The goods and services industries are under pressure to deliver no excuse except best as customers get more aware of their exact need(s) and the choices or close compromises available to satisfy that/those need(s).
What makes this even more daunting for the producer of goods or the service provider is the fact that the consumer is increasingly getting a voice and a cocktail of global platforms to tell the experience as it is even in real time. This means by a single tweet, comment, your brand promise could be rubbished and all your strategic metrics could come falling on each other faster than a pack of dominos, chief of which are sales and/or market disconnection.
We’ve witnessed cases of telecom customers/subscribers switching networks as a result of unsolicited messages sometimes with premium billing and/or other notifications and the industry regulator working on legislation to curb the menace.
We’ve witnessed consumers in the utility space resist upward tariff adjustments as a result of poor service delivery and the industry regulator advocating compromises
We’ve witnessed consumers in the Portland cement industry as a result of all the negatives associated with a monopoly; welcome the entry of a more robust competitor to the chagrin of the older players and the industry regulator getting caught up in the crossfire.
And last but not least, we saw from the just ended general elections, just how a phenomenon called “voter apathy” on the part of political consumers can cause woeful losses to many a favorite incumbent.
The scenarios above are largely attributed to the neglect of the three key anchors in the marketing toolkit causing organizations to lose touch with their base and losing that base.
1.Context is Understanding. Understanding the customer to the core (360 degrees personal),their behaviors, indulgences, motivations, inclinations, demography, location (physical and/or digital) and making practical sense out of all that to elicit an action that will be patronized. Here is where you have intelligence enough to answer the Why? How? What? When?, Who? etc. with regards to the customer.
2.Content is the specific narrative, the message, the treatment, the offer made to the customer or the segmented target market with a specific contextual knowledge of the customer. It must be both valuable and relevant to this context.
3.Connectivity is the determination and the choice of where? (Platform/medium), on what? (Gadget/tool/format) to whom? (Profile/segment), when and how long? (Timing) with what (narrative/message/offer) …all powered by the knowledge from Context and the tracking of responses for improvements.
An effective customer experience must entice the customer at any one or all of the five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch) depending on the product or service being marketed to resonate and build that deeper relationship with the customer to effect buying and repeats of same.
For an economy that shrunk from US$38.5 billion recorded in 2014 to US$36.7 billion in 2015, a difference of $1.8 billion, (GSS), Organizations are better off doubling up on getting the context, content and connectivity in marketing to customers right if they are serious about plugging the bleeding in experience, subscriptions and overall sales performance.
Retention efforts in 2017 must be approached by organizations as retaining themselves as the goods/service provider of choice for the customer and not the other way round.
This is the only way the three (3) anchors from the strategy point of view will be truly advantageous.