Future Competitive Advantage

As digital technology continues to pick up more speed, companies will also have to accelerate their pace to keep up with new and evolving customer demands.  Products may not have changed much, but customer expectations have.

Today’s technology has created an on-demand world.  In the same way in which people are able to view many of their favorite TV shows on demand, customers, too, are judging brands on how they provide enhanced capabilities that offer easy access and value when they want it.

Evolving Customer Demands

Today’s customer expects to interact whenever they wish, wherever they are.  They really want to do new things as different types of information from a variety of apps are delivered in ways that produce more value for them.

Customers also expect to receive personalized information based on past purchases and surveys.  And finally, they want the experience to be easy. In today’s fast-paced society, they don’t have the patience and willingness to wait a day or two for clarity.

What Companies Must Do

Companies wishing to keep pace with these changes will need to outrival their competitors in the following areas.  They will first need to interact with customers in assorted ways by crafting communications based on custom circumstances.

They’ll also have to analyze customer behavior differently in gathering data and assessing information based on where and how customers interact with their brand.  And other key departments within companies will also need to collaborate, as marketing alone will not be able to carry the ball by itself.

Consider a sophisticated version of JibJab, the digital entertainment program into which one can paste his or her photo.  Some online stores currently employ programs that show shoppers how they would look wearing a piece of apparel they’re thinking of purchasing.  Demand for even greater personalization will only increase over time.

The key for companies that wish to gain on-demand customers is in 1. Getting to know them, really know them, 2. Discovering what their expectations are, 3. Uncovering what works for them, and 4. Arriving at a strategy and plan to connect with them with the perfect interaction.

Data gathered through three well-defined lenses is required.  The first is a clear perspective on market trends for a company’s market and brand(s).  Gathering data on what people are seeking, saying, and doing is important. What are they searching for?  What are they discussing on social media? And what are they tracking in-store, mobile and online?

When correctly performed, the second lens delivers information to companies on where online customers frequent and purchase and what the results are.  Companies that are able to gather together every customer contact with their brands will get a clearer picture of the path customers took in reaching their decision to buy.

Finally, trust always has been and will continue to be a major expectation of customers.  Assuring customers of this via improved personalization will help ensure customer loyalty.

Achieving and delivering these heightened expectations will require the teamwork and collaborative efforts of several departments.  Well-defined responsibilities from all affected departments will help ensure a better digital experience and the ability to meet future challenges.

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