By Daniel Newman
In the modern consumer world, today’s customers expect top-notch experiences from reliable brands. Companies must not only meet this need—they must do so while contending with ever-shortening consumer attention spans. Relevance attachment keeps your customers close to your brand by keeping your brand consistently pertinent to their lives.
Improve Customer Experience for Better Digital Transformation
Any retail business needs to offer useful and relevant products to customers. This is increasingly harder to do in today’s fast-paced world, when consumers face countless distractions and trends change daily. Consider the recent Pokémon GO craze: The augmented reality game for mobile devices peaked at 45 million daily active users in mid-July 2016—less than two weeks after its launch—and its popularity began to decline the following month.
If customer-focused businesses want to stay competitive, they must stay relevant to consumers’ changing needs and create memorable, valuable experiences.
Relevance attachment begins with understanding the customer journey. Start by mapping out your customer’s relationship with your brand. However, this isn’t enough – you must also quickly adapt your thinking about that customer journey to changes in the market, customer behaviour, and new trends. There are several ways to do so successfully and each one contributes to relevance attachment.
- Embrace your brand’s uniqueness. The more you stand out to your customers, the more likely they are to remember your brand. Capitalize on what sets your brand apart from competitors, and don’t get complacent about emphasizing those characteristics—in your marketing and in your products, themselves. The modern business world demands agility and a competitive edge to keep your brand in the lead. Always consider—and implement—new ways of showing that your products are different from the rest.
- Stay current. Know what social factors influence your audience—and be ready to adapt to changes in those social factors quickly. Social media is a tremendous boon in this regard—not only can you craft consistent, meaningful interactions with your customer base, you can use it to gain insights in to their future needs. Big data offers tremendous insight into customer behaviours, their changing needs and wants, and what will engage them. Leverage collected data to the greatest effect whenever you can.
- Show your customers they are valued. Customers don’t like to be treated like cattle. Modern consumers favour the brands that make an effort to connect with them on a personal level and show appreciation for their connections and patronage. Don’t stop at simply thanking your customer for a sale with a carbon-copy message—craft a personalized approach to showing your customers you care about them.
- Make it easier to interact with your brand. Whatever you can do to make it easier—even seamless—for consumers to engage with your brand is worth the effort. Your online store and apps should be intuitively designed and easy to navigate. You may be surprised by how many customers don’t complete orders or sign up for email marketing simply because the experience seemed too complicated.
- Encourage tailored experiences. Customers appreciate options. Allow your customers to customize their interactions with your brand. For example, when they fill out the contact form, to join your email list, offer options for email frequency and specific updates.
- Embrace transparency. Your customers will appreciate clarity and honesty. Address customer issues fully, and provide your audience with valuable information and content. Social media plays a big part here. You have an outlet to connect with your customer base on a personal level (and this also carries the potential to generate more customers organically through shared content).
- Stay consistent – not complacent. While there is some truth to the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, doesn’t fix it,” recognize when it’s time to change. Keep your brand on-message with your mission and values, but don’t stagnate. Your brand needs to be flexible enough to change with an evolving consumer base without completely altering your image. Doing so will alienate your oldest customers who appreciate your reliability.
Use Big Data Wisely In Your Quest For Relevance Attachment
The Internet of Things (IoT) and big data have changed just about every industry on the planet. Your ability to leverage consumer data wisely is incredibly important to building relevance attachment, second only to staying current with new technologies. And, in fact, new technologies can help organizations analyze and apply big data metrics in new and more effective ways. Retailers can use big data to their benefit when implementing any of the activities outlined above, from creating ads consumers will remember and share to knowing when it’s time to make changes to a campaign.
Beyond Buyer Personas: Big Data Meets Business Savvy
In years past, retailers used a few measurements to create “personas,” or their usual customer types: The core dedicated buyer, the occasional buyer, the gift-shopper, and the curious newcomer, to name a few common examples.
Retailers crafted these personas based on a few straightforward metrics. Now, the sheer amount of available data has made it possible to tailor a customer experience to a specific customer’s needs and tastes. To stay relevant, figure out how to reach customers on a personal level; big data will be one of your most valuable tools for doing so. But don’t get so bogged down in the analytics that you disregard your own market knowledge and business intuition.
Combine big data with your own experience and creativity to craft campaigns that achieve relevance attachment for your brand as you take your business on the next steps of its continuing digital transformation journey.