The coming era of ‘on demand’ marketing
How will consumers interact with brands in the near future? What channels will they use and what sort of experience are they looking for? A new report, ‘The coming era of on-demand marketing’, from consultants McKinsey aims to shed light on these questions and to help companies prepare themselves for this changing world.
Essentially McKinsey believes that emerging technologies will mean that consumers demand a radically different, personalised experience from companies. Sensors in devices, the Internet of Things, the rise of Big Data and the ubiquity of smartphones will accelerate the current shift in the balance between consumers and brands, adding a physical dimension to previously virtual transactions.
And customers will want this experience in real time and almost everywhere. In this on-demand world, consumers will judge brands by their ability to deliver heightened experiences, which McKinsey define as interactions that offer high levels of value and are radically customised and easy to access, across the entire customer decision journey.
Driven by ubiquitous search, social media and mobile devices consumer demand will rise in four key areas:
- Now: people want to interact anywhere at any time
- Can I: they want to do truly new things based on the information companies hold on them
- For me: they expect data to be used to deliver a personalised experience, based on their needs
- Simply: They will expect all interactions to be easy
So what can companies do to prepare for this future? Based in a combination of the McKinsey report and Eptica’s own experience there are five key areas to focus on:
1 Work together
Bring together teams across disciplines and departments to meet customer needs. The rise of social media has shown that the customer journey is not the responsibility of a single department – everyone will need to work together to meet customer needs moving forward.
2 Embrace the physical world
Cheaper, smaller sensors and advances such as QR codes mean that consumers can now interact with the world around them as part of the experience. For example, smartphones can be used to tap and pay for coffee or travel. Look at how you can make the experience better using these emerging technologies.
3 Use data to personalise the experience
onsumers are leaving ever deepening digital footprints, leading to potential concerns on privacy. However McKinsey’s research found that customers are willing to provide more data as long as it is used to improve the experience by personalising it.
4 Make it simple
Smartphones and tablets have radically changed how we interact with technology with touch and speech-based inputs increasingly replacing keyboard and mouse. While you cannot replace every interaction with touch, ensure you make it simple to navigate along the customer journey, removing roadblocks from the path.
5 Be omnichannel
As McKinsey pointed out, companies have embraced multiple channels but not necessarily linked them together. This leads to an uneven experience that infuriates customers who want to contact you on their channel of choice, rather than being forced to change their behaviour to fit your structure. At a basic level link your customer service and CRM systems so that you can identify consumers and their preferences however they contact you.
The customer experience is crucial to business competitiveness now and in the future. Companies therefore need to put it at the centre of their plans in order to succeed going forward.