In this guest post, Nicholas Kontopoulos (lead image), Twilio’s vice president of marketing, Asia Pacific & Japan, offers top tips to keep the Excel sheets happy when the budgets are being cut…
A mere three years ago – we were blessed with an abundance of virtually everything. Anything you wanted from around the world, one click – and it swiftly appeared. But then the supply chain aftershocks of the pandemic started being felt and people soon realised that they couldn’t get those things as quickly as they wanted, if at all. As for marketers, they too now recognise that the cost and complexity of replacing customers is more difficult than ever before.
So with a possible recession looming, the mentality of generations past has once again been ushered back into favour – the idea of working with what you’ve got. Taking care of it. Making it last longer. Because replacing it is not only difficult, it’s expensive too.
So how can brands acquire customers more efficiently with maximum conversions? And just as critically, how can they keep those customers happy and loyal, to unlock greater value over the course of their lifetime? These four steps are a great place to start.
- Use data to build loyalty
A problem still plaguing marketers today: paying for ads that don’t work. They don’t have the data. Or they have too much and can’t use it effectively. Or, it’s not in real time. In the current economic climate and with competition so rife, companies can’t waste money on customers that are never going to buy, or that cost too much precious marketing spend to persuade down the funnel.
The solution to this is surprisingly simple: the more customer ‘signals’ you can use in your ad targeting – the more cost effective it is going to be. Customer data platforms (CDPs) have become crucial in helping local companies aggregate, unify, and organise data from multiple sources. Our recent research showed 63 percent of Australian companies are now more likely to invest in a CDP to collect, analyse, connect or unify their first-party data. Modern CDPs can allow you to act on customer profiles within minutes – not days.
- Convert customers through conversations
The problem many marketers are facing now is that as soon as customers face friction, they abandon the purchase, ultimately resulting in wasted ad spend. It is for this reason that conversational messaging has become so critical. Instead of making customers wait days to get answers by filling out customer contact forms, brands can give them the ability to start a conversation. They can do it on the website, on WhatsApp, Google Maps, on Instagram – wherever they are at that moment.
According to our recent research, Australian consumers are hungry for more real-time interactions with brands – 83% would be more likely to complete a purchase if they could message a brand in real-time. But despite this, SMS remains the default channel for consumers to communicate with brands locally.
There remains a largely untapped opportunity for marketers to build their proficiency across channels to convert more customers on the spot. Australian digital bank Up, for example, gained over half a million customers through its ultra-friendly mobile app that supports and communicates with their Gen-Z and millennial customers the way they prefer, including chat threads in-app and texting important info fast.
- Remove onboarding obstacles
CAPTCHA, pin codes, minimum character requirements for passwords, email and phone verification – customers have to jump through a lot of hoops these days. What used to be simple has become painful and full of friction. The positive news is that companies have worked hard to protect customers against cyber crime, BUT the flip side is the customer experience has suffered. There has been a trade off between user experience and security – and many brands haven’t mastered the happy medium.
With modern martech solutions, the good old days of simple logins are being revived – with that added layer of security. Once again the purchasing process is becoming instant. Brands can now authorise customers securely without them having to go through any of the rigmarole that may delay or prevent purchase. When you make it easier for customers to buy – you are getting them through the funnel faster, enhancing conversion rates and saving money at the same time.
- Turn agents into trusted advisers
With many businesses facing restricted marketing budgets, there is a greater need to better utilise and equip staff to serve your business goals in the best possible way. To this end, customer service agents shouldn’t just be there to close tickets – they should be there to build trust. To offer that human touch to create moments that nurture relationships. Only when you empower your team with data and tools to make every interaction personalised, can you turn service conversations into value conversations. To this end, many brands are giving their service teams unique names that more closely represent the role they really fill – ANZ Bank, for example, calls their team ‘financial coaches’.
Once brands accept that consumers can no longer be treated as transactional, and they need to build loyalty from the very first point of engagement – they are on their way to do more effective marketing that saves on spend and maximises on customer value.
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