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An article in Marketing Mag by Ryan Skinner shows us how important the content marketing role is in supporting customer experience. Ryan is a senior analyst at B2C marketing at Forrester Research. Ryan, ” Valuable customer experiences will be the primary factor differentiating brands that win in the age of the customer, and content marketing has a crucial role to play in supporting customer experience.” If we want to win the custom of our clients we should adopt a strategic approach to it. Think carefully before we launch into our proposal.
Any approach that makes it easier and more enjoyable for our customers will put you in a winning position. The decisions made by consumers online is growing at a very fast rate. Research from Forrester shows that the majority of purchases involving online research, will be made by 2020. Because of this, content will play a major role in influencing those decisions. Therefore interactions with brand and the content therein will help customers understand the information you are promoting. What can we do to make their experience a fruitful and enjoyable one? Ryan discusses four key principals, the basis of this strategic approach, to assist us in creating the new marketing experience that is content driven.
Ryan, “Marketers must align their content strategy with customer experience to achieve a number of goals:
* Provide valuable content that meets customers’ needs
Listen to customers when they express their need in what they expect from a brand. This is the starting point for marketeers in designing their content programs.
* Provide valuable content that makes customers’ lives a bit easier
Take steps to direct customers to where they can expect to find the answers they want. They won’t always ask for this, but if provided they will appreciate the effort made in the first place. Think about implicit and unexpressed needs or desires making up the second category of content.
* Provide valuable content that differentiates the brand by generating positive emotions
Consider here to provide experiences that your customers will not necessarily expect. To do this move away from the information data, that is important, and provide unexpected happy experiences or empathy. The idea here is to cater for developing positive emotions. Additionally as a marketeer you must plan for the lifecycle of the customers needs. It is not good enough to provide the set up for show, buy and deliver. More is at stake. Customers will respond to programs that deliver beyond show and buy propositions. Provide the facility for them to communicate with you at all times during the life cycle program that you develop.
Ryan highlights the following key principals to assist in this regard.
* Identify where you fail to meet needs in your customers’ life cycle
Ryan, ” Many brands, following a content audit will find that they’re failing customers in fulfilling their most basic information needs – the foundation for a good customer experience.”
* Increase your brand’s responsiveness to explicit or implicit needs
Ryan, ” Customers will tell you what they want, either directly or via data that reveals their behaviour.
* Identify moments for brand differentiation via ease or positive emotions
Ryan, ” Creative approaches to content can allow brands to set themselves apart, such as the first airlines that played with humorous approaches to safety videos.”
* Look beyond touch points you own to answer customers’ needs
Ryan, ” Marketeers should not chase a direct relationship with their customers at all costs, as many customer needs will be better served elsewhere.” We are living in an age where customer experience is today’s most important battleground for competitive differentiation and valuable content.
We find here there is no point developing expensive, colourful campaigns designed to attract but not deliver on customers’ needs. More on detail after researching what customers really want is the direction to take.
Always cover the four key proposals put forward by Ryan Skinner when developing marketing plans. Don’t forget that informative and reliable content are the key propositions in this endeavour. Get into the habit of thinking beyond what your customers have asked for. Surprise and delight them by catering for their unrealised needs. Regular follow up and examination of the success or otherwise of your content marketing offerings is paramount in supporting the success of the program.
Customer and content – together like socks and shoes.