Marketers and brand developers are often cited as “selling things” and creating demand to place products in consumers’ hands when they do not necessarily need it. Consumerism in today’s society is incredibly high in affluent societies and there is no longer a clear distinction between a want and a need. In fact, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has jokingly been redesigned and shared widely on social media platforms to cite WIFI as a necessary function before any other human need.
Have marketers done such a good job in creating demand for internet connectivity that WIFI is more important than Food and Shelter?
The question that begs answering then, is have marketers in fact done such a great job in getting people to buy stuff that the deeper meaning in all of this is negated? Is it really about rands and dollars in profit and sales? What about the impact all of this has on human beings (not human wantings) in terms of human consciousness, on civilisation, on human values, on caring for the planet and protecting our environment?
Is Marketing Bad?
Marketing in and of itself is not bad. It’s a necessary tool, which can be used with responsibility or not. If used well, it can get medication into the hands of the unhealthy, saving lives. It can get food into the hands of the poor, saving communities. It can get knowledge to those who need the education to make better choices, allowing greater freedom. Marketing, when used well, can be very powerful.
But, conversely, marketing can also trick consumers into believing untruths and half truths. Messaging can be deceptive, and play into human neuroses that buying a particular product or brand can make the reader have a better life – think of the big screen smoking TV commercials so well known in the 1980s – (eg. the Peter Styvesant Ad 1980).
The question to ask – Is it really Win-Win?
The question that should be placed ahead of each new product launched, each new marketing campaign run and each promotion done, should be “How does this benefit the consumer in a meaningful way?” If there is any doubt that the message being sent undermines someone or is a sale based on driving profits more than consumer value, the motive should be questioned. Is the short term gain in this really worth the long term loss. Because consumers will always and ultimately eventually want what it good for their personal growth and something that helps better their families and communities.
If there is any WIN-LOSE situation, whether short term or long term, the business should be reassessed.
Marketing for Good
You may be thinking, this is all very well and good, but not realistic. The world turns on profits not on goodwill. And this is where I challenge you.
Why should it continue to be this way? If as business people, consumers, shoppers, human beings with hearts and souls, we want change, we should be the custodians to this change.
The choice and responsibility lies with us. In each decision, in each brand, in each marketing campaign, we have a choice of how we communicate and what we do. Let’s make it good. Let’s make it better.
Customer Relationship Management is the relationship between a seller and buyer. It is a holistic process of identifying, attracting, differentiating and retaining customers. The process involves all members of a company to form a culture of relationship building. Customer relationship management is the life blood of a company.
A CRM Guide – Download Here
If you don’t have a social media strategy for the year as yet, now is a good time to start and if you do have one, it’s important to know what’s coming up to ensure that you’re allocating your time and efforts appropriately. Planning for the year is on top of the list for most so here’s what social media managers and business owners should expect in 2017.
1) Video Marketing 360
All you need to do is take a look at how your Facebook stream has changed over the last year to realize how popular video in social media has become; in fact social media is replacing TV: “41% of pay TV subscribers (cable, satellite, etc.) Are planning to either cut back on or sever completely their subscriptions in the near future”(Forbes, 2016).
Video viewing is most popular on smartphones and is estimated to make up 75% of mobile traffic by 2020 (wsj.com). And of coarse mobile is the best for three new trends in video, 360-degree video, spherical video and VR:
At first these videos look normal – if you keep still, however if you move your phone to the right, the video scene will move with you as if your phone was a camera into a new world. Move left and you will see left of what you can see now, spin around and you will get a 360-degree view of where you are standing in the video.
Spherical videos are one up on a 360-degree as you can look upwards to the sky and down to the ground too.
Virtual Reality (VR) is the master suite offering complete submersion in the video world. You no longer have to look through a small smartphone screen, held at arms length, because VR headsets strap your phone like goggles onto your eyes and the video world will not only move with your head but becomes your entire line of sight.
2) Socially Interactive Videos
Part of what makes these three new video trends so attractive is that they are interactive. You can spice up any form of social media (or a blog) by including a quiz, live polls, surveys and contests.
Live video (such as Facebook Live) has kicked off so well because it allows the audience to like and comment as it is being filmed so that questions can be answered in the video or suggestions can be adhered to. For example “could you move the camera a little to the right?”
3) Market Saturation – Reaching the right audience
People like to be included and entertained but they also have very limited time and there is so much on the net calling for their attention.
As marketing in social media becomes increasingly saturated, to reach customers organically gets harder and harder and businesses will pay to get their content seen.
If you are going to pay to get seen you want to make sure that every rand is well spent. Offering products or information to people who are already looking for these answers is the best way to go.
