Over the last decade, consumer behaviors and preferences have shifted due to advancements in technology, ushering in what industry experts call the “Now Economy.” By being digitally tethered to an array of devices rich with content and informational resources, consumers are more empowered to find exactly what they want, when they want it.
Ironically, as access to information increases, the effectiveness of the brands providing it decreases. With so much noise battling for their attention, consumers no longer rely on mass marketing efforts like they once did — instead, the path toward discovering seemingly limitless products and services is a simple search query away.
As this behavior has become ingrained into the modern consumer’s DNA, it’s more important than ever for marketers to elevate their brand voice and provide value that a consumer otherwise wouldn’t be able to attain through self-service.
To adapt to the Now Economy, marketers must be agile in order to remain top-of-mind to their respective audiences. Read on to learn why achieving omni-channel relevance is so critical to a brand’s success and how the five foundational pillars of relevance can influence and optimize your brand strategy.
The Consumer Implication: What’s at Stake
Studies indicate that the average consumer is exposed to 10,000 brand messages a day and it’s safe to say that the greater majority of these hold little relevance. In response to this onslaught, a recent study indicated that 94% of customers discontinue brand relationships if their messaging is off base — the margin between a click or an unsubscribe is razor-thin when a brand misses its mark.
It’s up to businesses to prove their worth with every customer interaction, from click to cash. Consumers no longer need to come to brands — instead, it’s the other way around. Brands must go to the customer, they must do it well, and they must continuously re-earn their trust.
Easier said than done, right?
Listen First, Act Second
Aware of it or not, today’s consumers are trading a wealth of behavioral data in exchange for (what should be) better customer experiences. We as consumers readily divulge our general preferences and habits when we engage and we expect brands to learn and apply them in our best interest.
We’re telling them — subtly or otherwise — what we want from businesses; they should be picking up on our “digital body language” and responding in ways that we’ve told them we prefer.
As this data surely points out, there are no set “rules” for how modern consumers browse and buy; unlike the marketing models of the past, this variance creates customer journeys which are everything but linear and span across a plethora of communication channels.
Brands now are responsible for developing campaigns that span these different channels with laser-focused content. This content must first align to and then complement the journey of the customer. These messages must be part of a broader, meaningful experience and seamlessly deliver tangible and intangible value to the recipients.
This is what it means to create omni-channel relevance. Crafting and then delivering a personalized experience at a macro scale is how brands can use their customer data for good and bring themselves to the forefront of the consumer’s mind.
The 5 Pillars of Omni-Channel Relevance
We firmly believe that the ability to power omni-channel relevance is the new measurement of success when it comes to marketing efficacy. This is the difference between brands being noticed vs. being embraced.
Achieving omni-channel relevance is challenging but far from impossible. Here are the five pillars that make up the foundation of a stand-out brand. Understand what role they each play in your business and answer the questions we pose for a quick gut-check on how your marketing can reach the next level.
1. Cadence: Coordinate communications across all channels
The typical marketing organization is siloed: with separate teams for email, mobile, web and social media, different messages are sent to a massive number of subscribers at any given time. Cadence represents how effectively these messages are being unified to tell a cohesive story that resonates best with your audience.
In other words, cadence is the orchestration of communications to create a seamless consumer experience. Most businesses talk at their customers, many talk to them, but the elite few talk with them.
How often are you messaging your subscribers, and are you letting them decide that frequency?
How does a customer’s experience vary as they engage with each channel?
Does your marketing team coordinate communications, and if so, can all your customer data be leveraged using one platform?
2. Automation: Respond to customer behavior in real time
Brands are constantly being judged on their ability to respond instantaneously to the shifting needs of their customers. If your marketing team spends more time slogging through the manual work that it takes to execute campaigns than taking swift, decisive action, then you’re missing valuable opportunities to captivate your audience.
Automation encompasses sophisticated segmentation, intuitive workflows and dynamic content that is responsive to the customer’s expressed and inferred needs.
Are the types of communication you’re sending behaviorally triggered?
How long does it take to create and deploy a new segment or campaign?
How quickly can you act on newly captured customer data?
3. Mediums: Consider your brand story as the sum of all its parts
We look at mediums not solely as the channels used by a brand, but also as the cohesive experience created from all these online and offline forms of communication. Seamlessly adapting consistent messaging across all available mediums is incredibly valuable to the changing habits of consumers.
It’s important to note that channels rise and fall in consumer popularity (for instance, email’s still a mainstay, while direct mail is so old, it’s new again). See the forest for the trees by future-proofing your marketing strategy regardless of what’s currently on trend.
Which mediums matter most to your customers, and what does your brand presence look like on each of them?
How consistent is your messaging at different points of your customer’s journey?
How would integrating a new communication channel complement your customer’s experience?
4. Personalization: Segment your customers on their terms
Low-level message personalization, based on basic demographic information or isolated data points (like a single purchase) can be as damaging as not personalizing at all. It’s clear that customizing content goes far beyond “Hi [First Name].” Achieving omni-channel relevance involves facilitating 1:1 conversations and actively listening to a customer’s needs.
As you learn about customers through experience-driven interactions, note how the conversation evolves over time. To pick up on subtle changes in consumer behavior, invest in growth marketing technology that can activate on data from all sources.
How personalized are your different messages to individual users and segments?
Are you segmenting dynamically using unique behavioral and event data?
How often do you request customer feedback to improve personalization?
5. Value: Reinforce your reputation with every single message
Quick to help themselves to the wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, consumers are capable of deriving exactly what they want from a brand with little assistance. The messages that you feel are essential to their experience may not resonate with your customer immediately. Simply put, value is solidified as reputation is earned.
The most innovative brands recognize that it is important to give more than they take; only by putting in their due diligence can they achieve lasting credibility with their customers. Value is that intangible “it factor” that keeps fans coming back time and again, so it’s vital that you treat each interaction as an opportunity to strengthen rapport.
Does the value you’re providing outweigh the “ask” that your message is making?
Do your customers understand why your business serves them as clearly as what products or services you offer?
How useful are your communications from your customer’s perspective?
Tying It Together
If you’re serious about elevating the consumer’s perception of your brand, now is the time to go omni-channel. Proving your worth as a resource in a fiercely crowded market is more of a challenge than ever — earning consumer mindshare will enable you to stand out as competition continues to grow.
All success stems from the customer and now is the time to embrace that focus using these five pillars of relevance. When you evolve past being a mere presence here and there to being a prominent voice everywhere, it won’t matter where consumers see your content; if you’re able to connect the data dots, you’ll be creating the relevant experiences that they so desperately crave.