Can You Offer Emotional Value to Your Customers?
[For the December cover story, Target Marketing asked a field of marketing experts the top four questions facing marketers in 2015. This is the third question in the series.]
With all the emphasis on data and technology in today's marketing, it's too easy to forget that marketing is an emotional discipline. As the recession falls further into the past, we're seeing more and more that customers who've been primarily concerned about price for years are now looking for a reason, almost any reason, to choose a brand based on something more. Can your marketing meet the needs of these customers?
"In 2012, the principal issues [facing marketers] had much to do with evolving reach and inclusion approaches—multichannel integration, social media impact, mobile accessibility and effect, growing consumer privacy concerns," etc., says Michael Lowenstein, Ph.D., CMC, who is a thought leadership principal for U.S.-based international customer experience consultancy Beyond Philosophy. "In 2015, the emphasis will be more back-to-basics, with a focus on emotional value drivers: Trust, reputation/image, experience journey and relevance, building an engaged and bonded relationship, employee ambassadorship, etc."
Amanda G. Watlington, founder of Searching for Strategy, agrees the focus will be human.
"Since the consumer is the real driver of the bus, really top marketers must and do keep their eyes on the consumer and are ever-vigilant to changing patterns of behavior," she says. "The growth of couch-commerce post introduction of tablets is an example of the type of behavioral change that we must be on the lookout for. The best companies are scanning how consumers are using all of the technologies at hand and adapting to what the consumer wants. Given the fickleness of the consumer and fragility of brand loyalty, we must watch carefully for anything that might erode loyalty or change consumer behavior—credit card data breaches, poor delivery performance and weak customer service are all potential enemies."