4) On the go Apps and CTA
If you want to keep an audience on social media or in content marketing, you need to be respectful of their time and make life easier, better and faster.
E-commerce on social media
One example of this is social commerce. Previously social media led buyers in store or to an e-commerce site but wait for a new page to load when you can click buy right there? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. have all included a ‘buy now button’ to place next to your content.
Waiting times, limited hours and public holidays, just wont cut it for customers who are used to being connected to all the answers 24/7. Chatbots are AI (Artificially Intelligent) programs that can take the role of a sales assistant – only they don’t need days off!
5) Native – People Are Selective
As audiences become more and more ad savvy, assaultive advertising can do more damage than good to your brand. Businesses are therefore moving towards offering people useful and quality content and then subtly weaving their products within this.
Other ways you can make advertising less assaultive are:
People build better relationships with other people than with abstract brands. People are drawn to brands through positive communication with employees over email or text but also enjoy content posted by a particular person. For example, a poem by an employee.
Even better than hearing about a business from a person, is getting a recommendation by someone you trust and admire. You Tube stars and other celebs recommendations are incredibly powerful because fans believe that the star would not work with the brand without truly believing in it.
People are becoming more and more selective about what they spend their time on and more and more discerning between sites and content that add value to their life and those that don’t.
The most important thing will therefore be to continue to create engaging, innovative and interesting content that can be found easily and navigated intuitively.
Prana Social Media Trends 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfX4gjcj1GA
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the experience customers have with your brand. A customer journey is not as simple as you offering something and your customers buying it. Customer journeys are complex and in today’s integrated and technology-focused world customers come into contact with your business in a multitude of ways and from many different starting points.
Becoming customer centric means ensuring all customer facing functions provide a consistent seamless experience – read more about how the Customer Journey Map can benefit your brand here. Journey mapping helps bring customers stories to life. It challenges preconceptions, and can help change perceptions, acting as a call to action and contributing to a culture change. The insights that it generates can help shape strategy and policy, leading to a better customer experience and more efficient government. It can transform businesses into customer centric businesses giving them competitive advantage and longevity. Remember a customer journey is centred on your customers, and should thus be drawn up involving your customers.
There are certain customer journey must-have’s, such as:
- Personas: the main characters that illustrate the needs, goals, thoughts, feelings, opinions, expectations, and pain points of the user.
- Timeline: a finite amount of time (e.g. 1 week or 1 year) or variable phases (e.g. awareness, decision-making, purchase, renewal).
- Emotion: peaks and valleys illustrating frustration, anxiety, happiness etc.
- Touchpoints: highlights the customer actions and interactions with the organization. WHAT the customer are doing.
- Channels: where interaction takes place and the context of use (e.g. website, native app, call center, in-store). This is the WHERE they are interacting.
- Moments of truth – An interaction that leaves a lasting impression (positive/ frustrating)
The following steps can help you draw up your customer journey map.
1. Define your objectives
Identify what it is that you want to accomplish – for instance, do you want to fix current problems or build a new experience?
2. Clarify ownership
“From the start, you need to know who will own what part of the outcome,”
3. Conduct Internal Research
Review all relevant user research, which includes both qualitative and quantitative findings to provide insights into the customer experience. This could include customer support/complaint logs, web analytics, social media listening, and competitive intelligence.
4. Conduct Customer Research
Speak to different target customer segments using methods such as customer interviews, ethnography & contextual inquiry, customer surveys and competitor reviews.
5. Touchpoint and Channel brainstorms
As a team, generate a list of the customer touchpoints and the channels on which those touchpoints occur today. Then brainstorm additional touchpoints and/or channels that can be incorporated in the future journeys you will be mapping. For example, the touchpoint could be “pay a bill”, and the channels associated with that touchpoint could be “pay online”, “pay via mail” or “pay in person”.
6. Draw up empathy map
Empathy maps are a depiction of the various facets of a persona and his or her experiences in a given scenario. Empathy maps provide a deeper understanding of the customer’s experiences, drawing out surprising insights into what customers need. The goal is to understand the persona’s experience, specifically focusing on what they’re thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing, saying and doing.
7. Brainstorming and drawing up affinity diagram
The goal of brainstorming is to generate as many ideas as possible in a short period of time. This involves organising ideas and concepts. Affinity diagramming helps us shift from casting a wide net in exploring many possibilities, to gaining focus on the right solutions for this audience. All team members should put their ideas generate, have someone sort the ideas into categories and label them. As a group, begin to consider where you might combine, refine, and remove ideas to form a cohesive vision of the future customer experience.
8. Sketch or draft the journey
It’s now time to put together all the pieces: timeline, touchpoints, channels, emotional highs and lows, and all the wonderful new ideas the team generated for how to improve the future customer journey.
