- In the early phase of the COVID-19 crisis, many brands were forced to undertake significant organizational changes, altering the way they do business in order to remain viable.
- Brands now have the opportunity to move beyond mere recovery to achieve a true organizational renaissance. They can do so by streamlining their internal and external operations and determining simpler, more efficient, and cost-effective means of reaching their goals, enabling them to better serve their customers moving forward.
- Rather than dedicate resources to customer acquisition, brands should shift their focus to retention, providing exceptional customer experiences to existing customers for greater long-term value.
- Through data-driven experimentation and monitoring, brands can evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing activities, allowing them to hone their focus on the most relevant and successful strategies.
- Brands should also build customer loyalty and measure engagement by offering value beyond products and touchpoints that aren’t purely transactional.
- While no one could have prepared for the far-reaching consequences of a global pandemic, brands now have the chance to rebuild and reimagine how they operate.
Implementing significant organizational changes is a formidable challenge even in the best of times, let alone amid a global pandemic and recession. But faced with the COVID-19 crisis, many brands confronted a stark choice of either significantly altering the way they do business to remain viable or risking total wipeout.
While virtually every company was compelled to make tough calls on-the-fly during the chaotic early phase of the pandemic, brands now have the opportunity over the coming weeks and months to go beyond mere recovery and achieve a true organizational renaissance.
To do so, companies must reimagine (Read more...) internal and external operations, with an eye toward optimizing internal marketing and personalization systems to better serve customers moving forward.
Brands streamlining internal operations
As brands weigh their future moves in a climate still largely defined by uncertainty, they should begin by asking themselves some fundamental questions about whether there are simpler, more efficient ways to achieve their objectives.
Can they trim spending and consolidate resources without sacrificing their goals?
For instance, brands can begin to cut operating bloat by replacing or optimizing outdated and inefficient legacy systems. In doing so, they should pay special attention to any technological overlap in marketing stacks.
An example of such overlap includes product recommendation systems, as these may each collect user data according to the individual channels they serve – email, on-site, offline, and so on – resulting in inconsistent, irrelevant, or repetitive messages and customer experiences across channels.
Evaluating and consolidating additional marketing functions, like CMS systems, ESPs, mobile messaging platforms, and certainly, the customer database infrastructure used can curb costs, boost ROI, and enhance the overall efficiency of a brand’s operations.
Delivering optimal customer experiences
The driving force behind all brand renaissance efforts should be the imperative for a seamless customer experience. Delivering engaging, tailored experiences was vital before the pandemic and it’s even more important now as brands seek to regain their footing.
But whereas customer acquisition was the primary focus pre-pandemic, in the era of COVID-19 and beyond, retention is where brands should focus their attention.
Given the enormous financial uncertainty the market is confronting, pouring immense resources into acquiring new customers of unknown long-term value is a highly risky strategy.
By contrast, focusing on retaining existing customers is not only vital to keeping companies on solid ground, but also requires significantly less spend.
A data-driven culture must, therefore, be the linchpin of all customer retention efforts. Monitoring how customers interact with a brand across channels is crucial for understanding how to serve the bespoke experiences today’s consumers expect.
Marketing technology tools can help companies rise to the challenge by building and executing tests that return hard data on the impact of various marketing messages, campaigns, and activation tactics.
For example, businesses can segment their existing customers according to whether they’re active or inactive, designing outreach and promotional opportunities tailored to each group.
Alternatively, the brand could isolate and connect with their known users via email or push communication, leveraging their stored customer insights to fine-tune the experience once they land on-site.
Ultimately, following every campaign, teams should study and validate the effectiveness of their activities, allowing them to better understand the performance of certain strategies and optimize things like messaging, product selection, and so on.
This applies to all audience groups and even changes made to organizational structures and team operations – it is part of the ongoing process of experimentation that will set businesses up for success.
Brands offering value beyond products
The bottom line remains the bottom line, but to retain customers and build loyalty, brands must also ensure that the customer journey features touchpoints that aren’t necessarily purely transactional in nature.
This could entail providing customers with timely, valuable, and engaging interactions – whether it’s compelling and relevant editorial content, an advanced look at new products, ‘Throwback Thursday’ coupons, or concierge shopping.
Because customers have become increasingly attuned to how brands are responding to the present crisis and providing value to their customers and communities, these touchpoints fill a critical need.
From the company’s perspective, it can also provide illuminating insights into whether customers are engaging with the brand, and how.
No company expected to spend 2020 grappling with the far-reaching consequences of a global pandemic, but out of every crisis comes the opportunity to rebuild and revitalize.