Jan 6, 2023
Customers can make or break your brand. The ultimate goal of a great marketer is to have strong brand awareness, great customer reviews, and loyal customers that keep coming back (and push others to do the same).
If you don’t make the effort to know your customers, your digital marketing campaigns 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 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 once upon a time will no longer do — and while this may appear obvious, as marketers we could all do with a little reminder of this from time to time.
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.
Now that you understand the power of understanding your audience, let's look at 7 great ways to get under the skin of your consumers and use those insights to drive campaign performance.
In the digital age, we are swimming in data. Naturally, consumer metrics and insights are gold dust to brands looking to understand their customer base in a way that's deep and meaningful. But, are you making the most of your data?
While Google Analytics is integral to extracting value from your various demographic insights (now operating on the interface GA4 - read this guide for more details). It helps you drill down into additional data sources across touchpoints and will give you a panoramic insight into your customers’ habits, preferences, and behaviors.
By using a mix of social media analytics tools and 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 and help you measure social media ROI.
Read: To help you in your quest for insight-driven enlightenment, here’s our guide to extracting value from customer data.
One of the most direct and effective 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'll 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) (check out these great UGC examples).
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.
This also ties into influencer marketing - a great way to tap into new and engaged communities. The influencer marketing economy is bigger than ever with nearly three-quarters of marketers planning to use influencer marketing in 2023, a figure set to grow to about 90 percent in 2026 according to eMarketer data.
Read: 'How Brands Can Take on Social Issues on Social Media' to find out how some companies are building a loyal customer base by speaking out.
It always pays to respond to 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 more conversational insights.
According to Oberlo, 9 out of 10 consumers consult reviews when considering a local business while 59 percent use Google to find and read reviews. So reviews are an integral trust signal, providing consistent responses is essential—and doing so will open you up to a wealth of fresh customer insight.
So good or bad, take time to get back to customers. This can be a simple "thanks for your feedback" or providing a solution to their problem or issue.
Read: 'How to Manage Online Customer Reviews' to get insight into how to deal with negative and positive comments.
In terms of knowing your customers, experiential marketing is a very rewarding tactic —if you get it right.
Customers today are more demanding and not only want personalized content and messaging but also experiences. Expectations are high for brands as 72 percent of consumers want them to be positive contributors to society while 62 percent want them to connect with consumers according to Sprout Social research.
Brands with big budgets can offer amazing experiences such as Nike's recent foray into the metaverse letting people design and sell sneakers. But there are also opportunities for smaller budgets such as hosting an event live on Facebook or TikTok. For B2B brands, LinkedIn now offers a great platform to host workshops or seminars.
So if you hold a brand event or create a tangible experience (physical or virtual), 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.
The video game Fortnite went outside its comfort zone and hosted a live concert with rapper Travis Scott. The event featured an avatar of Scott that was realistic and immersive. A huge triumph as an experiential event, the virtual event attracted 12 million live attendees and saw 3.5 million view on YouTube alone.
The ambition for Fortnite (developed by Epic Games) is to move away from just a multiplayer shooter and into music. “Our lofty goal is to create the entertainment experience of the future,” Epic’s Chief Creative Officer, Donald Mustard told The Verge.
Circling back to the importance of personalization: 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. Here are some facts from McKinsey & Co:
This means that you can't just use a blanket approach in contacting your customers. Segment your email lists, look at previous interactions, downloads and purchases and be careful in your targeting so you approach the right people with the right message.
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.
The 2022 Loyalty Barometer Report found that 79 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a brand because of its loyalty program. This type of program now only keeps customers informed of developments or news but also gives them access to early sales and exclusive offers.
The likes of Amazon (paid program through Amazon Prime), Starbucks (free through Starbucks Rewards), and Sephora (Sephora Beauty Insider using redeemable points) have all earned a great deal of success through their innovative loyalty programs—gathering a wealth of priceless consumer insights and data in the process.
Explore: Our guide to the enduring power of customer loyalty schemes
Last but certainly not least, we offer another swift nod to user-generated content.
Showing 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. Devising a contest that generates a buzz and gets your followers and customers involved can go a long way to raising brand awareness. Take Chipotle's 'Lid Flip Challenge'.
The goal was simple: drive people to use Chipolote's app. The brand created the hashtag contest Chipotle Lid Flip Challenge to inspire people to create burrito bowls. Kicking off with influencer and fan David Dobrik, the challenge required you to have phone and a Chipotle burrito bowl.
The result? 111,000 videos were recorded in the first six days resulting in a record-breaking online sales day while more than 300 million people have seen the hashtagged videos and it bagged a Shorty Award.
So think about a challenge or contest that may energize your social media followers or customers. Be creative and make it relevant to your audience with a branded hashtag to keep track and increase the chances of a trending or viral campaign.
“We don't want to push our ideas on to customers, we simply want to make what they want.” Laura Ashley
There are many ways to attract and engage existing and new customers. It's about knowing the tactics and channels available to do it effectively. DMI's digital marketing course will help you understand the fundamentals of digital marketing along with content, email, social media, SEO and PPC. Plus, you will know how to plan and implement a digital marketing strategy and analyze its performance. Sign up today to get started!
CPD Points Available
This content is eligible for CPD points. Please login if you wish to track this in your account.