Winning Fans (and Customers) Through Continuous Engagement
While the rise of digital media channels (e.g., social media sites, blogs, YouTube) in recent years has resulted in a distracted and fragmented consumer audience, it's also provided retail marketers the opportunity to engage customers and prospects at all times in multiple outlets. During a keynote session at IBM's Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2013 in Nashville yesterday, Jay Baer, president of social media and content marketing strategy firm Convince & Convert, laid out how brands can deliver highly personal and relevant experiences to consumers across all channels and touchpoints.
Inbound marketing doesn't create demand, it fulfills it, Baer said. No consumer goes to Google to ask the search engine to find a product for them; they go with a product in mind that they want to search for. What brands should focus their efforts on is creating a utility for their customers. You're competing for attention against everybody, Baer said. He cited Lowe's six-second Vine video clips highlighting home improvement tips as a great example of a brand providing a utility for consumers.
3 Facets for Utility
1. Self-serve information. Today's consumers crave information like never before. In fact, the statistics bear it out. Last year, consumers sought out, on average, 10.4 sources of info (e.g., customer reviews, social media pages) before making a purchase decision. That's double the number of sources from the prior year — to buy the same stuff! Consumers no longer have excuses for making purchase decisions. Baer cited his own example of not buying anything on Amazon.com before looking at the customer reviews on the product.
2. Answer every question. Speaking specifically about mobile apps, Baer said that your company's app needs to be so good that consumers would be willing to pay for it. He cited Clorox's myStain app as an example of an app that provides a utility to its users. The app lists different types of stains along with directions on how to remove them. The best part of the app, according to Baer: the app includes stains that can't be removed by using Clorox. The brand is willing to promote the utility first, its product second.