to be sure their data is being used to help them, versus in ways to which they’re not privy.
Dynamic content is a feature that uses customer data to provide a hyper-individualized experience, all while still being automated. By taking advantage of fields (user attributes, event data, external data, and metadata) and pulling from an existing catalog, you can easily populate marketing communications with relevant, hyper-specific messaging. This type of messaging not only helps alleviate any concerns a customer may have with an order or online experience, in general, but it also builds trust by showing that your brand is paying attention.
Take an abandoned cart email, for example. Rather than manually creating an abandoned cart message for each customer, or sending a vague promotional email, you can automate an email that has a photo of the abandoned item plus photos of related items. If a certain customer doesn’t engage with emails, however, you can start to implement other channels to ensure you’re able to reach them.
To gain and retain customer trust: incorporate dynamic content into marketing messaging to create frictionless experiences that reassure customers by demonstrating how data is being used.
Disconnect Between Digital Channels
The Now Economy is all about efficiency. But, by being able to connect with customers through a variety of channels, that efficiency can start to deteriorate if the experience is inconsistent.
Say a customer has just made their first purchase through your online site. You send a welcome email to the customer thanking them for their purchase. But, you also have a mobile app where you’ve seen high conversions.
Instead of keeping channels siloed, your welcome email could encourage users to download the app, if they haven’t already. The welcome email could feature the best ways to use the app and, when clicked through on a phone, could take them right to the app store. Now, the customer is recognized as the same individual through both channels.
With cross-channel harmonization, you’re able to not only send messages to customers where and how they prefer, but, with the help of centralized data, you can also create a seamless experience across all marketing channels. This creates efficiency for not only the customer, but the marketer as well.
To connect all marketing channels: Use a marketing platform that centralizes customer data and allows for all channels to access the same information.
Reducing Friction in The Now Economy
We’re marketers, sure, but we’re also consumers. We, too, are experiencing the Now Economy and want a seamless, efficient experience. This also applies to the tools we use. Having tools in your martech stack that enable automation, dynamic content, and cross-channel capabilities reduces friction and provides an instant solution to challenges.
To learn more about how to increase efficiency while simultaneously creating an individualized, harmonized customer experience, schedule an Iterable demo today.