We live in a digital age, that is indisputable. But what comes along with the digital age? An empowered customer.
Think about it; in the past customers were at the mercy of what information the seller wanted to provide. Now, through the combination of the internet and the devices that access it, customers are enabled to obtain whatever information they want, whenever they want it. Customer feedback is now a public and instantaneous activity. Purchasing can be done anywhere on any device. The seller no longer holds the power; it has been shifted in to the hands of the customer.
So, what does this mean for marketers…? It’s all about the customer relationship!
As marketers, we must now be entirely focused on our customers and their journey. We must understand not only who our customers are, but what they want out of the relationship they have with our company. They may be buying a product, but we must sell a relationship. It is the marketing team’s responsibility to make their customers feel like they are involved in a dialogue. Customers want to know they have a voice. So how do you create the dialogue?
There are numerous social media listening tools available to marketers; many of which are free. Tools like Hootsuite, Google Alerts and Social Mention allow marketers to track brand mentions, trending topics and influencers in your company’s space. These tools allow marketers to monitor not only reactions to our products and company, but also to trends in our industry and influencers in our space. They help us understand what our customers and potential customers want to know before making a purchase decision.
Listening cannot stop there. Yes, having the information is valuable, but only if we use it to our benefit. Understanding trends, topics of interest, and sentiment enables marketers to create relevant content. This is how we let our customers know we are listening. We listen to what they want, and then we deliver what they’re asking for. By delivering relevant content we grow the relationship our customers have with our brand and create brand preference.
Engaging with customers is more powerful than you may believe. You can engage via social media, on reviews, or directly via your sales and customer success teams. This takes the dialogue to the next level and lets your customers know that they, as an individual, are important to your company – leading to customer retention.