Think about the many different ways consumers experience your brand today compared to a year ago. Now think about how many more ways there will be to experience your brand tomorrow. The marketing arena is evolving at warp speed, and the only thing that we can be certain of is that change is inevitable.
We all know that digital platforms have increased our ability to connect with people at almost any time of day, in any location and through a variety of devices. While this is great from a revenue standpoint and capitalizing on a captive audience, marketers should be aware that providing more ways to shop carries the potential risk of increased disappointment and waning customer loyalty.
Why is this? Every consumer-brand touch point is unique and needs to be appropriately tailored. An in-store experience requires personalized service, which can be facilitated through friendly and knowledgeable sales associates. Mimicking this online is a challenge, as the consumer can only experience the site’s functionality, which is limited in its capacity.
Sites such as Amazon and Microsoft have sought to address this with an online chat facility (like Office Communicator), connecting customers with knowledgeable representatives who provide a more hassle-free shopping experience. While we should commend these companies for working to bridge the real vs. virtual gap, face time with a customer service representative and the ability to physically see, touch and smell brands still emerge as highly important factors when buying goods.
Delivering a moment of delight at every consumer touch point is something that smart marketers should prioritize, from messaging to pricing, from the in-store experience to app usability. A moment of delight does not mean the consumer has to be jumping for joy, although this would definitely help boost loyalty; it’s more about a moment of satisfaction from the customer’s perspective. Finding a way to ensure that every consumer-brand touch point provides a consistent, authentic and satisfying brand experience will keep the customer happy and maximize ROI from all of these marketing touch points.
In her next post, Clarke will share three simple steps for managing the connection between your brand and consumers.
Sabrina Clarke is Senior Vice President in the Brand and Customer Experience team at GfK. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.