Omnichannel. Nurture marketing. Social media “stories”. As we launch into 2018, these are the concepts that will shape the discussion around customer experience.
The overarching thing that connects these concepts together: media. Media has always shaped the customer experience, but in recent years its role has grown exponentially. There are two overarching reasons for this:
- Technology has made it much easier for businesses to create and distribute media to prospects and customers.
- As more companies jump on the bandwagon, competition for customers’ attention has grown. The high level of competition has created a need for brands to connect with customers’ emotions. This is reflected in research conducted by Forrester, which found that emotion is the number one factor in driving customer loyalty across 17 of the 18 industries surveyed (source). The best way to connect emotionally? Great content.
What kind of content will companies use to try and cut through the noise?
One major media trend is the rise of “stories.” Not the kind of stories we’ve been creating since the beginning of time; social media stories. Originally introduced in 2013 by Snapchat—and quickly copied by Facebook and Instagram—stories allow users to create videos that can only be viewed for 24 hours, at which point they disappear. Stories have already been used by brands to create a sense of urgency in the same way that traditional direct response marketing does (“buy now, this offer expires in 24 hours!”). Expect this trend to grow throughout 2018.
Another technique you can expect brands to leverage is the explainer video. A popular example of this is BuzzFeed’s “Tasty” series, which features short how-to cooking instructions—usually filled with butter and cheese. This kind of video represents an extension of the content and nurture marketing movement which has been trending for some time now. These kinds of tactics, which offer value to your audience without selling them anything, will continue to increase throughout 2018.
Media will help realize the goal of omnichannel customer experiences
One of the results of all this media is increased amounts of customer data. With the rise of various analytics tools, companies are able to gather insights based on the actions their customers take online. The insights gleaned from customer interaction with media will likely be responsible for more organizations realizing an omnichannel customer experience. An omnichannel customer experience is one in which customer interactions are tracked and analyzed across all channels, from brick and mortar to social media and web. It also means presenting the customer with an individualized, cohesive experience across those channels.
Perhaps the best part of all is that all this data will not only be used to create better customer experiences; it can also be used to create media will better engage with customers. All of the insights gathered will let companies create highly tailored content. This means that it won’t be long before the companies that are creating content based on analytics will quickly outperform those that aren’t. Which kind of organization will you be?