You could bring in a graphic designer who can transform your journey map sketch into an impressive artefact that you could use to share with colleagues across the organisation.
10. Start executing
Remember to always keep it simple. A customer journey map is not meant to be remain a fancy document it is meant to be executed and should be understood and executed by everyone in the organisation.
The first thing to remember is that there is no standard blueprint when creating a customer journey map. This is unique to each company; however the above guidelines will help you get started. Customer journey mapping has a positive effect on customer satisfaction and service levels, increases loyalty and your competitiveness, and in turn your bottom line.
Want to know more?
Contact a consultant at Prana on email@example.com
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the experience customers have with your brand. A customer journey is not as simple as you offering something and your customers buying it. Customer journeys are complex and in today’s integrated and technology-focused world customers come into contact with your business in a multitude of ways and from many different starting points. Customer journeys might start from an ATL campaign, referral, search, social media, customer service enquiry, direct marketing campaign, in-store, banner advert, the options are endless. Companies need to ensure that every customer’s experience is a good one, as today’s customers are fully informed and switching between brands is easy and fast, and leaving a bad review on a brand has the potential to reach thousands in seconds.
Therefore it is vital to map out every possible experience and touch point customers may have with your brand. A customer journey means stepping into your customer’s shoes and seeing and experiencing it from their point of view. This will give you the knowledge of how well you are actually servicing your customers, and highlight points which need improvement.
Customer journey mapping allows brands to develop product roadmaps, assisting them in deciding what’s next. When you map out how your customers explore your products, it becomes very evident where they hung up and what they are missing. You start to see what they see, and from there you see the holes. Customer journey maps makes it easy to identify the low hanging fruit and the easy wins, and can help you decide what enhancements you could make. Customer journey maps help us bring different teams together for a common goal: the customer experience. This is essential in customer centric organisations.
There are many reasons why customer journey mapping is vital for your organisation. Here are a few of these reasons:
- It provides valuable information about your customers:
Customers are the livelihood of your business, they are your bread and butter, and without them your business cannot exist. Therefore, it is very important to know who your customers are, where they came from and what they are trying to achieve, why they made certain choices and why they abandoned others. It helps you to accurately define your target market, smooth out your sales process and identify the sweet spot where the customer’s need is met by your offering.
- It improves your competitive position and encourages brand advocates, who share their brand experience
A positive customer experience is important in that customers are savvy and have the power choose between competing companies. A bad customer experience will not only cost your business a sale, it could result in bad publicity. Customers talk, they rate your business, leave a review and read up on other customer’s reviews. Customers’ opinions hold a higher power than the brands own voice – in fact 67% more effective! According to research by Nielsen, 67% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase a product after a friend or family member shared it on social media. Word-of-mouth is not only the strongest sale tool and does not directly cost your business much money.
Furthermore, a satisfied customer is more likely to return to your brand rather than use a competitor product. A recent study by White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that 80% of consumers would pay more for a product or service to ensure a superior customer experience.
- It improves customer satisfaction
According to Ross Beard, customer experience is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions for the purpose of meeting or exceeding customer expectations, thereby, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.
A report by Mckinsey (2014) found that companies focused on maximising satisfaction, with regard to the entire customer journey, have potential to increase customer satisfaction by 20%.
A good customer experience will be a point of differentiation from your competitors. Creating an experience that truly impresses customers and exceeds expectations ensures that they will want to continue doing business with you. After all, 80% of your company’s future revenues come from just 20% of your current customers.
- It creates customer stages
To determine what the behavioral stages your customers go through when getting to know your product, service, and brand. If you know how your customers move through the sales funnel, you will know where they leave the sales process, where they experience difficulty, where and why they abandoned the process. This helps determine what works and what doesn’t. This will not only ensure you give your customers a better experience but also achieve you more sales. It will not only identify where and why customers dropped off, but also offer you the opportunity to fix this and resulting a higher sales achieved.
Traditional customer journey model
Becoming customer centric means ensuring all customer facing functions provide a consistent seamless experience. Journey mapping helps bring customers stories to life. It challenges preconceptions, and can help change perceptions, acting as a call to action and contributing to a culture change. The insights that it generates can help shape strategy and policy, leading to a better customer experience and more efficient government. It can transform businesses into customer centric businesses giving them competitive advantage and longevity.
The big question then, is how do you apply this in your organisation?
Join us next month, as we explore How To Create Your Journey Map!
An infographic focused on women, both in terms of Online Behaviours and Shopping Behaviours. Learn about the online woman and understand the consumer to benefit your business. Here’s some insights on the South African female market.