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5 Ways To Use Social Media To Improve Customer Experience

socialmediamarketing

Social Media, whether you like them or not, have become essential to build a competitive - and truly innovative - marketing strategy. A social media plan, thus, is no longer optional for brands wishing to grow their shares and compete for customers’ attention.

While it may still be quite hard to measure ROI on social media marketing, try to focus on what really matters in the digital world: the experience. The question, then, is how can you use social media to improve customer experience.

The 2015 F8 Facebook Developer Conference confirms that Mark Zuckerberg aims at transforming Facebook into a one-fits-all platform where companies and users can create a complete relationship, online and offline (with social conversations, social care and social shopping). The spread of mobile devices - enabling customers to be connected wherever they are - is only making the ‘social’ element of the customer experience more urgent.

Online communities - giants like Facebook and Twitter or small promising start-ups like Meerkat - are now integral part of how you conduct business: as the years pass by, the word-of-mouth stream is gaining more power, and it’s not by coincidence that even search engines are working to include social content in the result pages (Google+ posts in the organic SERP; Facebook contents in the Knowledge Graph).

Let’s get this one thing perfectly clear: today, a content marketing plan is not even conceivable without social networks. They allow you to gather customer information, understand their needs and desires, build engagement and retain loyalty. And, most important, to take full control of your brand identity and avoid bad experiences to your clients (we are all well-aware of the weight the experience has in the purchase decision process!).

Your customers will be participating in social networks to engage in conversations about your company. Ignoring those conversations can be downright dangerous. Joining the conversations can provide a world of benefits” (Oracle).

For this very reason, all recent studies show that, from 2015 on, the majority of companies will increase spending on social media marketing despite the ROI dilemma. Social relations have become a critical touchpoint in the customer journey map. Instead of measuring returns by profits, you should use them to improve the overall experience.

social-media

Here are 5 ways you can use social media to improve customer experience.

ENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERS

Blogging platforms and social networks have been the main force that has brought the 'Internet for business' to the interactive 2.0 version. How? Supporting a two-ways communication between brands and users. Facebook, of course, right now is the biggest player in the arena: the perfect place to take note of what customers want, engage them in a conversation and make them feel like they’re part of the brand themselves. Focus your social presence on the networks your customers frequent the most and don't underestimate the power of the social long tail.

RESPOND IN REAL-TIME

Empowered customers use their smartphone (shortly their smartwatch) to search for all useful information to make the best purchase decision. They demand that brands are always able to respond to their doubts and questions in real-time, wherever they are and whenever they need it. Social media become crucial to deal with positive and negative feedback promptly. Twitter is the best choice for customer service, but we foresee the use of mobile messaging apps as alternative (Facebook is already considering Messenger a social care platform).

CONNECT AND PERSONALIZE

The rule with social media marketing is to stay always current, to evolve with customers' taste and look for new channels to connect with them. Not all social networks, though, fit for your specific business. Carefully select your communities to avoid wasting money and time on irrelevant sites. Whatever you choose, make sure you always offer consistent and relevant contents, discarding standard and ready-made solutions. In an era of personalized experience, you must train the capability to custom-cut contents for the medium and the audience.

STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

We know that the creation of a strong brand identity starts with the ability to attract more customers and retain their attention. This is the first step for any customer experience management. But how can you do it, in overcrowded communication environments? The two keywords: content and context. Social networks and mobile technologies highlight the importance of epic visual content. The raising of visuals in the feed stream is a good news for retail brands - specially those working in the fashion, luxury and beauty industries. Add the growing integration with E-commerce and you will understand the success of Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Vine.

BOOST CUSTOMER RETENTION

Social networks are ideal to create engagement and promote loyalty, involving users into a compelling digital customer experience. This is critical in the Age of the Customer, a new paradigm where the customer - not the product - is the reason why you plan your marketing strategy. When customers can choose from a potentially infinite set of suppliers, loyalty becomes the most valuable asset. How can you improve customer retention using social? Visual contests, webinars, live-chat, trending hashtags, user generated contents, gamification dynamics: the only limit is your imagination (and core business).

One thing is for sure: if you ignore the potential of social networks, it doesn’t mean they won’t have an impact on your business. Social media won’t go away ... but maybe your customers will: the social experience has become crucial in shaping the future of brands. A good customer experience management, in fact, will result in improved retention and loyalty, a prelude for repeat sales.  

 

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The adoption of a proper social strategy is one of the blocks of the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. You can download the free paper here:

Download the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Social Networking Facebook Content Marketing

Improve Customer Experience: Download The DCX 7-Steps Checklist

DCX_7-Steps_Checklist

How can I create compelling experiences for my customers? How can I guide them through the purchase process, from awareness to consideration to conversion? How can my brand evolve to embrace the mobile mind shift? Ever thought of building a checklist? The DCX 7-Steps Checklist will help you find the right answer, with requirements and insights to shape an amazing digital customer experience. A guide you can download for free.

As 2015 goes on, the key value of customer experience in the digital transformation in now undeniable: one of the latest report by Gartner predicts that "50 percent of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations by 2017". As a result, the improvement of customer journey becomes top priority on the desk of entrepreneurs and marketing professionals.

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In our world defined by disruptive mobile technology, before even starting their marketing planning companies need to recognize the two forces in action to disrupt how you build marketing strategies:

  • The empowered customer is the core of strategy, the main purpose of business (the Age of the Customer).
  • The smartphone is the primary tool to search for information and interact with brands (the Mobile-Mind Shift).

A mobile first approach, then, become critical to deliver optimal digital experiences, to connect with clients, improve engagement and meet expectations with personal, simple and compelling content and services.

WHY A CHECKLIST?

Where does the idea of a checklist come from? Some of the most respected professionals in the world, in any field, rely on the humble checklist to keep them organized and out of trouble. Advances in scientific knowledge now overwhelm event the most trained practitioners in many fields – to the point that they make regular but frequently avoidable mistakes. 

Boston-based surgeon Atul Gawande’s research into the aviation, construction and investment industries helped shape the World Health Organization’s production of a two-minute, 19-point surgical checklist that has saved countless lives worldwide. 

Gawande’s book – The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right, provides sample checklists, instructive examples and plenty of food for thought about how to create and fine-tune checklists that fit your job and your organization’s mission.

Good checklists focus on the “killer items” – the ones that are “most dangerous to overlook” and that people are most likely to skip. Boeing in example uses two types of checklists: “DO-CONFIRM” to verify that pilots carry out critical actions and “READ-DO” for specifying the steps pilots take while doing a specific action.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

WHY A DCX CHECKLIST?

Working everyday with customers and prospects in key economic sectors - retailfashion and luxuryautomotive, financial services to name a few - at Neosperience we have recognized the importance of a non-static method to gain a strategic advantage. The idea of using checklists in critical areas is simple, yet powerful.

It got us thinking about what a digital customer experience (DCX) checklist might look like. So we crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist with requirements for all projects that touch or impact organizations involved in the digital transformation and the creation of a customer-facing app.

Here is a brief description of the building blocks of a digital customer experience checklist:

  1. There is a clear definition of your target customers, with properly designed storytellingcontent marketing strategy and buyer personas. The needs of target customers are well understood and you are aiming at helping and making them active participants in the experience, delivering them relevant content, with right-time personalization and engagement.
  2. cross-functional team, with the right people from different functions has been put in place to work together (and never forget about employee engagement).
  3. You have a clear understanding of the constant stream of new technology to enhance user experiences at every touch point. What’s key for you is to understand how your specific customers can use technology, in particular Android and iOS smartphone and tablet innovation, to improve their experience with your brand.
  4. customer journey mapping activity has been performed and there is a clear understanding of the various touch points where a digital transformation adds value in the customer’s perspective. Understanding and optimizing digitally the journey map to purchase lets you offer necessary education and a seamless experience to make it simple for people to do business with you.
  5. An agile and iterative methodology and process is in place, from the conception stage, with resources and time properly allotted, to allow working on rapid-cycle test and learn.
  6. The digital customer experience is shaped for every stage of the customer journey, from initial roll-out to ongoing support.
  7. You have defined clear objectives, associated metrics and a measurement system for how the project will impact target customers.

One of the first things you have to recognize is that digital isn’t just this added thing. It's not just one more channel. It's different and it’s about changing the way you’re operating, because it is about using data, faster cycle times, more interactivity with more empowered customers

Much of this is – and will remain – outside our control, as the volume and complexity of the data we collect with mobiles, combined with the complexity of our customer’s minds, have exceeded our ability to take into account all the details. Digital customer experience knowledge is both saving us and burdening us.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

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Before downloading, a final practical advise: just ticking boxes on our 7 steps digital customer experience checklist is not the ultimate recipe. Choosing the right technology platform and partner, avoiding pitfalls and embracing a culture of teamwork and discipline is.

Download the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Neosperience Apps Neosperience Inbound Marketing

4 Email Marketing Trends That Will Affect Customer Experience

email-marketing

In the mobile era, you may think that Emails have lost their marketing appeal, but that is far from being true. Email Marketing is still considered one of the most important digital marketing techniques available, and competes with paid search for the highest ROI and budget volumes.

Traditional Email tactics, however, today don't work like they used to, and that’s a huge problem since they are meant to build customer loyalty and trust. There are few trends, though, that will soon change how you do plan your Emails and the digital customer experience.

Email marketing as we know it is - to all intents and purposes - the digital son of direct mail marketing. But the difference is evident: while direct mail was a world on its own, often separated from all other marketing tools, the Email must be considered as part of a more complex digital customer journey. And mobile devices only make it more urgent to find the point of convergence between the physical and digital engagement.

FROM OUTBOUND TO INBOUND

The Email is the essence of outbound activities: subscribe, download, contact us, sign up, don’t lose your change, exclusive offer; these are common call to actions delivered daily to your inbox, whether you are an unknown user or a potential lead. This may still work for the law of large numbers, but inbound marketing in the Age of the Customer needs a sharper attitude.

As smartphones and tablets increasingly replace desktop computers as the primary channel customers use to search for information about products and services, Emails are forced to move to a responsive design that works across all devices. This evolution has encouraged the focus on context and great visuals, the same rules that preside over the success of push notifications.

THE RELEVANCE OF EMAIL

In the mobile era, customers are less willing to waste their time reading worthless advertising and generic messages, not tailored to answer to their specific needs and desires. Years and years of massive untargeted campaigns have brought to an overcrowding that forces brands into a struggle to draw customer attention and make their voice stand out.

As a result of this flow of irrelevant marketing messages, the opening rates are steadily decreasing, and marketers need to rethink the whole concept of Email marketing, embracing the mobile world and taking advantage of disruptive technologies. A plain call to action, magnificently written it may be, is not enough to attract prospects and engage with customers, particularly those in the first stages of the conversion path.

transactionalemail

INTERACTION & TRANSACTION

In the last few years, we have witnessed the emergence of an advanced type of online mail communication, called transactional Email. Deeply rooted in permission and inbound marketing, they already are one of the most powerful tools in the hands of digital marketers. One statistic says it all: they have an average of 50% open rate, compared with the scarce 30% of traditional newsletter and cold Emails.

Higher conversion rates originate from the very nature of transactionals, triggered based on a previous customer’s action with a brand. Their aim is "to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transactions that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender" (Wikipedia). They are perfect to improve engagement and enhance the connection with customers, enabling the company to anticipate needs and wants - raising sales in the process.

4 EMAIL MARKETING TRENDS

The customer experience management is direct consequence of the technological innovation: tools and devices change the way clients and brand communicate and relate to each other. Being the Email crucial part of the customer journey map, the following trends will have a great impact on how you build your digital customer experience.

  • iBeacon - proximity marketing is the answer to the prayers of those looking for a tool to connect the digital and physical experience. The iBeacon is considered one of the top inventions that will revolutionize retail customer experience, and - with geolocalization - can also drive new approaches for Email marketing.
  • Wearables - the next step of mobile marketing will bring to a full integration of the wearable technology and Email engagement. Google is already planning a wearable-ready Gmail design for Android devices, and the Apple Watch already allows users to have basic interactions within the message.
  • Personalization - customized contents motivate the customer to take up the call to action you have defined. It’s a fact that we are moving towards an hyper-personalized marketing, where messages are not only context-aware but also - and above all - build to meet the expectation of the single recipient.
  • Predictive analysis - the spread of new mobile devices and the ability to track and locate will enable companies to gather information about their customers, in ways that we could only imagine before. Transactional Emails are just one example of how a previous customer behavior can trigger targeted and relevant messages across all devices.

In the digital era, Email marketing only makes sense when considered in the broader picture of the inbound methodology, a non-interruption process where customers take center stage and we say - finally - goodbye to old push and spam tactics.

 

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As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers 
in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.

Discover Neosperience Engage

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Analytics Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Wearable Big Data

4 Ways Customer Journey Mapping Will Boost Customer Experience

customerjourney

Try to remember the last time you have given up on a product or service because of a bad overall experience. As a customer, there is nothing worse than those situations where you expect one thing, just to receive a totally different result, as if you were dealing with two different companies. Customer journey mapping is essential for brands to avoid these pitfalls and boost customer experience.

To show how markets have changed in the last five years, let’s start with two insightful statistics:

  • 92% of companies that reported a decline in customer satisfaction said that clients were most disappointed by inconsistent experience (Salesforce)

  • Customers are 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related rather than price or product related (Bain&Co.)

Even when your customers find everything they need in your products, even when you solve their problems and answer to their wants and requests, they will inevitably feel the bitter taste of dissatisfaction if forced into a bad customer experience. One missing link in their journey is more than enough to compromise an entire marketing strategy.

