As we move into 2023, it’s more important than ever to provide a seamless customer experience. We also call this omni-channel marketing. And, you need to start planning now.
Sure, we’ve been talking about this for a while, but the past few years have really brought its’ significance into the forefront.
That’s because as consumers, we interact with a brand in lots of different ways. And, now we expect that brand to be consistent regardless of what channel we’re using.
Let’s talk about those channels. Starting at the beginning, there is the company website. Nowadays, many companies also have a specialized app. Most brands usually have at least one active social media channel, such as Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook. And obviously, some brands have all the socials under the sun. We saw TikTok come into dominance in 2022 in the younger cohorts. Gen Z uses TikTok as their social media choice and their preferred search engine option.
Resurrection of the direct mail channel
There has also been a resurgence of direct mail. We are seeing lots of catalogs and postcards that direct us to company websites. Some are using QR codes for easy point and click. Many brands have brought direct mail back into the channel mix because it is so cost-efficient. It also makes the other channels perform better because it creates a two-way connection with the customer.
There are other channels as well – think email and text messaging. Have you ever received an email or text message from a brand, like a newsletter or promotion (maybe a discount code)? If so, that’s another brand interaction.
That’s already six different touchpoints, not including any interactions you may have with them in person.
This just goes to show that customers don’t engage with brands through just one method or channel. Consumers expect a “unified marketing front” across the board. That’s another way of referring to a seamless customer experience.
Providing a united marketing front
Consistency is king.
No more different prices on the website versus what’s in the store. Their customer experience should be complete and seamless no matter which channels they interact with.
A great example of this is Target. Customers can shop for products on their website, the Target Circle app, and in brick-and-mortar retail stores across the US. Customers can use their app to locate products within the store, place their orders online, track their rewards, and initiate an in-store return.
This ultimately provides the customer with a personalized and dynamic multi-channel shopping experience.
While most small businesses aren’t quite behemoths like Target, understanding the customer journey is still vital. Marketers must understand the buying journey from start to finish. This is the best way to create a special and seamless customer experience.
Understanding the customer journey
Brands must take note of each touchpoint they have with customers, from browsing to buying. A tried-and-true method to keep this all straight is to create a customer journey map.
According to Asana Marketing, a customer journey map is a visual representation of how a customer acts, thinks, and feels throughout the buying process. It’s an important part of your marketing plan. That’s because it forces you to specify the different marketing strategies and channels you are planning to use. This way they can work together to reach your company’s overarching goals.
Each touchpoint should be fully integrated with your other channels. This makes sure your messaging is consistent across the different channels.
You want to be focused on making the overall customer experience the best it can be, no matter which channels you use. Always think about how you want to be treated so you provide your customers with the same experience.