This originally appeared in CMSWire.
Brands today need to consider different types of indicators to better understand, optimize and predict buying behavior in the new era of engagement.
Advances in technology have given marketers all the data they could ever ask for. They’ve used it to build a highly segmented, personalized approach to marketing, with a focus on conversion. However, this came at the cost of building genuine, long-term relationships with customers.
“We’ve become so reliant on data,marketers now take fewer risks,” said Renee Spurlin, executive vice president at Alloy. “But that can have an unintended impact on personalization — making brands seem less human and engaging.” Spurlin recently spoke with CMSWire to explain why brands need to consider different types of indicators to better understand, optimize and predict buying behavior in the new era of engagement.
Moving Toward the Experiential
While traditional approaches to integrated marketing deliver consistent messaging to prospects and create qualified leads, it’s no longer enough to just bombard consumers with one-way communications and canned brand responses.
“With the rise of generative AI, communications and marketing tactics are getting easier and easier to churn out,” Spurlin explained. “The volume is going to get louder and louder over the next few years. We need to give people experiences and not just a high volume of marketing. That’s what they’ll remember.”
The goal of these experiences should be to captivate prospects, create emotional connections and draw long-term attention to your brand. From a measurement perspective, marketers can lean on metrics such as their customers’ channel preferences, how highly engaged they are across channels (email, social media, websites, etc.) and their propensity scores.
What Do Customers Value?
While product engagement is still important in today’s era of engagement, the crowded marketplace means that while it’s easier to get prospects to try a product, they’re not as easy to convert into a paid customer.
To boost product engagement, brands should consider implementing stronger customer support and making it easier for users to share or spread the word about the product. Metrics surrounding usage patterns can also shed light on a product’s differentiating factors.
“It’s really knowing what’s valuable to your customers,” Spurlin said. “It’s talking to them; it’s understanding behavior patterns. We can’t simply look at engagement metrics. They provide amazing insights, but they’re not necessarily going to tell us what’s going to turn engagement into a paid subscription and loyalty to your brand.”
Customer Success Through Better Alignment
Maintaining strong engagement post-purchase is becoming more of a focus for brands. In a recent report from Alloy, 67% of tech brands said they’re placing a greater focus on serving existing customers due to fear of turnover, recessionary concerns and increased competition.
“The first key to engaging customer success programs is aligning internally, and making sure everyone that interacts with customers has the data that they really need to make smart decisions on behalf of their customer,” Spurlin said. “The second [step] is alignment with other departments that impact customer success,” she said, adding that there should be a feedback loop between customer success and product teams to ensure customers get the best experience.
An aligned customer success team creates brand loyalty, which can help grow existing revenue streams and bring in new customers. For example, marketers can look at referral rates and net-promoter scores to gauge how effectively they’re building brand advocates.
Spurlin said that while it is important to have the right marketing technology in place to suit your business needs, tech isn’t the issue when it comes to measuring engagement.
“We’ve got so much data already,” Spurlin said. “It’s making sure that [everyone] is aligned on what’s most important, that they all have visibility into that tech stack, and can get the information they need.”
Ultimately, a more human-centric approach to marketing can foster long-term engagement and quality customer relationships, which goes further in generating revenue.
To learn how to create marketing, product and customer experiences that build reputation, revenue and loyalty, download The Era of Engagement Playbook here.