While it’s impossible to see the future, it is possible to prepare for it.
Customer experience, Big data, Content marketing, Digital media, Inbound marketing, Inbound selling, these are just some of the elements that are involved in the future of marketing.
So how can marketers use all of this to better engage with customers? In a way that generates long-term loyalty? And builds business results?
By acknowledging that the future of marketing is about organizing behavior. To understand how to use or improve any marketing initiative, you first have to understand how your current customers behave.
In my opinion this is the formula for evaluating any new technology or platform. When you take into consideration what you’re already doing that works and ask how you can use new technology or platforms to do more of that, you’ll rarely get caught up in the shiny object syndrome.
To create a better customer experience you need to address the behavior that customers want to have at every touchpoint.
To effectively use big data you need to address visitors based on their actual behavior.
To employ content marketing successfully you need to match different kinds of content with the behaviors of customers in the life cycle.
Today, marketing is about guiding buyers on a journey they want to take and identifying the core behaviors they desperately want to experience on their way to becoming loyal customers. Organizations that understand this and create and organize opportunities for people to experience these behaviors at any point along the customer lifecycle will win.
5 Behaviors You Must Embrace Right Now
Below are five behaviors you can no longer ignore as they’ve become universal across industries and demographics in the way buyers want to behave:
- Permission – They want to give permission to the companies they want to learn more about. They look forward to anticipated, personal and relevant messages. For organizations this is the privilege of marketing to people who want to be marketed to.
- Educate – They want to learn more about the companies that might be addressing their needs. Most organizations don’t tend to think of shopping as an educating activity, but it definitely is. When buyers shop, they seek out information. They “kick the tires.” They educate themselves to make good decisions.
- Trust – They want to see others they relate to have come to trust certain organizations. Seth Godin famously said, “What would change the mind of many people resistant to evidence is a series of eager testimonials.”
- Sample – They want to be able to sample your expertise, product or service so they don’t look foolish. Continuing to build trust is such an essential element of long term loyalty.
- Refer – They want to share with the world how smart they are. They want an experience that surprises them, excites them or so clearly exceeds their expectation in ways that make them turn to social channels to share their story.
If organizations are to address these 5 key behaviors, every marketing, sales and service initiative, process and campaign must be designed to organize the behavior the buyer desperately wants to experience.