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Marketing is a battle for the heart, the head and ultimately the client’s wallet. You enter this battle as a company by being – and remaining – relevant to the customer. Find common ground between your story and the customer’s interest. And even then, conquering the heart of the customer is difficult. Customers are becoming more and more demanding and because of large successful companies such as Coolblue, they expect personalized offers from all companies. The solution: stop selling and start building relationships.

The message is clear: listen to the customer, develop and deliver products and services that satisfy their needs and keep monitoring their loyalty. In many organizations, however, it’s difficult to really get this done.

Firstly, this is caused by the customers themselves, who are constantly looking for added value, have digital skills and are increasingly averse to ads. Organizations continuously have to live up to their expectations.

Secondly, many organizations suffer from silo formation; the sales department doesn’t know what marketing is doing and the customer services department doesn’t receive information about campaigns, to name just a few examples. This makes it difficult to design the customer journey in a way that it adds value for the customer and the company itself. And it’s impossible for these silos to analyze and utilize all available customer data.

Invest in technology

To better listen to the customer, put an end to silos and be able to monitor client behavior even better, organizations invest a lot in technology. No less than 22 percent of the marketing budget goes to technology, market researcher Forrester calculated last year [1]. And they predict this percentage will only go up in the time to come. It’s interesting to see where these investments end up. To know this, we can have a look at the evolution of marketing.

Evolution of marketing

The first step in the evolution of marketing goes from regular spam to personalized spam. The bottom line is that we first sent a random message to a random set of customers. We left that era to go to personalized spam; we knew who we sent the message to, but there was no form of alignment with the specific needs of that customer. Here, too, most organizations have moved away from. They have started customer segmentation and targeting. Now we often know what customers moves and wat they need, and we send targeted messages to the right customer sets. The next steps in the marketing evolution lead to real-time marketing and predictive modeling; techniques with which customer behavior can be accurately predicted and where 1-to-1 offers become reality. That’s the stage we are in now. 

Consistency in channels

The next phase in the marketing evolution is a shift from multichannel to omnichannel where customer experiences across every channel must be consistent and optimal. The offer a customer receives by email must also be in stock in the physical store. If there is only the slightest inconsistency in this, the customer will leave.

A customer comparing prices on his smartphone in a store, will easily go to a competitor for a better deal. The alignment of all available channels, the tuning of campaigns to those channels and the exchange of data with all those channels; it all requires new technologies that consume part of the marketing budget.

 

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Marketing department not designed for the future

Technology has no more boundaries in the execution and follow-up of 1-on-1 omnichannel marketing campaigns and customer experiences. The question is whether organizations benefit from these opportunities. Forrester concluded that only 5 percent of marketers use a comprehensive automated marketing solution in their research. The follow-up of marketing campaigns is therefore not optimal and only limited use can be made of the automated sending of marketing communications via various channels. This indicates where the investments should really end up.

Interaction and dialogue

Investing in 1-to-1 omnichannel marketing campaigns enables the marketing department to grow along with the organization. From mass campaigns to segmented campaigns and from event-driven marketing campaigns to campaigns that guide the customer on his customer journey across different channels.

Manual shifts to automatic, and the interaction style becomes personal being increasingly based on dialogue. Where communication first got stuck in just sending information, it’s now also about receiving. The sales department gets promoted to be a relationship builder, 1 on 1.

We like to help you building, whatever stage of the marketing evolution your organization is in. Are you willing to enter into a relationship with us?

[1] Forrester’s Business Technographics, 2017

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Jordy is our marketing Practice Manager. He helps customers create personal and relevant customer experiences.