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In this hyper digitally connected space, where everyone is inundated with messages from emails, social chats, advertising and more, businesses are facing challenges when it comes to getting attention from their target market. Research shows that people are reaching ‘fatigue’ from communication overload and constant engagement on digital platforms.
There are varying viewpoints on digital consumption and its consequences on health. What we do know is that humans are social beings who need to interact with one another. Relationships and positive social communities are generally key factors for overall happiness. Statistics show an increasing number of people are engaging with one another on social platforms.
How can businesses lead in a hyper engaged market?
Digital marketing has always been about relevance, adding value and increasing customer engagement to drive growth. I have written a few key blogs covering the basics of marketing strategies such as brand authenticity, clear communication, unique business value proposition, social responsibility, exceptional customer experience and interactive marketing strategies.
The change we are seeing on a macro-level is that consumers are hyper engaged on various digital platforms. Before we look at trends, let us examine the market from a business standpoint.
Communications is not slowing down but increasing from social media conversations, messaging apps, live video streaming and so much more. For businesses, this means your consumers are hyper interacting with one another on digital platforms.
Harvard Business Review (HBR), recently published an insightful article that reviews how ‘Digital Growth Depends More on Business Models than Technology.’ The article explains, ‘a digital platform, or a digital solution, may enable a new epoch of transformative growth, but when you get under a company’s hood and look to see what’s really driving it, the engine of transformation turns out to be its business model.’
Most businesses are facing some challenges in incorporating emerging digital technologies. Artificial Intelligence (AI), smart machine learning and a hyper digitally connected future is here. The HBR article notes that ‘any consumer or service company that doesn’t have a digital component certainly should…But the key to transformational growth is still a powerful and coherent business model.’ Harvard Business Review
Moving into 2019, business competitiveness will be based on strategic business modelling, integrating new digital tools and hyper focused marketing strategies. Key components for growth should be structured around increasing operational business performance, long term growth planning, customer value creation, personalized customer experience strategies and more.
Strategic marketing in a 'hyper everything' world
A key factor for driving business growth is the concept of hyper experiential customer interaction. What businesses need to focus on is to lead with deeper insights, innovation and influence.
Driving substantial and meaningful customer connections will give businesses competitive edge in this hyper connected digital space. Statista research reports that there are 3.4 billion social media users globally, as of October 2018. On average people spend an estimated six hours per day on their digital devices, according to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report, 2018.
Here are key marketing strategies for hyper interaction
Drive deeper connections
Markets change, new tools emerge, new information is discovered and so on. As a result, there are endless buzzwords and trends of the day. What remains constant, is the need for businesses to create and deliver superior customer experiences.
Competitive businesses cannot afford to fall behind by providing poor customer experiences that will inevitably result in decreased brand value. Basically, at the end of the day, a business has to deliver and go beyond what it promised to its customers.
Great customer experience aims to create a fluid and seamless journey from when your customer lands on your website, downloads your app, engages with you on social channels, receives your email, orders your product, chats with customer service or sales, uses your products and more. Each one of your customer touch points has to deliver a consistent, easy and integrated experience.
Mobile apps are enhancing customer experience
According to statistics, there are almost six million apps available worldwide through the Google Play and Apple App stores. Apps can be effective for creating valuable customer experiences based on innovation and usefulness.
Almost every business can extend their services on apps, from restaurants, travel, online commerce, social media, mobile gaming, sports, music, real estate, fitness, health, audio books, mobile TV and much more.
Statista research estimates that mobile apps are expected to generate $188.9 billion global revenue by 2020. Businesses are creating user-friendly mobile apps to enhance customer experiences via mobile devices, increase conversions and sales.
The success of mobile apps depends on key factors such as creativity, ease of use, personalization, on-demand communication, value add and more.
Podcasts are in demand
Podcasts function as ‘internet radio’ based on digital audio files that can be downloaded on the internet from computers and mobile devices. Podcasts sometimes also include video formats and like radio, serial new episodes are created consistently. Most podcasts can be accessed on websites, where show episodes can either be listened to in real time or downloaded for consumption at a later date.
Podcasts are effective in reaching niche target audiences who subscribe to specific podcasts. Most people listen to and follow podcasts based on topics they are interested in. Specialized content means you can get your message across to a ‘narrower’ but highly interested audience.
Chatbots are providing excellent customer experience
Many companies have integrated chatbots into their customer service and digital channels. Chatbots are a valuable communication asset that helps drive marketing strategy and improve customer support. It is estimated that 85 percent of interactions will be with Chatbots in 2020, according to Gartner, the leading research and advisory firm.
