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What is Customer Experience Marketing?
Customer experience marketing is the strategy of focusing marketing efforts on the customer and improving how the customer experiences your product or services.
The idea is simple: if people love your product, they’ll become your biggest promoters. If you delight your customers, they’ll recommend your product to their friends, family, and colleagues.
Is Customer Experience Really Marketing?
Yes, it is. There’s an old adage that every interaction your customer has with your brand is marketing. That means every phone call, every confirmation email, each piece of packaging, and even things like the lighting in your store or restaurant are marketing.
This is something that Apple understands incredibly well.
Apple’s packaging is streamlined. Designers want you to be able to startup your iPhone without instruction. Simply, take it out of the box and press the home button.
And then there’s the Apple Store: a clean, brightly lit modern space that shows off Apple’s new products. Consumers like visiting because it feels nice to try out new products in a warm, welcoming environment.
Once you look at a company that does customer experience marketing well, the difference is obvious. Companies that delight customers earn lots of advocates. That’s why marketers need to step up to the plate.
The Customer Experience Trend — Why Now?
The customer journey is very different now than in the 20th century.
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Traditionally, customers discovered brands via advertising and marketing efforts. They made purchase decisions based on the 4 Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place.
Now, consumers are more actively involved in the process. Empowered by technology, consumers do more research than ever before buying.
- Approximately 4 in 5 American consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. (YouGov)
Why all the research? Consumers want to know your product is really that good. And they’re also looking to see if other people actually enjoy using your product.
They have a reason for having such high expectations. There are more online reviews and social media posts than ever. If you’re even remotely curious, it’s easy enough to scan Amazon, Yelp, or Facebook and get a quick idea of how satisfied a customer is with any product you’re thinking about buying.
There’s no reason to rely on what a business says about its product when you can just see what customers are actually saying.
Customers Are Pickier. And That’s a Good Thing.
The reason that customers are turning to social media and online reviews is simple: they’re pickier now than ever before.
Consumers are more likely than previous generations to voice their thoughts, feelings, and opinions online for their peers and fellow consumers to read. And they’re more likely to listen to the thoughts and feelings of their online peers before making a purchase:
- 79 percent read online reviews to make sure the product or service is good. 61 percent read reviews to make sure the product or service works. 53 percent read reviews to make sure that they don’t get ripped off. (YouGov)
- 83 percent of shoppers discover new products every month through peer-to-peer reviews and social media; reviews and recommendations are their foremost sources of information. (Social Media Link)
- 55 percent will not consider a business with negative reviews and ratings. Additionally, 27 percent will also voice their dissatisfaction when it comes to businesses with no testimonials, ratings, or reviews. (YP)
Today’s customers equate brands with experiences: their own as well as that of others.
In order to successfully drive engagement, your marketing strategy must be customer-centric: developed and executed to provide a customer experience that meets and even exceeds expectations.
Benefits of Customer Experience Marketing
By tailoring your marketing strategy to be more focused on the customer experience, you can:
- Improve customer retention and foster brand loyalty
- Make customers feel like they’re treated as human beings instead of numbers or records in a database
- Deliver better interactions and experiences from the first point of contact
- Grow a community of customers who can spread positive word of mouth around your business and brand
- Reduce customer churn and improve revenue
Use Customer Feedback to Drive Engagement
Companies need to create strong emotional bonds with customers to be competitive and create and maintain customer loyalty, according to a report by Forrester.
This type of long-term engagement starts with customer feedback – using feedback to understand the customer’s thoughts, feelings, and making it clear to customers that your company cares about them as human beings.
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The Key to Customer Experience Marketing: Listening
According to the CMO Council, search and discovery is the third most critical moment of the customer journey. The sixth most critical moment is pricing and comparison.
Despite the type of business, listen to the customer and make changes based on customer expectations.
Monitor and manage reviews
It’s important to have a system in place to track online reviews about your company and understand the feedback within those reviews. Are there changes you should make? What do customers like about your company and what areas need improvement?
The customer should be at the center of your marketing strategy. According to a report by the CMO council, CMO’s today have a clear vision of the brand and where the brand lives in people’s minds and lives.
“Many of today’s CMOs are expected to advance the bottom line and champion the customer experience,” according to the report.
Respond to reviews
A great way to engage with customers is to listen to what they are saying about your company and respond to their review. Always say thanks to customers for leaving a review and if there is an issue, address the issue in the response and take the conversation offline.
Implement changes based on reviews
There are customer engagement metrics you should use to measure how involved customers are in your brand. One such metric is text analytics to understand customer sentiment. Text analytics gives you an idea of how invested a customer is in their relationship with your company.
It’s also important to analyze the trends in reviews. Is there something that you could change about the service at your business locations? Maybe customers at your banks feel like they are being sold something every time they come in, or maybe the soup at your restaurant is too salty.
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There is a great advantage to customer experience marketing. Customers’ high expectations on their experiences and interactions with businesses are good. It gives your marketing team a chance to create real, engaging, and meaningful relationships with customers, as well as new opportunities to be creative with the ways you build these relationships.
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