No matter what business you are in, ongoing success is a result of good customer engagement. However, success in a post-pandemic era will not necessarily come from doing what you have always done. Companies are using the opportunity to reflect on their value proposition, review their products, services, and marketing techniques and adapt accordingly. Since customers have had more time during lockdown to research companies online, learn who “speaks their language” and discover which companies offer personalized service, they are more likely to choose a company that reflects their values as opposed to demographics like age or gender.
Customers are intrinsically focused on ideals like living within their means, promoting health and wellness, minimizing impact on the planet, and working for the greater good by buying from organizations they find transparent and honest. We aren’t competing with our competitors anymore; we’re competing with the last best experience our customer had and today that means personalized experiences throughout the entire customer journey. Customers want exactly what they want when they want it.
Rising to this demand will involve alignment between marketing, sales, and customer service to live up to the customer’s expectation that we know them holistically. This requires a personalized approach to all three teams’ focus areas: content, commerce, and customer convenience. Instead of solely focusing on brand marketing to build reach, companies will need to shift to performance marketing to build relations. Relationships and trust are king.
The pandemic truly challenged brand loyalty. A recent McKinsey report stated that 75% of consumers in the U.S. have changed their shopping behavior, including product brands, retailers, and methods of shopping, and the majority plan to continue this behavior. That dynamic coupled with growing consumer awareness and activism precipitated during the social unrest of 2020 should make brands very focused on the values they express.
In fact, key themes show that while quality, convenience, and price still very much matter to consumer choice, factors like sustainability, trust, ethical sourcing, and social responsibility are increasingly important to how consumers select their products and services. Marketing has an opportunity to educate the broader leadership on the importance of brand values when it comes to differentiating in a post-pandemic marketplace where brand preferences have been upended. As advertising and marketing technologies proliferate, it’s all too easy to focus on bringing in a “tech stack” to make customer-focused marketing easier. However, having a racecar that you can only drive 25 miles per hour is not a good investment. For marketing technology to drive results, a company must define how gathered data insights will be used/shared across the organization, train teams to deploy it effectively, and have metrics in place to evaluate success.