Chatbots are driven by predefined workflows, this helps drive customer engagement and facilitate faster conversions by answering questions or offering suggestions. Use of chat apps has actually surpassed the use of social media apps. Digitally engaged customers expect businesses to be available via chat and messenger apps.
Hyper local geo-targeting
Advertisers find tools such as geo-targeting very useful for reaching specific target markets with highly targeted ads based on locale. Geo-targeting identifies where a target market is located from region down to neighborhoods. With data points from digital devices, it is fairly easy to pinpoint locations, especially from smart devices.
This is very exciting for businesses, brands and services that want to interact with their target market based on location. Innovative brands are finding new ways to create interactive customer experiences by providing hyper relevant promotions and offers.
Many industries from retail, food restaurants, food stores, beauty shops, car dealers and more, can integrate geo-targeting into their marketing. Most consumers report that they don’t mind sharing their information in order to receive relevant promotions.
Voice search is mainstream
Google data reports that one in five searches are voice-driven. In 2020, fifty percent of online searches will be conducted via voice. Home assistants and voice apps such as Siri, Google Voice, Amazon Echo, Amazon Alexa and more, are an integral part of many people’s lives. We are increasingly relying on tools such as voice search to help us efficiently manage daily tasks.
Voice search is changing how people get information and where they look for information. Google data shows that people are searching for information based on something being ‘near’ them. Target your product or service information around the ‘near me’ concept. Create relevant voice search by including specific tags, descriptions, addresses, proper links, contact information, business listings on google and much more.
Deliver unique brand value
Brand value is created when you deliver exceptional customer experience. If you don’t meet customer expectations, the value of your brand will decrease and so will your market share. Your brand promise not only has to be meaningful but you also need to ensure you meet commitments at every customer interaction.
Competitive brands are hyper focused on creating experiences that matter to their audiences. In my blog, how to be authentic and build trust, I explained that consumers are looking for genuine experiences and interactions. Consumers don’t want to simply buy products and services, they want to relate to their favorite brands.
The type of causes that you decide to champion should be unique according to your business vision and aspirations. Starbucks, the leading coffee brand and chain, focuses on creating a community experience where ‘it’s not unusual to see people coming to Starbucks to chat, meet up or even work. We’re a neighborhood gathering place, a part of the daily routine – and we couldn’t be happier about it.’ Starbucks
For the 12th year in a row, Starbucks has been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute (2018). To stay true to their community and global ethical standards, Starbucks constantly creates initiatives such as 'making coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product by doing their part to improve the lives of 1 million people in coffee communities around the world, building and operating the world’s largest green retail business, minimizing environmental footprint and inspiring others to do the same, strengthening communities by welcoming all and creating impact on issues that matter and many more intiatives.
Hyper purpose driven partnerships
Strategic marketing is more about making an impact where it matters most rather than aiming for mass level ‘hype’ marketing.
In order to be effective, work with the right partners from niche agencies, influencers, consultants, digital experts, social cause groups, industry thought leaders and more.
There are no set rules such as ‘big is best’ or ‘mass attention’ leads to increased profitability. Be selective and focus on how to drive value with hyper targeted strategies. Marketing like everyone else, on every platform with generic messages, will most likely deliver poor results.
Collaborate with partners who are specialized and can offer you specific services to help you reach your objectives. In a hyper and evolving digital space, businesses have to hyper target their marketing and create innovative customer experience strategies. Your partners should align with your mission and add authentic ideas to increase your business competitiveness.
What can you do now?
Create more personalized and experiential marketing initiatives across all channels, such as websites, social media, mobile experience, instore experience and digital marketing.
The aim is deeper and meaningful connections with your target market in order to build loyal relationships. This means you need to be hyper connected to your target market where they are spending their time.
Gather smarter insights that will help you drive deeper customer interaction. AI, data science, machine learning and predictive analytics are tools that marketers are leveraging to create hyper targeted marketing. AI based insights means marketers can dig deeper into their customer’s buying cycle, analyze behavior patterns, predict expectations and so much more.
In 2019, we can expect evolving trends in technology, Artificial Intelligence and digital platforms. Leading businesses will not only have to keep up with changing trends but they also need to be hyper innovative and deliver exceptional experiential marketing.
“Competitive advantage is a company’s ability to perform in one or more ways that competitors cannot or will not match.” Professor Philip Kotler
Get in touch with me if you are interested in deeper marketing insights and driving growth in a hyper engaged market.