What does the present tell us about the future?
Process optimization plays a vital role in meeting customer needs and ensuring that business development initiatives are well-managed.
There has been a marked increase in the number of (new and established) businesses implementing technology as part of their overall business strategy.
This article aims to engage both business leaders and managing managers in developing a more sustainable future of business and marketing processes thinking. It provides a framework for identifying leading-edge practices that will contribute to firm advantage in building strong businesses.
By studying existing business techniques and marketing strategies, you can identify new opportunities and improve your overall performance.
Following an inevitable downturn at the height of COVID-19 last year, there has been an enduring surge in the formation of new businesses in 2021. In the first quarter of 2021, the US government processed over 450,000 new business applications.
This correlates with trends of disasters over the years, showing how large-scale, unfortunate events (such as the Global Recession of 2008-2009) tend to open up more opportunities for starting new businesses.
However, we are still in a volatile period and the survival of any business is not guaranteed without a strong foundation. A strong foundation, in this sense, is one that supports adaptability; having seen how rigid structures had their survival seriously threatened.
The new businesses are being born into the age of the customer, where consumer desires, affections, needs, and preferences take a greater priority to business leaders. Thus, the rest of this article is dedicated to explaining how customer prioritisation must influence your marketing and engagement efforts
Customer purchasing decisions are changing and so traditional marketing approaches would no longer suffice. For one, 73% of people now consider customer experience an important factor in making purchasing decisions.
In the past, marketing teams have used audience segmentation to organise their efforts towards promotion, but to achieve success now, there has to be an integrated, digital, and data-driven strategy in place.
This integrated approach reinforces decentralised marketing, which focuses more on individual customer journeys than audience segments.
This is especially true as, for some years now, the attention of marketing has gradually shifted from traditional promotion to customer experience. What’s key is to emphasise cross-functionality that allows various marketing teams to produce a cohesive customer experience.
Despite the seemingly encompassing nature of CX, the inclination to more relatable customer experiences from brands is not the only factor driving consumer behaviour in 2021. Not to mention that COVID-19 remains a critical concern for consumers all over the world.
Although the pandemic has made many offline businesses inevitably go digital and many consumers shop online, the desire for offline interactions is still very much intact as a consumer habit.
In fact, with a positive offline experience, 61% and 65% of consumers are likelier to spend more at a physical location or online respectively.
The main reason for this is that physical experiences provide a distinct type of connection that cannot be replaced by online interactions. But the keyword is connection.
Thus, in relating with the consumer of the future, brands should be more concerned about creating a genuine connection via active engagement. And that leads us to the next section, on customer relations.
A keyword that has been often repeated in customer relations conversations is ‘engagement’. Globally, marketers and business leaders are looking for practical solutions to engage customers better.
By ‘engagement’, what is meant is inspiring the active participation of individual customers in brand matters. This builds up loyalty and customer retention, a fact supported by Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service study, which states that “90% of respondents indicated that customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand.”
One of the main ways to relate to customers better and engage them better is to establish an omnichannel strategy. The Microsoft report also finds that customers communicate issues to brands via 3 to 5 channels.
Obviously, that requires that a business has a cohesive strategy not just for resolving complaints but for interacting with customers regularly.
This would not be possible without adopting and scaling digital tools for customer engagement. According to Twilio, 87% of leaders agree that digital customer engagement is a critical success factor going forward.
Organizations are facing complex challenges including increasing competition, changing consumer behaviour, structural change and the need to stay competitive in an expanding marketplace. Business leaders now have access to vital information that allows them to make informed decisions that will further improve their bottom line.