Creating a holistic experience during the buyer’s journey isn’t an easy process; it requires an understanding that not every customer should be treated the same.
Mark Nardone, executive vice president of marketing and business development at PAN Communications, said that no matter the business—B2B, B2C, product or service—one thing remains constant. If marketing teams hope to successfully create an exceptional experience, data and personalization must be at the forefront, along with two critical steps:
“The first step requires creating highly targeted buyer personas that detail your customers’ every move,” he said. “Rely on your marketing stack and dedicate someone on your team to analyze customer data to learn about customer behaviors. Without personas, a marketer lacks important knowledge around their audiences’ preferences and challenges and won’t have the right tools to create personalized content.”
Step two entails creating connected content across the right channels.
“Now that you have a pulse on buyer behaviors, it’s time to create touchpoints through impactful content marketing,” Nardone said. “However, be aware of which channels align with your ideal customer profile. For example, let’s say you’re trying to target the CFO on social. The content you’ve created for that title is only as successful as the channel you choose to distribute it on.”
In this process, marketers should leverage personalization and gather feedback every step of the way, whether they’ve just closed a new deal or expanded business with a current customer. ”Bringing customer feedback to the start of every campaign will make your marketing efforts stronger and the customer experience truly holistic,” Nardone said.
Driving Customer Experience
President & CEO of SmarterHQ, Michael Osborne, noted that while in-store experience, merchandise layouts, lighting, and design have taken leaps forward, the actual transactional experience is still lagging for many people.
“Apple changed the way consumers think of retail experiences with no ‘cash registers’ or checkout lines, but that’s only one aspect. When you consider that most brands know a lot about their consumers and have a way of knowing their offline behavior through memberships or loyalty programs, most don’t merge the two into one view of the customer,” he said. “Identity resolution and understanding who that consumer is in both channels is required to truly evolve the sales floor.”
Imagine a store representative who, by knowing someone’s purchase and browsing history, could immediately direct customers to those items and provide intelligent product recommendations. That experience, Osborne said, would be truly evolved.
“Those that use loyalty programs and membership IDs intelligently are the ones leading this change,” he said. “The usage of in-store purchase information to target specific messaging in given geographic regions is an example of transforming marketing to leverage what has happened on the sales floor. The holistic experience will come from having data in the hands of the store personnel when they are directly interacting with customers shopping in their stores.”
Tulip, a mobile platform for store associates, enables retail store representatives to access a full view of the customer while interacting with them in-store.
“More and more, brands will adapt similar technologies and merge them with location-aware capabilities to drive even better customer experiences on the sales floor,” Osborne said.
Motivate the Staff
Marketing strategist and founder of Signal Media, Lee Murray, noted that as with any other relationship, marketers must genuinely understand their salespeople’s needs to improve the sales floor.
“Understanding the inflection points in the sales process will drive content creation and even buy-in from sales people in the process of creating it,” he said. “The tie that binds is messaging and buyers journey. If the entire journey is mapped from initial touch point to onboarding, marketing and sales can work together to build content that dynamically drives a customer to point of sale.”
Robert Workman, author of Hired Gun: You’re #1 and Somebody Hates it, noted the importance of bringing the sales floor together as a unit or a team build esprit-de-corps, to promote and support a totally winning environment.
He suggests utilizing a dedicated dry-erase board or flip chart where every rep posts every deal sold every day.
“If you use a flip chart, tear off the pages when they are full and post them around the sales room,” he said. “People love the recognition they receive when they post their deal and name on the board, and can’t wait to be up on it again, and again. Each day, begin with a fresh, clean board.”