The battle for customer loyalty is more intense than ever before, and takes place on a different level: not products or prices but experiences - the key to differentiate from the competition.

As Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail”. Translated in business terms: to stay top of mind and retain clients’ attention, never underestimate the value of all different touch points, always maintaining the overall vision of your customer experience management, online and offline.

Easier said than done, and that’s where customer journey map becomes the perfect tool to accomplish this hard task.

WHAT

In digital markets, made more complex by mobile devices and innovative technologies, the connection between brands and customers is not a flat line, a straight one-way communication. The conversion process might start with a search on a desktop computer, then continue on a smartphone - let’s say a branded app - and end up in a physical retail store - thanks to iBeacon and push notifications.

The customer journey map is a complete framework that illustrates all the stages customers go through when they interact with a brand: from initial contact, through purchasing, post conversion support, remarketing and - hopefully - repeat sales. It maps not just the experience that you want to provide to the customer, but also the one that clients would like to receive. Once you have identified the essential requirements of your map, you are ready to go to step two.

WHY

Why would you use a digital customer experience map? The ultimate aim of customer journey mapping is to identify areas for improvement and establish the appropriate technology to effectively enhance the experience across all stages of the customer life cycle. When you believe you truly know yourself and your clients, that is the moment you need it the most.

The map is the only tool that enables you to understand - and eventually fill - the gap that separates the experience that you think you are offering from the journey you actually offer. Any inconsistency between the two increases the percentage of people that will stop doing business with you and become someone else’s customer

If we were to pinpoint the 4 key advantages of customer journey mapping, we would definitely say:

  • Personalize the experience;

  • Communicate and act proactively;

  • Identify and remove bottlenecks;

  • Improve efficiency and remove inconsistencies;

HOW

Despite being one of the three basic elements of an omni-channel customer experience, journey mapping is not an easy task. It requires deep involvement, the implementation of big data and analytics platforms and - most of all - the ability to look at yourself without filters and the willingness to take that further step from words to action.

It takes time and dedication, but the results are worth the effort. Here are 4 ways customer journey map is essential to design a seamless customer experience and remove inefficient silos and practices: 

  • Understand customer’s POV - the great thing about mapping is that you can understand exactly how customers experience your brand across all touch points - digital, physical and mobile. Once you have reached such an incredible knowledge, you will be able to tailor-cut your content marketing and engagement actions to better reach them at all stages of the inbound conversion path.
  • Recognize Moments of Truth - a framework includes all sorts of touch points, channels and media. Of course not all interactions have the same importance, so how can you recognize the ones truly impacting on your business results? One reason why you should create your own map is exactly to highlight meaningful moments of truth and separate them from those with a lesser relevance.
  • Connect with emotions - human desires and needs change over and over again, following the evolution of society and technology. The main reason behind this change is not rational; it's emotional. The weight of emotions in the purchase decision is now higher than ever. Why would customers choose you? A proper map helps you in setting appropriate emotional goals and objectives for every single step of the customer journey.
  • Make sense of data - numbers have always been the root of every customer journey map (a tool not so young as you may think); innovative devices plus the Internet plus proximity marketing plus big data make it possible to develop a knowledge inconceivable just few years ago. A well designed map helps you set metrics and time lines to measure the real-time impact of your strategy. To offer the best experience, whenever your clients need it and wherever they are.

You will never have a real process of improvement if you don’t accept the fact that you must dig down deep - putting your identity into play - to understand how your customer experience works, from your client’s perspective. A true and efficient digital transformation always starts from the bottom, the customer.

 

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The creation of a proper customer journey map is one of the blocks of the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. You can download the free paper here:

Download the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Storytelling Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Big Data Customer Journey

5 Mobile Customer Experience Lessons From 2015 SXSW

SXSW-2015

Mobile marketing and customer experience management are getting closer and closer, the two sides of the same business coin. We have had a further confirmation - as if one were needed - during the 2015 SXSW conference, a place where innovation and disruption meet to change the rules of the game. There are few lessons about mobile customer experience we can take away from the heap of conferences and panels.

It’s not a coincidence that one of the main topics of this year’s SXSW has been the mobile transformation of our human and technological ecosystem. There is a massive interest in mobile, increasingly seen as the primary driver of innovation and revenues. Everybody is trying to figure out what the future will set aside for markets, and all companies look eager to take a step into the mobile arena.

Problem is: talking mobile does not necessarily coincide with going mobile. We have already stressed out - many times - the importance of a mobile first strategy to engage with customers of the digital era. Going mobile for mobile’s sake, in fact, will not ensure you any strategic advantage, the same way that developing an app without a broader digital customer experience vision is pointless in the long term.

Although mobile marketing usually takes center stage, too many brands still tackle customer experience relying on old business funnels and patterns. Mobile technology requires a completely different approach, and can’t be treated like a momentary stage of innovation. It is probably the most important event in recent human history; a total reshape of the lives of millions around the world that has already caused deep changes in how customers and brands connect.

ENGAGE IS THE CHALLENGE

Mobile technology enables brands to reach their customers in ways that were unconceivable just few years ago. The main challenge that you face in your daily marketing routine, then, is not how to reach them but how to engage them. Mobile devices make it easier to find and trace clients but harder to retain their attention and loyalty in an overcrowded arena (a lesson retailers know pretty well). One of the key questions you should ask yourself, then, is how you can create a customer experience that is really remarkable and unique.

HELP SHARE DO 

If engagement is the most valuable coin on  market, how could you know that you're evolving to meet customers' expectations? The first step in the process is to understand what an engagement strategy is all about. There are at least three basic requirements that will help you keep the pace with wants and needs of your clients: the competence to help (whenever they need it, whetever device they are using); the attitude to share (your storytelling and the values behind it); the willingness to do, (personalize and always exceed expectations).

OPTIMIZATION EVERYWHERE

All marketers understand the importance of optimization when they create contents to share on blog, website or social media. But what about mobile? In a world where the smartphone is already the first tool customers use when they search for product information, too many companies still fail to offer optimized mobile experiences. We're not just talking about a responsive website or a flawless app; we refer to an overall seamless experience across all mobile devices (wearables and smartwatch included) and properties (never underestimate the power of the App store optimization).

QUALITY OF EXPERIENCE

With Apple Pay, wearable tech, virtual reality and iBeacon taking over the industry, it is now evident that mobile is the biggest playground for companies committed to developing a successful marketing story. And mobile is the missing link to connect the customer journey online and offline: where brand were used to scream "product, product, product", we now finally hear "customers, customers, customers". What do you value the most, the quality of your products (by now taken for granted) or the omni-channel experience you offer to your clients, from awareness to conversion and over? 

