In marketing, we aren’t rewarded for cutting corners or shaving a few bucks off operational costs like our constituents. Growth is all marketers (and their bosses) care about. It’s one of the most important variables in today’s global business. The primary directives for marketing are to generate demand, increase profits, and expand market share.
To increase profits and promote global growth, marketers must get their product to the market in a way that potential customers will want to buy it. It is marketing’s job to know its customers and to make sure that each user experience is personalized. Tools are now available in the digital world that let you cater to each customer’s individual preferences.
Imagine you own a sporting goods store and a customer who is interested in a pair of running shoes arrives at your site. The customer expects to be able to choose the color, size, and style that he or she likes and “see” exactly what’s being ordered. Our customers demand to interact with our digital businesses in real time, and our digital assets play a key role when matching products to customers’ individual preferences. Consider Room and Board, for example. The company increased its online revenue 152 percent by allowing customers to customize its products and visualize their creations, giving them greater confidence and satisfaction in their purchases.
Here are three steps to making digital assets a key part of your growth story:
- Get your digital house in order.
- Know and interact with your customer.
- Deliver across multiple channels and devices.
In today’s digital world, we have to provide a personalized in-store experience, scaled to whatever medium the customer is using. Engaging customers with a personalized shopping experience will both increase your sales and build customer loyalty. Customer loyalty earns referrals and return customers.
Step 1. Get Your Digital House in Order
The first step in growing your global business is to organize your digital assets: images, video, and rich media. Think of a fast food restaurant that sells tacos. Each ingredient is stored in an easily accessible, labeled container to make building a taco a quick and seamless process. All of your digital assets need to be labeled, organized, and properly tagged within the digital asset management system so you can quickly find the digital image and videos to present to the customer in real time.
Step 2. Know and Interact with Your Customer
Customers demand customization when they shop. Gone are the days when they will spend time searching your website for the products they need. Now they expect to arrive at a site and have options presented to them, based on their locations and shopping interests. As a marketer, you must understand the customer. If a segment of your customers consists of retirees who enjoy shopping after church on Sunday and they typically buy stockings, you’ll want to advertise the product they are looking in a way that they will see it immediately when they walk into your store. You must leverage data from all sources—customer relationship management (CRM) data, customer profiles, analytics, devices, and geographies—and present your customers with relevant and unique digital experiences—at scale.
Interactive online visuals are key to personalizing the customer experience. Imagine walking into a car dealership. You are greeted at the door by a salesperson with the keys to a car that fits your needs. The salesperson learns through your interactions that you need a family car with room for bags and sporting gear, hands-free dialing, and Bluetooth capabilities. Marketers need to create the same level of interactivity on their digital properties. Audi, for example, leveraged responsive design to increase customer engagement. The company’s website lets customers select any model car, customize the options, and zoom into any image to see the details of their selection. They can then view available inventory and contact the dealer to arrange a test drive.
Step 3. Deliver across Multiple Channels and Devices
The mobile phone is the most personal device that you have, and you take it everywhere you go. When you shop, you expect your shopping experience to be consistent with the mobile experience: personal and highly engaging.
Designing for mobile isn’t an option for marketers, it’s a must. A recent study showed that tablet users who visited e-commerce sites in 2011 spent 54 percent more per purchase than smartphone visitors, and 21 percent more than desktop or laptop visitors. The market data shows that tablet users expect more from their e-commerce experience and also spend more.
The lesson is this: The digital shopping experience must work seamlessly on every screen and especially well on mobile devices. Images and videos need to be scaled to the device and across all digital channels.
Growth is critical if a marketing organization is to stay ahead in the global business world. By getting your digital house in order, knowing your customer, and delivering a personalized shopping experience across multiple channels and devices, you will grow your market share and provide your customers with a personalized shopping experience.
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