Common marketing missteps and how to avoid them

January 19, 2017
It's all too common to make marketing missteps given the mountains of information customers and prospects have access to about a brand from the company’s website, peer product reviews, to social media and more. This makes it critical for marketers to think in terms of a more circular buyer “journey,” which better takes into consideration all of the touchpoints a customer interacts with a brand.

Furthermore, with multiple channels at their disposal, including social media, texting, email, web, phone, and more, customers now control the conversation and relationship with the brand. And, in this mobile and connected world, consumers expect companies to meet their needs when it’s convenient for them—not when it’s convenient for the company.

In this environment, it’s easy to take missteps along the journey.

Here a few of the most common and tips on how they can be avoided.

Fully understanding your audience

Many marketers have embraced buyer personas as a way to align marketing messages to customers. Can personas fill the same need as customer segmentation?

Customer segmentation involves scientific analysis to divide customers into logical groups that can be used to target the most likely customers for a product. Proper segmentation is based on large-scale data mining on information including demographics, psychographics, past actions, and order history. Segments help provide insights into the likeliness of the targeted message and how it’s delivered, resonating with the recipient, and triggering a next action.

Buyer personas are fictional customers based on profiles. Personas usually include information such as industry, company size, and role within the organization. Additionally, personas strive to capture some of the emotional and psychological traits of your customers. By considering persona attributes during campaign creation, marketers can ensure messaging has the right tone to engage customers.

Personas can’t substitute for good customer segmentation. But used together, they can give you an even more complete picture of your customers. So, consider personas to predict emotional and psychological buying triggers and measure real-world data for segmentation.

“Fake” personalization

The steps of your customer journey should be personalized to the needs and preferences of your customers. For example, a customer who has only purchased items on sale pricing should be approached differently than a customer who values prestige and luxury brands. Customers who respond better to email than social media or direct mail should have a journey with more email touch points.

Your customer journey should also be dynamic, with each next step of the journey dependent on what actions (or lack of actions) were taken by your customer in the previous step. Mapping out the customer journey helps you keep customers engaged at all times, ensuring they aren’t driven around in circles—or worse—left standing at a dead-end. The next step of their experience must always make sense and be personalized for maximum effectiveness (and profitability).

Mapping the customer journey

To manage customer experience, you need to plan and formalize the customer buying journey. There shouldn’t be any surprises in how your customers will interact with content and offers you present to them.

Mapping can help you visualize your customer journey across channels, so you can ensure communications are timed appropriately and are relevant to your customers. By anticipating possible actions by your customer along each step of the journey map, you can create the right content and offers. Campaign management solutions provide easy-to-use, drag-and-drop visual tools to help you map your customer journeys.

Making sense of all the data

It’s more important than ever to find ways to consolidate customer information from a variety of internal and external sources, use that information to effectively plan and execute customer communications and interactions across a variety of contact channels, and perfect these interactions over time using closed-loop analysis.

Without the right tools to help turn information into insights, data can feel like drinking from a fire hose. Some companies are drowning in data, but still can’t form a complete picture of their customers.

Ultimately, you want to be able to identify what causes a certain type of customer to act—whether that action is positive or negative. You need to identify the outliers in the data that indicate a customer is ready to make a purchase, or unsubscribe from an email list, and then act accordingly. To discover these crucial outliers, you’ll need to tie together customer and campaign information from across your enterprise and all your channels, including relevant external data sources.

The good news is there are strategies and tools to help you avoid the common marketing missteps. Start by visiting
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