INBOUND MOBILE FIRST

In many respects, mobile marketing is still a field shrouded in mystery. This makes it easy to spend huge amounts of money in the wrong places, maybe thinking that traditional push strategies still work in the Age of the Customer. But with the advent of the smartphone everything has changed and there's no turning back: the upgraded client requires new rules of attraction and engagement, respectful and deeply rooted in the customer centrality of the inbound marketing methodology. Always acting mobile-first (if not mobile-only).

And if you believe that you are an old style business after all, and maybe you don’t need to think and act digital first … well, think again: even though you refuse to take an active part into the digital transformation, that doesn’t mean you will not participate in the mobile ecosystem. If you don’t establish your online and mobile presence, someone else will do it for you. At your peril.

 

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To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Social Networking Content Marketing Inbound Marketing

5 Ways To Stop Worrying And Learn To Improve Customer Experience

digitalcustomer

"Digital transformation or how I learned to stop worrying and love the customer"; quoting Stanley Kubrick, this would make a great movie title for the Age of the Customer. 

Taking a look at the 2015 SXSW conference schedule, it’s easy to see that there is one trend - clearly surfaced in most panels - standing out: the importance of digital innovation to deal with customers hard to engage (and please). Business studies have a specific name for this evolution: it’s called customer experience transformation and is now top priority to measure against the competition.

Being a prestigious annual interactive conference and festival, SXSW is a good reflection of the changes that we are all going through. Entrepreneurs, economists, tech specialists and novelists gathered in Austin, Texas, all agree that the secrets to success have deeply changed in the last decade or so.

The expansion of the virtual layer that covers our world - made possible by the Internet and mobile devices - is merging digital and analog into a new hyper-connected reality. The rules of the game have been radically rewritten. You can dance or stand by. But why would you?

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: STOP WORRYING...

Any evolution in the technological ecosystem brings in a necessary anthropological revolution: not only we don’t live in the same world as before; we are intrinsically different and we communicate in different ways and with different languages. People become empowered, new generations born and grow with a mobile device in their hands, and companies need to change accordingly.

If you don't speak their digital language, you won't be able to retain their attention and loyalty. The first step is to stop worrying and come to terms with the fact that you must update your marketing strategy - and maybe your identity - to focus on the interaction and the customer journey.

So, what’s the secret to the most successful companies of the digital era? Easy, they don’t just deliver a great product or service; they rely upon the quality of their output to create a customer experience that is innovative, delighting and seamless across all touch points. Customer experience management, thus, becomes a key factor in the overall reorganization of your company.

...AND IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Building better experiences has to start with knowing your customers. It requires a shift in how you see things, from company’s to customer’s point of view. Many still confuse DCX with CRM: while customer relationship management is still important, a CRM-focused contact strategy is too enterprise centered.

In the Age of the Customer, such a one-way action plan has too many limitations. Digital customer experience, on the contrary, is an outside-inside approach that puts the client at the center of attention, as the main purpose of business, encouraging a two-ways communication anytime and anywhere, no matter the channel.  

Again, don't worry. Delivering excellent experience doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the keys to better engage your customers and improve customer retention are so simple they might surprise you. The real effort, if anything, is to step from words to facts. Here are 5 ways you can start working to transform your customer journey into something unique and sensational.

  • ASK QUESTIONS - true rock star brands listen before talking. The best way to know where your should start your path to transformation is to ask to the person concerned. Remember: your customers know you even better than you do. Let them know you are always there to help.
  • BE PERSONAL - there are plenty of studies that recommend a personal approach to business. When dealing with clients, then, a ‘one customer’ feel is essential: each person is different and wants to be treated as such. Always personal(ize) your message and content marketing.
  • THINK 'BEST' - companies usually think about 'newest' features and products. They have done so for decades and they don't see any point in changing approach. With empowered customers, though, your efforts should be aimed at rather delivering the best experience, anytime anywhere.
  • TRAIN EXCELLENCE - it is now familiar that a great customer experience starts with employee engagement. Your employees will always be your first clients: if they don't believe in what they do, and you fail to involve them into your brand storytelling, that is the first sign of an upcoming crisis.
  • DON'T BE SCARED - changes are never easy to accept and share with stakeholders. Be it a new technology or a totally different approach to business, never ever be afraid of trying new things. As Albert Einstein once said, "You never fail until you stop trying".

And that’s what customer experience transformation is all about: a business revision process, addressed to enhance the experience of clients from any point of contact. Lingering behind the curve on the strategic use of disruptive technologies weakens your ability to strengthen the relationship with customers. Embrace the transformation, you might find that you love the digital bomb.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Reasons Why You Need To Improve Customer Experience in 2015 

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Download the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Branding Storytelling Content Marketing

10 Inventions That Will Revolutionize Retail Customer Experience

retaildcx

The future is already here. It is just not evenly distributed.” This quote by the cyberspace guru writer William Gibson introduced one of the most intriguing panels of the 2015 SXSWSouth by Southwest - schedule.

10 inventions that will revolutionize retail’ - behind this title lies the question so many entrepreneurs are afraid to ask: What does the future of retail hold? Technology disruption changes the rules of production and distribution, and brands need to evolve accordingly, if they want to survive the retail revolution.

The speech by David Roth, CEO of WPP The Store, and Jon Bird, Global Director at Y&R LabStore, is just the starting point for a wider consideration about the evolution of retail customer experience (a crucial topic that we have covered many times). If you look back at the past 50 years, what you see is that brick-and-mortars retail companies have basically followed the same rules over and over, with only slow and gradual changes.

For decades, advertising, product improvement, price and production efficiency have represented the core of all marketing strategies. Push communications and ‘powerless’ consumers were the two sides of the same business coin, and clients were called ‘target’ and clustered into generic and undefined categories. Today, the balance of forces has already changed, putting the customer on center stage and giving birth to the so-called Age of the Customer.

This trend is only destined to accelerate in the current era of rapid technological advancement, where Internet and mobile devices act as catalysts for a massive change in the retail industry. As the SXSW conference made evident, over the next 10 years there is going to be more change than in the last 50 years. Price and products are not enough to differentiate yourself from competitors in the new world that is taking shape, where objects will have the greatest impact on our shopping experience.

SXSWpicture

Shown below are the 10 tech inventions highlighted by the SXSW panel, and their main consequences on digital customer experience:

VIRTUAL AUGMENTED STORES

The idea of traditional store is meaningless in an world where physical and digital merge into a new level of experience influenced by virtual reality. The enduring success of the Oculus Rift and the launch of Microsoft HoloLens will open new possibilities for retailers: holostores, augmented reality, digital purchases. Neosperience Showroom is the perfect example of how to make your brand and products come alive in immersive 3D reality environments, to deliver powerful experiences.

SHOP & SERVE ANYWHERE

One number says it all: mobile commerce is destined to rise to $62 billion dollars in the next five years. The Internet is already the primary source of information for customers in the decision process. It is also slowly becoming the first reference for purchases. 'Store' doesn't mean just brick-and-mortars anymore. Your online presence is crucial to offer personalized shopping experiences in an omni-channel retail view (mobile first, of course).

