Problems or opportunities: what will 2011 bring for marketers?
With Christmas shopping in full swing and a chill in the air, my thoughts naturally turn to what next year will hold.
Hauling ourselves slowly out of recession, we’ve witnessed exciting changes to the relationship between consumers and brands in 2010. It may be stating the obvious, but there’s no doubt that we will continue to see the onslaught of social media, shaped by these empowered consumers – particularly as their relationship with brands becomes a far more interactive experience, increasingly influenced by user-generated content.
Not only will more companies feel it necessary to adopt a social media policy to keep up with their customers and prospects, marketers will need to think strategically when considering how to make best use of these channels.
· The challenge for organizations will lie in integrating social media channels (and the most appropriate use of these) into all facets of their business
· It will be down to businesses to harness the knowledge gleaned from customers through these networks to develop customer-focused campaigns and communications, and to provide relevant information and support where customers want it. Right message, right time, right format, right channel.
· Organizations will need to go beyond what they are already doing with social media. They will need to be context-aware, identifying the most vocal influencers and acting on what these voices are saying.
· Company websites will have to become increasingly ‘social’ and ‘connected’ with their customers (instead of shouting, they will have to do the listening) – which will be key to the business demonstrating it’s putting the customer first.
The proliferation of mobile devices will further impact how consumers access and interact with information. According to a recent IDC report, non-PC mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets will out sell PCs within the next 18 months, and 25 billion mobile apps will be sold in 2011. There is huge potential for enterprises to offer mobile access to their content and vie for consumer attention, and we will see many beginning to hone their enterprise content management (ECM) strategies in the coming years.
This brings with it many challenges given the range of devices out there, not least, the lack of a standard OS. This in itself will make it difficult to track audiences. Marketers will need to think hard about how they use these platforms to deliver content to customers in a way that is not only tailored to them, but to the device and its features, whilst staying ‘on brand’.
And finally, if 2010 has been a year of mounting talk around the subjects of customer experience and customer engagement, then 2011 will see customer experience rise up the corporate agenda. No longer the preserve of the marketing team, customer experience will be a department in its own right, and enjoy increasing resonance across sales, IT and beyond.