We are living in a world of constant streams of information. There’s the physical world, where we are constantly exposed to various messaging; whether billboards, outdoor advertisements, radio, or TV. And there’s the virtual world (internet) where the flood of information is a 24/7 thing.
From a marketer’s point of view, we being bombarded with messages from all directions is where the challenge lies.
Long gone are the days when marketers would just ‘push’ messages to the masses, and they would accept it all without complaints. Equally long gone are the days when the market would buy whatever marketers told it to buy. Times have changed.
As the world evolves, so do people. New ways are found to consume products and services, alternative ways of connecting with the companies and brands behind products and services are discovered – and in the midst of the much talked digital revolution, we have become more demanding consumers than ever.
Emotional intelligence and empathy, two E’s to apply to the strategies when planning marketing campaigns, in order to make them stand out and drive effective results and traction amongst the desired target market.
Getting deeper into the customer’s head certainly requires more time and thought when thoroughly trying to understand the target audience. The practice of putting oneself in the customer’s shoes, quickly shows that instead of pushing whatever message and product at hand, a permission to provide solutions to the customer’s problems should be the aim – an idea presented by Seth Godin already in the late 2000s.
‘Me-marketing’ can be fuelled by re-targeting
However, a big part of the marketing industry is still focusing on ‘push’ marketing. Sure, the methods of targeting the correct audiences have got more sophisticated than they were at the start of the millennium; nonetheless, the tactics used are still not in line with the fast evolving savvy consumer.
What do we want?
As a digital marketing agency, or as a marketer in an in-house team, we strive to drive relevant visitors to our own or our client’s websites, social media pages and other properties that can be tagged and tracked online. We target and we re-target.
But do we truly know how our customers behave, what their wants and needs are, and indeed – are we the ones to fulfil those needs?
Let’s take a step back and evaluate why, as marketers, we are acting the way we are:
- We want to sell
- We want to engage
- We want to create communities
- We want to keep retention high
The ways this is being done, are still not granular or good enough for the savvy consumers of today. Even more, consumer insights are needed (without being creepy), and the timing to offer the correct products or services needs to be even better.
Transforming statistics into individuals
The collected data, numbers and statistics within our reporting dashboards, don’t mean much if it can’t be transformed into people and pools of intentions, and if accurate enough predictions can’t be drawn. Behind all the data points, there are individuals with personalities, views, opinions, experiences and cultures.
Perhaps digging deeper into the customer’s mind sounds like an impossible and time-consuming task, but as the consumers and ways of doing business evolve, us marketers need to find better, more powerful and efficient ways of delivering to this self-conscious, savvy consumer.
Make your customer your brand ambassador
Now that we know we are here to serve (yes, serve) our customers in a more in-depth manner, let’s combine a list of core principles to help ensure we continue to get to know our customers better:
Listen to your customer
Execute a comprehensive market research piece on where your potential customers spend their time, which online platforms they use on a regular basis and what needs and wants they want to be fulfilled (by you).
Ensure the products and services you are selling, are actually enhancing and improving your customer’s life (whether professional or personal). It’s not just about selling a product or service anymore; it’s about being part of the solution.
The law of attraction
Rather than ranting and raving about how good and great your products and services are, try to attract the customer towards you because you stand for something bigger than just a brand name. Define your values, mission and purpose.
Respect your customer
Always keep your customers at the core of everything you do. Don’t go overboard with re-targeting, upselling or getting over-confident in thinking they will always come back to you. It’s a relationship that goes both ways. Just like a marriage, you need to work on your customer relationships – continuously, with empathy and emotion in mind.
Saija Mahon is the founder and CEO of the digital media agency Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd. She is also the founder of Lonely Robot Web Design agency and The Caviar Club. Mahon lives in London, UK.