DIGITAL SMART STORE

E-Commerce is putting traditional retail on a critical threshold: evolve or die. How can they answer back? Changing the very concept of location and updating the four concrete walls of a shop to the digital needs of empowered customers. The Internet of Things is the final frontier in connecting customers and brands, building engagement through personalization. Here's how to say goodbye to the old layout: 

  • Smart Vending - connected and built to communicate with customers and other machines. A good case study is the Nespresso boutique in Barcelona, a big vending machine store.
  • Sentient Stores - the iBeacon technology is rapidly becoming the standard in traditional stores. Beacons enable you to engage customers with context-aware contents and personalized offers and notifications.
  • Intelligent Shelves - shelves won't be just places to display products. They will ultimately recognize the customer, connect and interact with mobile devices to understand his/her needs and wants in that exact moment.
  • Artificial Intelligence - the interconnection of objects, made smart by the Internet, brings the concept of 'artificial intelligence' back to attention. Futuristic designers see the advanced store as a sentient entity with a beating heart of chips, wires and bytes. 

ON-DEMAND MERCHANDISE

Since the globalization became the major force in Western economies, many insisted that the world has become flat. Actually, the only things going flat are products price and quality. In the Age of the Customer, needs and desires are all but flat: now that they can have whatever they want whenever they want it, customers look for personalized contents and products. Online and offline. That's why we are facing the era of Me-Commerce (even more true when we talk about millennials).

OFF THE GRID RETAIL

If your strategy can't be just centered around the traditional 4 P's of marketing, you need something different to build a distinct brand image and remain the focus of customer's attention. Success will shine out for entrepreneurs that will take a distinctly ‘outside the box’ path to innovation. Again, there is another 'P' you should always include in your strategy: personalization. A tailored shopping experience is the real brand differentiator, when customers demand compelling experience not just useful products.

MOBILE PAYMENTS

All analysts agree that the use of Internet and mobile devices will change the way we buy things, and - even more important - the way we pay for products or services. Credit and debit cards will still be the standard in the coming years, but new technologies are at work to offer a more easy, fast and secure access to payments. The last stage of the customer journey is undergoing a fast development thanks to the NFC and the Apple Pay system, that will finally make the wearable revolution the real deal for investors.

VIBRANT DATA

Smart machines can communicate without human intervention. An ecosystem of smartphones, smartwatches, activity trackers, iBeacons, geo-fencing tools, virtual reality headsets (and so on) that creates data, gathered and ready to be used. Big data is the name of this amount of information about customers, production and sales: numbers that you must learn to scan and analyze to make better strategic decisions, improve the customer experience, reduce inefficiency and - ultimately - increase sales.

As a result of all innovation forces, the retail world is increasingly globalized, digitized, polarized and personalized. Too many retailers instinctively react to these challenges using the old easy way out to close under-performing stores, but the resolution is somewhere else: in the reinvention of the physical store and the adoption of those disruptive inventions that drive digital innovation and revolutionize retail as we know it.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Retail Marketing Strategy - 5 Steps To Renew Customer Experience

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Download the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Future Innovation Neosperience Retail Payment Big Data Mobile Internet of Things

5 Laws of Inbound Marketing To Improve Customer Experience

inboundmarketing

We all know that the inner workings of the world is ruled by widely accepted laws. A scientific law is the description of an observed phenomenon, supported by a large amount of empirical data. The same with the laws of customer experience, deeply rooted in numbers and statistics.

To understand clients, build your inbound marketing strategy and improve customer experience for the digital era, you have to consider this set of fundamental truths about how the Age of the Customer works.

The rise of new economies and markets, coupled with the spread of the Internet and mobile technologies, has caused an unexpected twisting in the global scenario. Customers have changed their skin, evolving into a 3.0 upgraded version, more demanding and extremely hard to please; brands, as a consequence, have been forced to reassess their vision and adapt their strategy for the new leading character.

The main difference between pre-Internet and post-Internet marketing lies in the focus of the overall strategy: where we could find the product - until few years ago - now we see the customer. In order to attract potential customers and engage with those that already know your brand, you need to switch from a push strategy to an attraction strategy. From outbound to inbound marketing, from interruption to experience.

The inbound methodology is well described by Hubspot as the process of empowering customers and becoming the best resource they can find in the purchase decision. A 4 steps journey that brings users from strangers to promoters, in a looping circle:

ATTRACT ---> CONVERT ---> CLOSE ---> DELIGHT

A project plan, though, is not enough to ensure a real change. Like any other science, digital customer experience management derives from data analysis, that should be inherent to every single step of the customer journey map. Give the premise, the inbound strategy creation starts from few simple - yet sometimes overlooked - laws of customer experience.

 LISTEN, LEARN & UNDERSTAND

The times of a non-stopping sequence of commercials pushed from above are now over. If you spread your message without knowing who you're talking to, you will have to face a higher margin of error and a total lack of emotional engagement. Your experience needs to be designed for individuals, and the voice of your customer becomes crucial. Listen before talking, understand needs and desires and shape your content accordingly.

SHIFT TO CUSTOMER CENTRALITY

After decades of 'Ego marketing', all companies must face the naked truth: your customers know you better than you do. It means that your old brand-centric marketing strategy will not work efficiently with instinctively self-centered people. The fight for the balance of power has reached an unsuspected plot twist: customers now look for compelling experiences, and if you 'just' offer a useful product you won't gain any competitive advantage in business. 

DON'T LOSE YOUR EMPLOYEES 

The rule is: unengaged employees jeopardize customer engagement. As the Starbucks loyalty case study teaches, the first step to create an amazing experience for clients is to involve your employees. Their dissatisfaction will ultimately impact on the service you deliver: the entire service-profit chain begins with, and absolutely depends on, engaged employees” (cit. Brian Solis). Three keywords for employee engagement: share, communicate, involve.

STAY HUNGRY, STAY PROACTIVE

The fourth law of inbound marketing could be summed up in one plain sentence: never ever settle for what you have already accomplished. In an fast-changing scenario, where customers set the rules of engagement, the worst thing you could do is to think that you don't need to evolve and move with the times. To quote the well-known motto by Steve Jobs, "stay hungry, stay foolish". Don't be scared to try new solutions and technologies, and opt for a proactive approach.

DON'T DROP ANY CHANNEL

For customers born and grown-up in a mobile ecosystem, life is a sequence of online moments built across different touch points. The customer journey map becomes mandatory to understand how clients connect with your brand and product. The last - but not least - law of inbound attraction is to think and act omni-channel, to offer consistent, personalized and seamless experiences online and in-store. Drop a channel, forget a device and customers will say goodbye!.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Reasons Why Customer Experience Is More Critical Than Your Brand

As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers 
in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.

