The relationship between customers and marketers has changed drastically, mainly due to the widespread use of digital assets in marketing. The transactional relationship that is part of traditional marketing is now a thing of the past. It used to be that the interaction between brands and customers happened only when a purchase occurred, while at other times, there was no interaction between businesses and consumers. It is a typical example of a transactional relationship that flourished in the pre-digital era.
Today, marketers have numerous digital tools and assets at their disposal that they can use to keep in constant touch with customers, both potential and existing, for providing a satisfying customer experience through close engagement. This kind of relationship is more akin to being friends with customers by developing an emotional connection and interacting with them at a personal level to gain mileage in marketing and sustain the business.
Technology has compelled marketers to modify their marketing techniques to match the new kind of customer expectations. They need to find ways of engaging closely for retaining them as well as targeting potential customers. The change is an ongoing process that is transforming how businesses understand and value the customer across every marketing channel and the entire lifecycle.
A customer-centric approach based on research, strategy, and insights is the only way to drive marketing campaigns. You can provide a satisfying customer experience that is critical for driving them toward the brand. Simultaneously, marketers must focus on customer engagement that leads to brand loyalty, which plays a crucial role in customer retention. Marketers use the phrases customer experience and customer engagement frequently and often interchangeably because of its close association with one another. But it is crucial to understand the difference.
What is Customer Experience?
How a person feels when interacting with a product, system, channel, or service is what constitutes customer experience. How the customer perceives the functionalities, ease of use of the system, and emotional delight during the customer journey against a specific context, together with the experiential aspects, all contribute to creating the customer experience. It is about the moment in time and the memory of the moment.
Customer experience is the way customers perceive the interactions with the business at a different time and different levels. A good way of measuring customer experience is to measure it against customer expectations during the entire purchasing journey across various touchpoints, although this is not always easy. Gauging their behavior during the interactions with the brand is only possible by using some digital marketing asset management platforms like Adobe Target.
What is Customer Engagement?
The emotional experience of customers with brands, and the way they perceive it helps to build customer experience.
On the other hand, customer engagement consists of all the touchpoints between the business and customers, together with actions they take from reading e-mails, newsletters, tweeting, posting, referring, liking, following and buying, etc. Unlike customer experience that is driven by some specific moments, customer engagement keeps happening continuously, but it is a customer experience that influences customer engagement. Positive customer experience leads to better customer engagement that generates brand loyalty that reflects in their attitude and behavior. Customer engagement emanates from how customers feel about the brand and how the brand interacts with them.
Understanding the Customer
To provide better customer experience, it is crucial to understand customers individually for providing a personalized experience that brings them closer to the brand. When customer data related to their online behavior during their interactions with the brand is available to marketers, they come to know about how customers engage with the marketing campaigns and the way they arrive at the website. By using the marketing platform of Adobe Target as an Adobe customer, which comprises the digital asset management system, marketers gain valuable insights about user behavior that outlines their preferences and makes clear what they like and dislike. The system empowers marketers to tailor and personalize their customer experience, which in turn enhances customer engagement and boosts the marketing prospects.
Create Buyer Personas
Understanding customers by researching them based on the data collected about their online behavior can help to create individual customer profiles, also known as buyer personas. The research can include the kind of interest they take in your products and services, other interactions with your digital assets like podcasts, e-mails, and newsletters. By creating buyer personas, marketers can identify their ideal customers, how they spend their days, how they make decisions, and the challenges they face.
Creating buyer personas is critical in marketing because it helps to customize the activities aimed at acquiring and serving your customers. It is vital as companies realize the need to connect with customers by addressing their needs instead of talking about what the business has to offer them. The traditional way of putting the business ahead of the needs of customers conflicts with the way people make decisions and does no good for business.
Track Your Marketing Efforts
Access to customer data that captures every aspect of their interactions with the brand helps marketers to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts. On discovering any deficiency or inadequate response to the efforts, you can make changes in the strategies to address the issues and overcome the shortcomings. By knowing what users like and dislike, you become aware of their expectations and interests and can cater to the appropriate content that makes them happy. By changing the way you present the business, you get the advantage of gaining the trust of customers that go a long way in improving the outcome of the company.
Technology has reshaped the way businesses interact with customers. Marketers must make the best use of their digital assets and manage it well to generate more loyal customers. It all depends on taking a strategic approach in engaging customers across the entire journey by ensuring that you understand the customer throughout the journey. Knowing the customer in its entirety that provides a 360-degree view is the only way to deliver a personalized marketing campaign.
Randy Stark is a business tech analyst.