As 2022 begins, the digital experience landscape has radically changed. Companies that were able to adapt to fluctuating trends are generally coming out on top, while others that were not able to adapt to the latest digital developments often wound up in second place.
If you want your business to thrive, you need to stay on top of the latest tools and methodologies for strengthening your online presence.
In order to help you adapt to the recent transformations we’ve observed in our industry, we need to question certain ideas and concepts which may actually need to change, given the new context looming on the horizon.
Our experience over the last two years has solidified what we already knew: Brands need to switch from using a major communication platform to a local platform and use precise terms that target specific consumers based on their personal context, needs and what’s most relevant to them. To do this, you absolutely must understand the nature of their motivations as they appear in the field.
Beyond considering the geographic location of customers, we’ve learned that marketing messages must be personalized and aligned with the values of the targeted individual, instead of being created around demographic data such as age and sex. To develop a personal, human connection with the public, every good marketing message must first define the consumer segments that describe these people based on a number of dimensions influencing their purchase behaviour, psychographic characteristics, and attitudes and behaviours.
Consumer expectations were already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic. Generation Z grew up with technology transparently integrated into their lives. The Big Four got us used to enjoying a hyper-personalized customer experience because they became particularly good at getting the most out of our personal data.
However, when the pandemic hit, the digital transformation picked up speed from one day to the next. Consumer expectations instantly climbed up a notch in terms of what companies could and should do to satisfy them when it came to offering an entirely digital purchase experience.
Customers now expect a lot more than simple, transparent digital transactions. Since they know perfectly well that companies have access to their personal data, they’re looking for a personalized experience within smart platforms that are capable of anticipating their needs throughout their journey.
In this context, companies must adopt new strategies to adequately respond to the growing expectations and demands of their clientele.
Here are three strategies we recommend setting up as soon as possible, if you haven’t done so already:
Today’s consumers expect every experience with the brand—both omnichannel and digital—to be a frictionless transaction that’s also relevant, connected and customized based on anticipated behaviours and needs. In other words, they expect to get what they want, when they want it.
To be able to offer your customers clientele that kind of experience, companies must absolutely place data at the core of their functions and operations. Three major stages support the data life cycle: collection, transformation and analysis, and activation. To learn more about this issue and deepen your understanding of the kinds of technologies associated with each stage, you should take a look at this excellent article published recently by our Principal Director of Marketing Analytics, Moulaye Traore.
This means you need to integrate a certain degree of automation and intelligence from a variety of data sources into the marketing mix, because data promotes more relevant experiences in one or several digital marketing dimensions.
The 4Cs of the marketing mix still apply, but it’s important to understand that the customer dimension predominates today in order to create stronger, more human connections with brands.
Advertising is a kind of promise from the brand and it is incumbent upon the product, service and customer experience to fulfill it.
The pandemic has accentuated the importance of relationships that unite a company with its clientele, particularly for B2B sales. Faced with a virtual sales environment, businesses were able to maintain conversations with their customers by capitalizing on the strength of their prior relationships. On the other hand, prospecting for new customers required a set of evolved skills focused on value creation through solutions, not products.
In both cases, trust and integrity are fundamental to establishing high-quality relationships with consumers, thereby stimulating dynamism in the marketplace. For sales and marketing managers at B2B organizations, it’s necessary to proceed with a serious overhaul of your talent pool in order to identify the people most able to maintain beneficial relationships in a new world essentially composed of online interactions—a world that relies less on charm than on the quality of your ideas and available solutions. These attentive people, those who design relevant, adapted solutions that respond intelligently to stated requests, will be rewarded for their talent.
Trust also plays a huge role in a B2C context. It forms the basis of the perceived exchange of value between a company and a consumer. Since companies increasingly rely on the personal data they obtain with consumer consent, they must naturally start by complying with regulations for respecting privacy and guaranteeing the security of any information obtained. However, this situation is also a special opportunity for strengthening consumer loyalty and accentuating differentiation in the value proposition of a brand by creating more transparent interfaces for controlling privacy. Consumers can make better, more informed decisions if they can better understand what they are accepting to share with companies. This clarity when it comes to statements and their concrete implications is a sign of honesty in the eyes of consumers, plus it promotes the development of a deeper level of trust between the business and the consumer.
We’ve been hearing for years that technological development benefits from agile cycles instead of linear sequential or cascade approaches (waterfalls). The pandemic created an irreversible trend necessitating that marketing adopt an approach that was just as flexible.
Following the evolution of the context, some companies noticed that their messaging was wrong or that their supply chain wasn’t able to deliver, which immediately created a crisis in their advertising and/or public relations. Creative processes with long lead times and annual budget cycles seemed anachronistic, while the entire traditional approvals dynamic had become a constraint.
Creating a state of mind favourable to marketing agility involves continuous listening to consumers and the identification of their expectations and needs. This openness and reception to expressed needs will be beneficial to any company as a whole, not just in terms of its marketing efforts. In operational terms, this also involves setting up faster decision-making processes and developing greater flexibility in key areas such as creation, budgeting and communications.
Faced with the proliferation of advertising and marketing technologies, it’s easy to focus all your effort on your “technology stack,” which is upending the entire industry. But there’s no point in buying a Ferrari if you only ever drive at 40 km/h.
To ensure your technological architecture produces results, it needs to be connected to a sufficiently vast pool of data to drive its success, the right use cases for producing results and the right approach to empower people. This last requirement is possibly the most important. It requires you to understand how data and technology are used throughout the organization, to ensure that people have the right skills to effectively use both, and that the established measurement approach will contribute to stimulating innovation and success.
If technology, data, human empowerment and use cases are not perfectly balanced, your desired return on investment for your marketing technology may unfortunately never be achieved.
Do you have any questions or need professional guidance in order to overcome certain challenges or adapt to recent changes in the industry? Our team of specialists in digital experience would be happy to give you a hand to make 2022 a prosperous year that propels your business to a whole new level!