January 16th is the first Get to Know Your Customers Day of 2020, an event that actually happens four times a year, on the third Thursday of every quarter. This global celebration offers marketers a swift reminder that understanding your audience is integral to their ongoing success.
If you don’t make the effort to know your customers on a personal level, your digital marketing efforts are likely to become flatter than a glass of week-old coca-cola from a children’s party.
If you fail to reach out to your customers with personalized messaging and tailored experiences, your brand credibility will quickly diminish, as will your audience.
The one-size-fits-all promotional approach of Yester-decade will not do—and while this may appear obvious, as marketers we could all do with a little reminder of this from time to time. Speaking of reminders…
Why you should get to know your customers
When you’re creating content marketing strategies or campaigns to promote your brand, it’s easy to get carried away with creative elements, forgetting the specific needs, desires, and preferences in the process.
But, consumers are the lifeblood of your business, and getting under their skin is the only way to engage, inspire, and connect in a way that is both meaningful and valuable in equal measures.
- 96% of consumers state that customer service is an integral factor in their loyalty choices towards brands and businesses. (Link to PDF here)
- Businesses that lead in their customer experience efforts outperform laggards by almost 80%.
- 90% of leading CEOs feel that the customer has the most significant impact on their business.
- 91% of today’s consumers, particularly digital natives, are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.
Know your Customers: 7 Essential Ideas
We’ve refreshed ourselves in the power of understanding your audience. Now, in honor of Get to Know Your Customers Day, here we explore ways you can get under the skin of your consumers and enjoy increased marketing success.
1. Get analytical across touchpoints
In the digital age, we are literally swimming in data. Naturally, consumer metrics and insights are gold dust to brands looking to understand their customer base in a way that is deep and meaningful. But, are you utilizing your data to its maximum capacity?
While Google Analytics is integral to extracting value from your various demographic insights, drilling down into additional data sources across touchpoints will give you a panoramic insight into your customers’ habits, preferences, and behaviors.
By using a mix of social media analytics tools as well as mobile data platforms to capture a host of in-depth insights across your primary consumer touchpoints, you’ll be able to build profiles or personas that improve your marketing communications exponentially.
To help you in your quest for insight-driven enlightenment, here’s our guide to extracting value from customer data.
2. Spark up a dialogue
Without a doubt, one of the most direct and priceless ways of getting to know your customers is by starting a conversation with them.
By meeting your consumers where they are, you will be able to understand how they connect with their peers while asking them valuable questions in a way that is organic rather than intrusive. And, when you ask the right questions, you will get the right answers—the kind that will help you improve your brand experience significantly.
From surveys and polls to social listening, there are many ways to engage with your customers where they’re most comfortable—and get to know them. But, perhaps one of the most powerful ways of sparking meaningful consumer dialogues and speaking your customers’ language, is with user-generated content (UGC).
User-generated content builds credibility and trust while offering a deeper insight into the minds of your customers. That said, it’s worth your time and investment, particularly if you’re looking to appeal to the Gen Z population.
3. Respond to positive and negative reviews. Personally.
Expanding on the previous point: concerning customer reviews, it always pays to respond to both positive and negative testimonials in a productive, timely fashion.
Regardless of where they’re posted, you should remain dedicated to providing personal responses to customer reviews in the public domain. Doing so will humanize your brand, showcase your commitment to the customer experience, and provide you with even more conversational insights.
90% of consumers confirm that online reviews have a direct impact on their buying decisions. As such an integral trust signal, providing consistent responses is essential—and doing so will open you up to a wealth of fresh customer insight.
4. Host an event or an experience
In terms of knowing your customers, experiential marketing is a very rewarding pursuit—if you get it right.
Research suggests that Millennials value experiences over material possessions. And, while Generation Z leans a little more towards innovative gadgets and cool products in terms of their consumer philosophy, this ‘woke’ cohort cares about rewarding brand experiences.
If you hold a brand event or create a tangible experience (physical or virtual), you will essentially build a platform to share your brand value with your customers using a personal approach. You will also be able to understand segments of your audience in a way that goes beyond digital stats and metrics alone.
A brand dedicated to driving innovation, Volkswagen has delivered many experiential campaigns in recent years—and it’s Piano Staircase initiative is no exception.
Placing its customers at the heart of the campaign, VW transformed a Stockholm subway station staircase into a life-sized pressure-activated piano.
Based on the VW’s ‘Fun Theory’, the campaign is based on the concept that if something’s fun, people are more likely to engage with it.
As the video suggests, 66% more people tried the stairs rather than taking the escalator. Moreover, the video alone has earned over 1.2 million YouTube views to date.
While this particular campaign is over a decade old, it’s worth mentioning due to its enduring relevance—a testament to the power of the experience.
With cohesive messaging, solid brand placement, and immersive innovation, it’s possible to demonstrate your brand values, gather invaluable consumer information, while connecting with a wider, more engaged audience.
5. Tailor your deals, discounts, and incentives
Circling back to the importance of personalization for a moment: if you offer your customers tailored deals and discounts, you’re likely to foster brand loyalty which, in turn, will give you the opportunity to get to know them better.
The vast majority of today’s consumers—72% to be exact—will only interact with personalized offers, deals, discounts, or incentives.
What choice do you have? Get personal with your deals and discounts (they may just be the window to your customers’ souls).
6. Start a mobile loyalty scheme
Speaking of fostering trust and building long-term relationships, creating a customer loyalty scheme will not only boost your consumer retention rates but you will also open up a continual portal of communication between your brand and your audience.
83% of customers state that loyalty programs make them more likely to keep engaging with particular brands. The likes of Amazon, Starbucks, and TOMS have all earned a great deal of success through their innovative loyalty programs—gathering a wealth of priceless consumer insights in the process.
Find out more by exploring our guide to the enduring power of customer loyalty schemes.
7. Host a ‘day in the life’ contest
Last but certainly not least, we offer another swift nod to user-generated content.
Showing active appreciation to your customers will encourage trust and loyalty which, in turn, will make your customers more likely to engage with your brand across touchpoints. And, hosting a ‘day in the life’ contest is an effective way to do so.
This is a path that isn’t particularly well-trodden, but by being bold and becoming an early adopter, you stand to turn heads while gaining plenty of social media traction.
By creating a carefully-crafted hashtag, choosing a social media platform to host the competition, and offering your customers an incentive to share a day in their life, you will gain a wealth of insight into your prospects, giving your brand awareness a boost in the process. Give it a try.
“We don’t want to push our ideas on to customers, we simply want to make what they want.”Laura Ashley