Why the connected consumer is at the heart of the digital world

Why the connected consumer is at the heart of the digital world Sam Holding is head of international at SparkPost.

When industry experts were making predictions for 2020, little did they know that this would be a most disruptive year for global markets, with ongoing adversities and anomalies. Covid and the rapid spread of the pandemic have added to the challenges marketers already face, while uncertainty has forced many organisations to put their focus upon their strongest asset: the customer. Customer engagement and loyalty have always been two very important metrics; even more so in today’s market landscape.

Offering an immaculate experience throughout the customer journey is not easy, but for many businesses this has been the only way forward. As most consumer products have become commoditised with very few differences and unique selling points, consumers are in pursuit of better service. Not every company has a truly unique product, but any company could potentially deliver a truly unique customer experience; one that will reflect the expectations of the connected consumer and help enhance customer engagement and loyalty.

New trends and advances in marketing automation have redefined the way businesses look into their customers, as they develop a “consumer-first” mindset. Businesses need to be up-to-date with their practices, and regularly review and evaluate their programmes to keep up with technological advancements, current trends and, most importantly, the connected consumer’s evolved expectations.

Yes, customers have changed as well. Consumers across the globe are connected via all the devices in their lives, and they have become more proficient with tools, media and apps than ever before. They are at the heart of the digital world, and they know it. What used to be the “internet of things” is now the “internet of me”, and consumers expect that all the things they want and need will be just one click away.

The connected consumer generally likes to be kept informed. They want to receive updates about their recent purchases (whether a new garment or the weekly groceries shopping, or their train ticket). They want to know of new products they might like, and they particularly like news about discounts, offers, and loyalty rewards. They enjoy being asked about their experience and to evaluate your service. The connected consumer expects to receive your emails, and both quality of content and timely delivery will affect their experience with your organisation.

Assisted by martech and the rise of analytics, marketers can focus on programmes that bring the highest return and enrich the day-to-day interactions consumers have with the business. For customer communications, email has always been an indispensable tool.

It’s needed much of the time for account logins, order updates, etc. Even consumers that opt out of promotional emails have come to expect that their email address will be used to keep them informed of important transactional updates. Email has become ground zero for any online digital relationship.

While the connected consumer has many apps on his/her mobile device, the one app that comes pre-loaded on every smartphone is email. Email is definitely one of the most cost effective methods of communication, still it bears significant commercial value that translates into positive results towards strategic business KPIs (such as customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and repeat business). Brands can capitalise on this most valuable and most leveraged app in the world, by optimising the brand experience through email. It sounds obvious, but it is in fact both the most prime and most overlooked opportunity for approaching the connected consumer. To maintain a good level of engagement though, businesses have to invest in developing meaningful interactions. Marketing Technology providers offer a plethora of Analytics tools for marketers to collect and analyse operational, contextual and behavioural data, so they can improve their campaigns and make them more relevant to their customers.

Companies rely on martech tools that can help them develop a smooth and timely transition strategy to address today’s evolving market challenges and keep the connected consumer engaged. Email remains a pivotal tool, while the current crisis has served as a powerful trigger for marketers to optimise the level of personalisation and engagement with consumers by employing analytics and exploiting operational, contextual and behavioural data.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

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