Discover Neosperience Engage

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Analytics Content Marketing Inbound Marketing

Top 5 Steps to Improve Customer Experience For Millennials

Millennials

Millennials, Generation Y, Generation Me, Boomerangs: they have many names and they are among us. Call them what you want but never ever ignore them, if you want to ensure a long life for your business. It is important to understand how to adapt your strategy to their lifestyle and rules: if your customers are not millennials today, they soon will be. Very soon. Play their game and improve your customer experience, starting with mobile.

There are lots of myths and misconceptions about millennials and how they see themselves and the world around them. Analysts say they are lazy and entitled; they only care about money and success. True or false, you need to design and adapt customer experience to how the so-called boomerangs think and act. In fact, you must love them.

Why? Because researches show that those born between 1980 and 2000 are projected to have at least three times the buying power of baby boomers (also known as the children of the World War II). That means more than 200 billion dollars in annual spending just in the U.S. Money that millennials will gladly deliver to brands and products they consider truly innovative.

Truth is, price is not that important anymore. Surely it is not the main feature they look for while in the purchase process. Born and grown-up in a digital environment shaped by smartphones and disruptive devices (Apple Watch anyone?), accustomed to E-Commerce and mobile payments, they feel competent with technology, they are always up-to-date on the latest trends and ultimately give a higher value to innovation, creativity and uniqueness.

Plus, they consider the Internet - and social media above all - as a primary source of knowledge and opinion. You should never underestimate the social factor and the importance of community dynamics: millennials are quick to praise brands/products on social networks, but also very quick to criticize. And to abandon you after a bad experience, when they can’t have what they need, when they need it, easy and fast.

whoarethemillennials

(Image Source: Pew Research - Wikipedia)

Here are 5 steps you should take into account to improve customer experience for the demanding clients of the Generation Y (waiting for the next in line: Generation Z):

FOCUS ON THEIR GOALS 

In the Age of the Customer, it's not so very important what's your business goal. Even more with millennials, the key to succeed and reach the best results is to put customers at the core of your strategy, and work to realize their goals, not yours. 

CRAFT A COMPLETE EXPERIENCE 

With younger customers, the experience is way more important than the product itself. The fulfillment of their needs and desires passes through a complete journey, engaging and compelling across all touch points (and mobile-first).

BUILD A COMMUNITY 

If there's something millennials would never live without, that is social networks. To engage with them on a deeper level, encourage customers to share their thoughts and connect with you using all channels. Be their primary reference and listen before talking.

SUPPORT PERSONALIZATION 

There is a reason if millennials are also know as 'Generation Me'. It might be a myth that they are selfish, but they surely are self-confident and self-reliant. Support individuality through Me-Commerce, in the name of context-aware content and personalization.

SHARE AND PLAY 

The power of games as business tools is now a fact. Customer retention and loyalty are direct consequence of your ability to engage them in a two-way conversation. Gamification is perfect to share your brand values and goals with unintrusive and compelling dynamics of objectives and reward. 

Companies in the consumer products, retail and fashion, luxury & beauty industries will face - more than any other brand - the effects of this customer revolution. In this context, it's important that you embrace this demanding generation and reconsider how you build your digital experience and customer journey map to fulfill the millennial needs and wants.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Social Media Trends That Will Define Customer Engagement in 2015

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Social Networking Facebook Branding Content Marketing Fashion Luxury and Beauty

10 Industries Using Beacons To Improve Customer Experience

iBeacontourism

Retailers are the most excited by the avalanche of new opportunities made possible by the Beacons technology. Since Apple first introduced it in mid-2013, though, iBeacon has opened the door of disruption for many - and sometimes unexpected - industries.

Now that the Apple Watch is on the verge of finally making a debut in stores, the buzz is even higher. The two, in fact, make the perfect pair to help you improve customer experience. Let’s see what are the top 10 industries that iBeacons already disrupt - or will disrupt in the near future.

Just as the GPS changed so much how we experience the world around us, beacon technology - and Apple’s iBeacon above all - is destined to rebuild the way we experience places and stores. Add mobile devices to the equation and you will see why brands urgently need to shake up their engagement tools and rethink their digital customer experience from scratch.  

Today, almost any app on your smartphone or tablet is able to monitor your location, but the GPS technology is only accurate to within a few hundred meters. iBeacons add to your armory the capability to estimate user’s proximity within feet of a location, allowing mobile apps to deliver contextual and personalized content based on different behavior patterns.

The emergence of the smartwatch and the new generation of activity trackers and wearables will only accelerate this process, improving the efficiency of proximity marketing and offering the ability to augment the way clients explore places and interact with shops and products. The use of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) increases iBeacon’s life and makes it able to communicate with nearby devices, outdoor and indoor.

Of course much of the focus has been on how iBeacon can benefit retailers and personalize the shopping experience, but this new - however not as new as you may think - technology will touch and disrupt many more industries. It is a complete game changer that could shape the future of markets and brands, like Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things and - potentially - the Apple Watch.  

While companies compete to attract new clients and improve customer retention, here are 10 industries that already test and trial iBeacons.

RETAIL

Brick-and-mortars retail is undergoing its deepest change ever. It is the obvious industry for iBeacons in the local marketplace. Giants like Macy’s and Walmart are already taking advantage of technology to offer personalized content, location-based offers, call-to-actions, push notifications when customers are near or inside the store.

SPORTS

Technology is changing the way we do and - most of all - watch sports. In the U.S. many teams are testing new strategies to move people away from their comfortable couch and bring them to the sports arena. Major League Baseball is already implementing iBeacons to enhance the sports experience with in-depth information, gamification dynamics, indoor guidance and merchandising discounts.

EDUCATION

How can you fight non-attendance at school? New generations are intransigent digital natives and demand new approaches. Technology encourages students to study and learn in new ways, talking their digital language. The iBeacon can foster improved relationships between students and teachers, allow them to communicate through messaging apps, alert parents when kids are not at school.   

DOMOTICS

New apps are already coming to the stores to transform your iPhone into a smart personal assistant, able to respond instantly to your home environment. The iBeacon perfectly works indoor, and that means not only stores or stadium, but even your house. This is the level zero of the evolution of automation and domotics, that will show the power of the Internet of Things in full swing. To change the way we live.

EVENTS

When you organize an event - be it press conference, concert, ceremony or meeting - the key factor to succeed is the ability to engage attendees. The perfect examples is the last edition of SXSW festival, where the iBeacon technology was used to help people avoid lines and get more involved in the sessions. Real-time interaction and sponsored notification are just two examples of how to use it in the events management.

HOSPITALITY

The hospitality industry usually moves with the times, to offer innovative and improved experiences to clients. Hotels are adopting new technologies not just to increase productivity but also to enhance brand image and avoid the negative effects of bad reviews online. The iBeacons can help them with: way finding, geofencing, check-in management and real-time customer service.

HEALTH

There's a lot of talk these days about the importance of a renewed health program, in the name of a more human service and improved efficiency. When budget cuts become the standard in political programs all around the world, technology can help in spending less to offer more: HealthKit and Health Platforms are the final frontier of this trend, but the iBeacon is already in trial to better the medical customer experience in many U.S. hospitals.

