Thanks to the vast quantities of information now available, customers have the ability to make smart choices with speed and agility anytime and anywhere they want.
Not only are they in charge and in full control, but they are also moving faster than most brands. Importantly, they do not differentiate between channels and touchpoints.
But while the customer has become omnichannel, and always on, many brands and marketers still operate a multichannel model, thinking and behaving in a way that suggests the message orbits around the channel. But it doesn’t. It orbits around the customer.
A couple of weeks ago I discussed some key shifts required to move to a genuinely customer-centric model, wherever you sit in the value chain. Here are three more:
1 From channel-first to customer-first
Although customers have truly become omnichannel where they are only concerned about the experience, the story and the value, many brands are still running a channel-first operating model. The question of ‘mobile first?’ or ‘TV first?’ should be irrelevant. Customer do not differentiate between channels and expect a frictionless and seamless experience across them.
2 From customer segments to individuals
The evolution of data and technology has enabled modern marketing to be more precise, relevant, personalised and, most importantly, contextual. Accordingly, it pays to shift thinking from target audiences and customer segments to personalisation, context and predicting behaviour. This requires brands to converge the isolated and fragmented data sets across first-, second- and third-party customer data into a connected, universal customer profile. This profile is channel agnostic and impacts every single touchpoint.
3 From the conscious to the subconscious customer research
Modern marketing demands an end to static, reductive customer research. Many new product launches fail because they assume customers make a conscious decision while buying products. Instead, 90 per cent of the decision making happens in the subconscious, which does not play a role in the standard research set of questions and answers.
Instead, brands should seek to understand customer behaviour, expectations and patterns in real time (or just in time) and use the learning to drive relevant customer experiences that influence and inspire desired behaviour.
One thing is certain: we live and market in a digital world that is now controlled and driven by the customer. For brands to succeed, they must make this customer the hero of their story.
Phil Wickenden is managing director at Cicero Research