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These Things Must Be Done Delicately: Capturing Customer Value Through Digital Transformation

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

If your brand needs to regain market share to capture value among digital natives and other digitally-focused consumers, creating a Facebook and Instagram page, buying some Google Ads, and updating your website homepage may help, but it may not. Half measures on disconnected online platforms usually produce mediocre results that are difficult to measure or justify. Pursuing a digital transformation that integrates your brand through the complex customer purchasing journey, on the other hand, can yield measurable results and lead to a winning sales strategy.

First, digital transformation involves a profound company-wide commitment to providing customer value digitally throughout their purchasing decision-making process. This entails researching where and when your customer engages with various digital levers, including search, email newsletter sign-ups, social media, third-party news, information, research tools, and visits. In a culture of instant gratification, many grow impatient with this process. Still, gathering and analyzing data to set benchmarks, tracking competitors, and setting goals are foundational to winning campaigns. But, as the Wicked Witch of the West points out, these things must be done delicately.

For example, let's look at car buyers, who may have as many as 900 digital micro-moments and only two showroom visits before purchasing (Gevelber, Lisa. 2017). While we can assume car buying and other larger purchases trigger a greater degree of buyer research, the ability for all consumers to quickly gather information and feedback from influencers throughout their customer journey is unprecedented, with micro-moments occurring before the buyer is even actively researching a purchase.

Creating a Digital Baseline for Benchmarking

Establishing a benchmark is the first step in setting goals and to do this, you will need tools. Some common tools include Google Analytics and SEMRUSH, a site that offers a competitive analysis and real-time Search Engine Optimization suggestions. Additionally, paid search advertising platforms, including Google Ad Words, META, and LinkedIn, offer free analytics that provide snapshots of your ideal customers and how they may interact with your brand digitally. You will also need to start tracking related searches and keywords and set up relaxant Google Alerts and a social media listening campaign.

Enough About Me... What Do You Think of Me?

Nearly everyone is expressing themselves in today's social media-obsessed culture, and that's good news for marketers who should be listening. Track keywords, brand and competitor mentions, and conversations in newsfeeds and social media platforms. This personalized intelligence allows marketers to create targeted customer experiences that reflect a listening culture that consumers yearn for. Studies show that being heard is a crucial motivator for positive consumer experiences, as echoed in Conduet's 2022 State of the Consumer Experience Report: A Brand Perspective. Here's a snippet from their research findings:

“Know Me” – the growth of conversational CX.
• Consumers want conversational CX. Human response via digital channels such as chat, text, and email won out to 65% of consumers, compared to 35% for self-service.
• “Relate and resolve” is a growing trend among consumers, as 76% prefer dealing with a human to a bot.
• 84% of brands believe AI, analytics, and bots are critical in driving hyper-personalized consumer interactions, yet only 8% say they use such technology exceptionally.
• 50% of brands have increased focus on training to deliver heightened levels of personalization

An active listening campaign can help a brand personalize interactions, customize the content, and allow brand ambassadors to join conversations to manage negative comments in real time with authenticity, helpfulness, and transparency. Brands will also gain critical insights into their competitors' brand images that can fuel product innovation, customer support, marketing strategy, and more. Social media listening is essential to all customer journey phases, including the initial consideration, functional evaluation, post-purchase, and loyalty loop.

During the initial consideration phase of a customer purchasing journey, monitoring can track life events, often precursors to purchasing. For example, if you are a real estate broker, knowing the five life events that often happen before a person decides to buy a house can help them set up a social listening campaign that tracks potential buyers before they are even actively house hunting.

And then, of course, we must acknowledge the cookie in the middle of the room, although I will be posting on the subject in January. Until then, let's agree that cookies aren't bad or good but tools that can be used and misused. Tune back next month as we explore the ethics around tracking cookies and possible legal changes we all need to know more about. Until then... enjoy this Cookie Law Info snapshot, and leave a comment below.

About the Author: Mary MacLeod owns Holdfast Communications and has more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications and digital and sustainability marketing.

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