We live in an era where companies face not only their competitors, but ’experiential’ competitors offering similar products across different industries, and even ‘perceptual’ competitors that change the way your customers think about doing business with you. And your customers’ expectations bleed across these boundaries. If companies like yours don’t react to these changes. they will surely be left behind.
This is called liquid expectations, and it will change the way marketers interact with customers. The era of shouting to the crowd through mass media is over, and companies are going to have to create more personal relationships if they want to keep their customers’ loyalty.
Customers are asserting their place as equal partners and should be treated as such. New media allow companies to communicate more personally, and give them a voice in your messaging. In this way, they can become more than passive consumers of your message, and be active participants in the conversation. Treated well, these customers can be your greatest cheerleaders.
Moreover, today’s customers are not merely interested in your products. They are more interested in experiences. This goes beyond customer service, although that is crucial. Your customers want to feel as if they are a part of something, and good marketing can do that. Your customers are your companies’ greatest asset and should be rewarded as such. Interact with them, learn their desires, and respond to their needs.
Interactive media and data tools make this easier than ever before. This is more than slapping names on email headers. It is learning what messages a customer responds to, and building new messages to reinforce that can build stronger bonds. Allowing their voices to be heard, and amplified, can turn them into champions of your business. And giving them added choice has show — shown by companies like Amazon to Oreos — can boost your bottom line.
Finally, an eye must be kept on the market’s changing perceptions. How a customer orders a pizza today affects how they expect they expect to find a doctor tomorrow. Digital, mobile, and machine-learning technologies are altering the customer service landscape in ways we still don’t understand. But your customers will adapt quickly, and expect as much from you in short order. And those that don’t deliver on the experience will lose out because of it.
You need partners that understand this changing marketplace and help you make and maintain strong relationships with your customers. And to keep you fluid.