Are marketing teams having a tough time today? Some would say things have never been more exciting, and others would tell you that building the perfect customer experience takes more time. In 2011, 72% of marketers felt they were unprepared to handle the new age of marketing. In 2013, 85% felt unprepared, but that number fell to 75% in 2015. As several social networks began to grow in 2013, marketers saw the urgency to create marketing platforms that leveraged relationships–only they didn’t know how exactly to do that in an age where digitally social people could spot disingenuous advertising from a mile away. Social networks were their space. It wasn’t until late 2014 that marketers started to get a groove going with social media marketing and thus started winning over customers with relationship marketing.
The changes taking place in marketing are leading to some extraordinary customer experiences and innovative new ways to connect people to the products they love. However, some companies are unequipped to handle the data that helps develop those relationships necessary to create better customer experiences and ultimately, drive bigger ROI.
How to Leverage Relationships with Marketing Automation
Relationship marketing is exactly like what it sounds.
Build Upon Your Relationships with Customers
Drive customers to products by understanding what they like. Provide them with visuals and videos that they will love. Use the element of surprise in a positive way and make your company memorable.
Isn’t building relationships with customers the same way we jazz up friends on Facebook when we post something we like and want to share? It’s the human element that relationship marketing depends upon the most. What if you could learn what your customer likes and then automatically send them directly to their favorite things? That’s where marketing automation comes in.
Employ Both Left and Right Brains
There’s two sides to every marketing team, and if you’re lucky, your company has a bit of both as well as some Tony Stark-type leaders. The data-centric, analytic left-minded marketers will always have the numbers. These are your Nikola Teslas and Stephen Hawkings.The creative, affluent right-brained marketers will know how to create the perfect customer experience using incredible visuals and maybe even some technology that they don’t have a name for yet. These are your Da Vincis and Thomas Edisons. You can’t build campaigns just on data, and you can’t build perfection for every customer because ultimately, the whole success of relationship marketing is that you personalize a customer’s experience. Strong teams are comprised of both and work with one another to support the bigger picture.
Map Out Customer Experiences
Your customers are also left-brained, right-brained or a bit of both. It’s important to see how your customer is going to view your brand from every angle.
Relationship marketing can change a company’s entire focus from reacting to numbers on a screen to controlling the numbers on a screen. By promoting more human interactions, you form a bond with your customer the same way that you would with a new friend or colleague. Combining customer interactions and marketing automation is the key to driving targeted customer engagement.
To do this, you have to really think about the customer experience from the very beginning and not just for new visitors. How have returning customers interacted with your brand in the past? How are new customers finding you? What’s the first point of visibility for your brand? Where do they go from there? A great tool for mapping out these experiences is Lucid Chart, which also comes in handy for mapping out marketing automation tracks.
Research Intuitive CRMs and Email Marketing Platforms
You need something to collect and utilize the information that your customer gives to you because that’s how companies have started building and leveraging relationships faster than ever in the digital age.
Now it’s easy to know that your best friend of 15 years really loves videos with jumping, fluffy corgis, but it’s a little bit more difficult to know that the stranger behind you was just browsing CNET for headphones or that your Uber driver was looking up apps for cheap gas prices nearby. However, a lot of information about your customer can be discovered, unlocked and applied to marketing automation programs. One way to do this is through a powerful CRM or email marketing platform. Silverpop is arguably one of the stronger models out there for email marketing automation, but also for building upon relationships with customers. For example, Silverpop tracks when a customer opens an email about a sale on framed pictures of watercolor Corgis, allowing you to save that customer’s interest and follow up with something just as interesting when your customer is optimally ready for a new advertisement.
Plan Marketing Automation Tracks
Once you understand and improve your customer experience, you’ll be able to create marketing automation tracks where customers are constantly interacting with your brand (hopefully). One simple track might be re-engagement, where you search your database to find customers who haven’t interacted with your brand in the last 90 days. You can create a track that would specifically target their interests including a personalized subject line and message that would drive them to come back. You can track when they open the email, what they click, if they downloaded a web form, and that’s just the beginning.
Confirm Customer Confidence
Most companies believe that they are doing a good job of satisfying their customers. In fact, 81% of companies think they are providing the best customer experience, and yet only 37% of consumers feel like they are getting a great customer experience. One of the things that a company can do to improve their relationships is build customer confidence by leveraging missed opportunities. Every time you interact with a customer is a way to recognize and confirm their interests.
For example, your company just did something amazing and started an email receipt program at point of purchase. When you email that customer with their receipt, shouldn’t you leverage what you know about the customer to inform them about what they bought, encourage them to read articles about how others used the same products and even link them to Instagram contest where fans are sending in photos of them with the product. Some of that may be too complex to start if you don’t have the data, but why not just recommend products that compliment the purchase that they made?
Now you are confirming customer confidence. If you are looking for ways to welcome, congratulate, thank and surprise customers, you are confirming their relationship with your brand.
In essence, if you can understand what relationship your customer wants to have with you, then they’re less likely to break up with you. With marketing automation, you’re able to consistently provide them with the products that they love the most–and suggest products you think they’ll love just as much.