When we rebranded Customer Interaction Solutions as CUSTOMER back in 2012, the idea was to reflect the focus on the entire customer journey, including the technology available to customers that will continue to influence vendor behavior. We’ve done just that, with much real estate dedicated in each issue to the engaged customer, meaning those who either are in purchasing mode or have already made their buying decisions. Where we have neglected to focus enough, perhaps, is the earliest phase of the customer journey, before the buying decisions are made and many times before a future customer even knows he is in the market: Marketing.
As much evolution as we’ve witnessed in the customer service side of the equation, there’s been at least as much innovation on the marketing side. A lot of it is driven by similar strategies focused on understanding buying patterns and trends through data analytics – and there is an awful lot of that data out there in this mobile-first world we’ve created. With the growth of online shopping, the data is growing fast enough to make a marketer’s head spin, and even in physical facilities, shoppers have been known to comparison shop using their smartphones (talk about a key piece of data that should raise red flags immediately).
That’s not even scratching the surface of how marketing has changed since Nadji Tehrani launched the first iteration of this magazine, Telemarketing. Today’s marketers must become innovators themselves, thinking outside the box to solve the age-old dilemma of how to be the one brand a buyer remembers when it comes to decision making. They have to push the boundaries of branding and lead generation, with an understanding that they are not mutually inclusive – in fact, the former drives the latter.
Just like any other department within an organization, marketers are faced with technological revolution that has changed the way they think and behave – because their targets and customers have changed their behavior. As much as customer evolution is influencing vendors, to survive – even before succeeding and growing – marketers must find ways to use these shifts to their advantage and once again become the stronger influence.
Do you focus on time-tested strategies and tricks of the trade? Or do you really take a less conventional approach and embrace the mobile centricity that is driving today’s customer? What strategies are likely to be successful for you as you seek to build brand awareness? How much do you know about your targets, and how should that information influence your marketing decisions?
For instance, we’re in a world hell bent on leads – and why shouldn’t we be? After all, leads provide a concrete action item that has real revenue promise. But, lead gen inherently assumes an imminent decision, which is more often not reality. As such, it’s critical to understand how to balance lead gen with brand awareness and thought leadership – what tools and strategies are available to ensure that when a buying need arises, your brand is front of mind?
These are only some of the issues and topics you’ll likely see more of in future issues – and they are challenges TMC (News - Alert) has, for decades, helped its clients with through its portfolio of media products, helping create brand power and market awareness while helping countless businesses grow over the years.
In that light, I’d like to point out two resources that uniquely highlight many of the issues that marketers face today, along with strategies and technologies available to them as the seek to extend their influence.
Mad Marketer is a vast resource covering all areas of marketing, from digital to creative to branding to content. Check it out at www.madmarketer.com.
Shaping Influence takes more of an awareness and branding angle, as its name implies, but is an equally valuable resource for anyone seeking to understand the power of influence. Visit it at www.shapinginfluence.com.
Yes, today’s marketers are faced with a daunting task, but they have access to some of the most innovative and evolutionary technologies and strategies to help them on their journeys to meet the customer on level ground and solidify a brand relationship. These resources are your keys to keeping up with these trends and ensure you’re adequately equipped to do battle against your brand competition.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi