The digital era presents the peculiar problem of dealing with the so called “digital natives” – an entire generation that has grown up surrounded by and engaging with electronic devices and constant interconnectedness. They are a rich source of data and are very profitable demographics for businesses to target. However, the sheer volume of internet traffic means that the attention span of an average customer has shrunk rapidly, leading to the rise of an “attention economy” where having your customers’ attention is worth real world money.
Businesses vie for customer attention all the time while the customers themselves are increasingly gaining more power over their own experiences across multiple platforms. Businesses and marketers need to revamp their entire approach on how to engage customers in meaningful terms. Abandoning established strategies when it is evident that they no longer work and putting new ones in place to deal with the unique requirements of today is essential for sustained growth and maintaining competitiveness in the digital era.
Here are some strategies for engaging with the modern customer in an effective way.
Early Adoption of New Platforms
Many businesses have been driven out of existence simply because they clung to their old, “traditional” ways and refused to embrace new technology platforms. Businesses must invest resources in identifying new and viable avenues of engaging with customers and not get overwhelmed by technical details or jargon. Cutting edge technologies like cloud computing and big data analytics have already proven their worth in multiple scenarios and businesses should definitely consider them for their particular requirements.
Outsource To Digital Experts
While outsourcing as a business strategy isn’t new, how you outsource and who you outsource to may have adopted a new significance in the digital era. Hire vendors who provide outsourcing services that keep up with the times. If you want CRM and lead generation support hire a vendor which is an expert in digital data mining and can make the best use of social conversations to generate quality sales leads. If you want customer support, hire a vendor that has expertise in online support channels like social media support, live chat support apart from traditional support channels like phone support or email support.
Consider Non-Traditional Avenues of Outreach
For many people in the digital era, advertising has become laced with negative connotations. Pervasive advertising throughout the internet, mobile apps, newsprint and television has led to an oversaturation of information. People are increasingly sceptical about them and treat them with mistrust or simply ignore them. This has led to avenues like native advertising, where advertorial content is presented to customers in the form of general informative content; and contextual advertising, where the advertisements served are relevant to the users and are dependent on the actions a user takes on a particular webpage.
Wield Social Media as a Tool
Social media is invaluable for businesses in that it provides data and direct access to customers at a level that has been unprecedented. Word of mouth marketing and getting customers to recommend businesses and products to their “friends” is an extremely effective means of communication. However, social media is also woefully underutilised. By analysing trends and continuously engaging with customers, it is possible to get relevant advice and feedback that is invaluable to businesses in the domain of product development and improvement of existing services. By using social media to highlight customers as well as promoting the brand, businesses bring real value to the table.
Customers are bombarded with information from every angle now. This makes it necessary for marketing communication to be more targeted than ever. Fortunately, digital and social media platforms make it easy for marketers to tailor advertisements to make them personalised and relevant to the customer to a high degree, thereby generating trust and goodwill.
Businesses may find handling the digital generation difficult. However, equipped with the right tools and mind-set and with modified technologies and workflows, the problem is definitely not insurmountable. Being flexible with the approach and open to unconventional means just might be what is needed for continued success in this domain.
Shiv Pandey is a writer, marketer and professional blogger and consults SMEs and start-ups on how to market their business online with content oriented inbound marketing strategy.