MUSEUM/ART

How will museums survive the digital disruption? They need to embrace the evolution and improve interactive content delivery and navigation. Some are already offering a contextual guide that automatically provides on smartphones more details about the art and the exhibition. Here are other benefits: room guidance, way finding, improved loyalty, branded content, social media integration and product discounts.  

TOURISM

With the expansion of air routes and the decrease of flight prices, tourists now can go wherever they want. Municipalities feel the necessity to augment the experience and offer new ways to explore the city: mobility and iBeacons are the best engagement tool they can rely on, to put tourists in charge of their visit and enable them to access information about landmarks and key points of interests around the city.

BANKS

Economic crisis is forcing financial institutions and banks to reinvent themselves to retain customer loyalty and avoid capital outflow. Accounts have become customers and service is now the key to create an amazing banking customer experience. From welcome messages to the integration of NFC and mobile payments, there are many ways to use iBeacons in retail banking.  

These - and other - industries are more and more focused on how to find, attract and engage customers. We are still in the rollout phase and there is so much to explore and learn. One thing is for sure: with iBeacons, marketing is set change soon and fast!

As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers 
in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.

Discover Neosperience Engage

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Future Innovation iOS Retail

Stay Epic! How To Use Visual Content To Improve Customer Engagement

visualcontentmarketing

The creation of a strong brand begins with the ability to attract more customers and involve them into innovative experiences. There are two key pillars for an amazing brand experience: technology and content.

Content marketing is not a new concept but it’s now more important than ever to improve customer engagement. And the most effective way to build a compelling brand story is to use visual content. Stay Epic, that’s the rule!

The prominence of content marketing in business strategies is changing the digital customer experience landscape, forcing companies to change their role and act as publishers. Within the framework of your content strategy, then, there is one particular element becoming more and more important: visual content.

Visual_sharing

WHY VISUAL CONTENT?

If you have noticed a significant increase in visual content across social media and blogs, it’s not a coincidence. It’s a fact that over the last months every major social network - including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - have raised the value of visual content into their feed streams. Be it owned content or social advertising, images are now crucial for any company looking to connect with customers and drive deeper engagement.

why_visual_content

90 percent of the information that enters the brain is visual”: it’s not just science, it’s business. Recent studies reveal that brands leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their traffic, conversion rates and inbound acquisition results.

The following graphics - gathered by Hubspot - perfectly show why today content marketing equals visual marketing. Images, infographics, logos, headers and photos are the most important tactic in optimizing social media posts:

Social-Optimization-Tactics

The popularity of visual coincides with a lower interest for traditional whitepapers as premium content marketing format. Textual content is still one of the most used tactis for B2B strategies, but research shows an evident decline in favor of more interactive, easily digestible formats - such as video or games:

contenttactics

 

IS YOUR VISUAL CONTENT EFFECTIVE?

This is the first - and crucial - question you should ask yourself before starting. 

Just pubishing infographics on your blog or sharing a random picture on Facebook or Twitter won't help you build your community and strengthen engagement and customer loyaltyWhatever content your are putting online to enforce inbound marketing while telling your brand's story, you should acknowledge that you are a publisher, and act accordingly to manage and measure the effectiveness of your strategy.

visual_shares

Visual content for the sake of visual content means nothing to your customers. The purpose of content is to guide customers though the conversion process, from awareness to consideration to conversion.

You should always consider context before creating your content: Who will receive your communication? What touch point of the customer journey is it for? Is it really interesting and worth sharing?

Innovative content for the Age of the Customer should:

  • Be mobile-friendly and available everywhere;
  • Act as a vehicle of loyalty and customer retention;
  • Guide customers throught the conversion path;
  • Support engagement through gamification dynamics;
  • Be easily sharable on social media;
  • Be context-aware and personalized.

CREATE EPIC VISUAL CONTENT

We have see what you should do. Now let's close the full circle seeing how you can improve customer engagement using visual contents. We see at least 5 steps to shift to visual marketing, create a strong experience and gain attention:

  1. Focus on strong topics - choose the content that best fits the customer's buying journey, focusing on topics that really matter to attract the right people with the right content. 
  2. Choose the best type - when we talk 'visuals', we refer to a wide range of specific types of content. Mind maps, static photos, infographics, interactive content, video and GIFs, yor choice! 
  3. Don't exclude attractive design - what you see is what you get: don't forget that 'how you say it' is, at least, as important as 'what you communicate'.  
  4. Blend visuals into marketing - visual is nothing without a broader vision of your content marketing. A proactive approach to customer management is mandatory to respond to wants, needs and desires.
  5. Find the right channel - visuals have a very specific grammar, and that includes where you share it. Social media and blogs, of course, are the main channels; but don't forget that any single network has its own rules and best practices.

And remember: regardless the type of content used, quality is the most important factor for increasing conversion rates. Attention is the main issue in hyper-crowded content markets, so try to be the best resource your customers will find in their purchase journey, wherever they are and whenever they need you. That's the secret for a successful digital customer experience.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Why Proactive Approach Is Key To Improve Digital Customer Experience

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Branding Content Marketing

Customer Loyalty: 5 Celebrity Lessons From Lady Gaga & Co.

oscar-selfie

What do Lady Gaga, One Direction, Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Lawrence have in common? They are A-list celebrities, yes, but this is not enough to explain their enduring success. They must have something more, because you can't become the business machine they are today based solely on talent or luck.

The answer is simple: Lady Gaga and Co. did so relying on the ability to build and nurture a community of loyal and faithful fans. In the meanwhile offering useful lessons to every company and brand willing to improve customer loyalty.

In an age where social media and digital technologies dictate the business agenda, celebrities become more than simple icons and models of behavior; they become a brand, in the true sense of this word. Fame and fortune, thus, derive not just from what celebs create - a Billboard single, a blockbuster movie, a successful book - but from what they are and the experience they build for fans.

Their community is their fortune. Numbers explain this sentence better than a thousand words. It’s not by coincidence that:

  • Lady Gaga has 67 million fans on Facebook and 45 million followers on Twitter. Ever heard about the Little Monsters?;

  • Kim Kardashian has the most followed account on Instagram, without having any recognizable talent;

  • Oprah Winfrey has become one of the richest and most powerful people in the whole world, starting from zero;

  • Taylor Swift keeps on winning award after award and is now considered the pop star fans love the most;

  • J. K. Rowling has gone from being no-one to being multi-millionaire and the “most influential woman in Britain” (Time Magazine). Her secret is Pottermore

  • Madonna is still the scandal icon and bestselling singer all young pop star wannabes strive to emulate.

  • Angelina Jolie is the one of the highest earning and the most beloved Hollywood actress, with a net worth 120 million dollars.

You can have Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame but, if you just target success for money and celebrity, and fail to build an enduring community, you won’t go too far. A recent example: PSY, the Korean pop singer, has cracked YouTube with his 2012 hit Gangnam Style, reaching over 2 Billion views. No one before was even close to that cap. For almost a year he has been basically everywhere, but then? You can’t really say he was able to capitalize on that unexpected success.

On the contrary, Lady Gaga is the perfect case study to understand why a faithful community is necessary to guarantee success in the long term. Her latest musical efforts have not even remotely gained the critical approval and sales numbers of her first albums, and yet she is still here, loved and hated like the very first day. Because she goes way beyond her songs: she is a brand that tells a story, shares specific values and engages fans into a complex experience.

Do you see where this takes us? The entertainment business is the mirror that reflects the changes all other industries are going through: a digital transformation that leads to the Age of the Customer, where people - not brands - become the core of every digital marketing strategy. In hyper-competitive markets, the only way to grow shares and stay top of mind is to stop being self-referential and start focusing on your customers.

Of course, celebrities have absorbed this lesson long ago, and so they play their best cards to engage with fans and enhance loyalty. Using technology and innovation for this purpose: mobile devices, 3D and virtual reality, apps, widgets, wearables, branded content, social media, there’s no aim they can’t use. To say it with marketing terms, they are well-aware that “sales pass, loyalty stays”.

Entrepreneurs and marketers have a few lessons to learn from celebrities. We can sum them up in the following 5 suggestions:

  1. Share your values - every celebrity comes with different values and issues he/she cares about. Customers feel a deeper emotional connection when you share your values and build your whole strategy around them. To engage your community, be coherent, give them something to talk about and involve them into your storytelling.

  2. Understand their needs - real celebrities listen, not just talk. Lady Gaga, again, is a good example: she always makes her fans feel like rock stars. Little Monsters are the core of every communication. Start by analyzing and embracing your customers' needs, wants and desires. Put people of your community in the spotlight and make them feel special, like rock stars.

  3. Connect on personal level - the community is not the final aim of your strategy. It's just a means to get closer to every single customer. Technology evolution moves towards machine intercommunication (the Internet of Things), while clients ask for human connections: answer with a personal touch, create a sense of belonging, use social media to manage crisis and reputation issues.

  4. Make it about them - the Age of the Customers have replaced passive consumers with informed and empowered customers. This is a critical passage for your business: customer experience is more important than your brand, and the journey more critical than the product itself. Take care about clients, offer personalized content and guide them across all touch points of the customer journey.

  5. Exceed expectations - celebrities always feel the need to move their image and identity one step forward, to top fans' expectations, and then exceed them again and again. The same with your brand: don't slow down, keep on innovating and focus on the need to surprise. Don't be scared to try new solutions and always add a bit of spice to retain attention (Lady Gaga, again).

They all seem reasonable suggestions but too many companies, unfortunately, still think the old way, accounting their product or themselves as the main reason of business. Damaging, as a result, the connection with customers. Price, products and quality of service remain important, but it’s the digital customer experience that becomes the real key to succeed and become customers’ first choice.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Inspirational Customer Experience Quotes To Improve Engagement

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Social Networking Branding Content Marketing

How Industrial Internet of Things Will Transform Business & Customers

industrialinternetofthings

There is no doubt that the Internet of Things has become the cornerstone of all research turmoils these days. The intercommunication of smart objects and machines is meant to change the way companies deliver products and build experiences for their customers.

But it will also arguably become the biggest driver of growth in the next decade, reinventing industry sectors in the name of automation and efficiency. Are you ready for the Industrial Internet of Things?

Accenture recently sent out a report dedicated to this new trend in technology, explaining that the Industrial Internet of Things is the force that could help companies and governments to overcome this time of economic uncertainty. This is the starting point for a journey map centered around the customer and extended to embrace the future of production and distribution in advanced economies.

Customer Experience and the Internet of Things

The major consequence of the Internet of Things evolution involves the relationship between brands and customers, and that’s why the majority of analysts have focused on retail customer experience. It’s not by coincidence that we have recently included the I-o-T in the top 10 disruptive technology trends that will shape the digital customer experience evolution. Gartner has also considered it in the list of top 10 technology trends that companies will have face from 2015 on.

Of all the multiple touch points made possible by the mobile disruption, those related to the communication between objects (without human intervention) are - without any doubt - the most promising for your proximity marketing and engagement strategy. The implementation of processes run by the Internet of Things, in fact, will allow brands to reinvent loyalty through:

  • Personalized content - i.e. iBeacon;

  • Real-time promotions - i.e. push notifications;

  • Location based offers - discounts and advertising;

  • Tailor-made products - i.e. mass personalization;

  • Innovative payment methods - i.e. Apple Pay;

  • Gamification mechanics - i.e. wearables.   

What is the Industrial Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things, then, has draw attention for its consequences on retail customer experience and its deep impact on your customer experience management. If we move our focus from end users to production and sales management, there we will find the so-called Industrial Internet of Things. We can consider it the ‘zero level’ of this transformation, that involves the way companies imagine, design, produce and sell their products.

It can be defined as a "fast-growing network of intelligent connected devices, machines and objects". Devices that, according to Forbes:

  1. Have local intelligence;

  2. Have a shared API so they can speak with each other in a useful way;

  3. Push and pull status and command information from the networked world.

Accenture explains that the automation will boost the gross domestic product of 20 of the world’s largest economies to 14.2 trillion dollars by 2030. The real question, then, is: are entrepreneurs and governments ready to take all actions needed? Would they accept and adopt the Internet of Things while still struggling to fully embrace mobile-first & mobile-only plans and digital technologies?

The answer is open to further discussion. All entrepreneurs and marketers are well-aware of the importance of the I-o-T as a key factor for success but many - too many - still trail behind the technology pace: 73% say they are still thinking about whether or not they should invest in the Internet of Things and how they could adopt it. Just 7% of companies have already developed a complete strategy with specific investments. The main cause of this delay lies in the lack of adequate digital knowledge and the fear of radical change in how they do business.

Get ready for the Industrial Internet of Things

Accenture has identified three areas that companies need to address to scale the adoption of automation:
  • Re-imagine industry models: companies will have to redesign their organizations and operating models, to get closer to customers, improve efficiency and create amazing journeys.
  • Capitalize on the value of data: companies will need to generate insights from information collected by physical objects, converting big data into marketing actions.
  • Prepare for the future of work: will the adoption of automation mean the end of workforce? Not yet! Employee engagement will become crucial and new organizational structures will allow workers to collaborate more creatively.

The main takeaway here is: the Industrial I-o-T will accelerate the reinvention of industry sectors that account for almost two-thirds of world output. Are you prepared to take full advantage of this opportunity? Are you striving to capture all benefits and avoid pitfalls? To redesign your organization is to redesign your digital customer experience, and the Internet of Things will have deep effects on both, whether you like it or not. 

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To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Analytics Retail Internet of Things