By Caroline Bright, Senior Vice President Marketing, Ricoh Europe
The trusty ‘one-stop-shop solutions provider’ is a constant source of frustration for most marketers. The fact is, you don’t need to be a corporate agony aunt to realise that building meaningful relationships is only possible when you have conversations with people on their level based on their needs. This is especially true online where users have infinite power to skip past content that doesn’t appeal to them. It’s also why some managers are working on a “hyper-personalisation strategy” for customer interaction in the post-Covid world.
However, this approach is yet to become the norm in the marketing world. Many still send generic communications far and wide, over and over, hoping that if you throw enough mud some will stick. This is a huge waste of time. It prevents marketers from spending more hours on meaningful activities that drive real business benefits, such as growing the prospect pool.
To improve a business’s commercial prospects, marketing and sales teams need to work together to build long-lasting and robust customer relationships. Taking the time to properly research your audience and develop a thought-out strategy is key. It’s amazing how many marketers skip this step, rely on third party data, or even worse, their own assumptions.
What’s great about modern marketing techniques, particularly in the digital age, is the ability to reach audiences at scale while also adopting a more personal approach. But how do marketers avoid the default ‘mass-marketing’ pitfalls, and encourage their teams to adopt a more personalised approach, while reaching the maximum number of customers? The trick is to not waste anyone’s time – your own and that of your customers
Target and engage customers intelligently
Just like people, businesses are unique. They have their own backstories, offerings, and challenges. To target a two-year-old start-up with the same approach as a multinational clumsily overlooks the specific issues that each (very different) company faces. Audience insights can advise your marketing strategy and reveal how to best target customers – be that by profile, persona, or business size.
An agile, well-rounded customer journey can help businesses engage users and stay ahead of the competition. But this only works if marketing departments and sales teams have the technology that improves how they communicate with customers, such as e-commerce platforms and customer communication management software.
These steps help businesses of every kind to overcome challenges such as increased competition, aggressive pricing models from larger rivals, and difficult market conditions.
Become a genuinely digital entity
According to research commissioned by Ricoh Europe, staff are struggling to find the time to build relationships with customers and understand their needs. They spend almost a third (32%) of their day on administration and internal communication, double the amount spent on work that benefits and delivers a great customer experience (16%).
For marketers, every second spent on admin is time taken away from more valuable tasks at the heart of strong marketing campaigns – understanding the challenges facing customers and targeting them based on those specific needs. Employers need to deploy workplace technology that empowers marketing teams to become more agile, adaptable, and productive. In fact, half (49%) of workers say they would perform better for customers if supported by tools that automate admin tasks. Providing staff with remote access to files and allowing automation to do the heavy lifting can have a significant impact. It’s a simple enough formula: empowering employees with the technology to provide a faster, more accessible service equals increased competitiveness.
Learn how to work in an agile, integrated way
The best marketing campaigns are always collective efforts. A year ago, we at Ricoh Europe launched a fully integrated pan-EMEA sales and marketing campaign that incorporates multiple service areas and lines of business. The Work Together, Anywhere campaign has been a resounding success, leading to a nomination in PR Week Awards. We also received praise from the analyst community, with Forrester announcing the campaign as Programme of the Year at its EMEA Summit. Anticipating rapidly changing market demands, understanding the needs of customers, working with colleagues across geographical and functional groups all helped to deliver a great solution to the market before any of our competitors – boosting sales and increasing customer satisfaction.
This all goes to prove its high time to bid farewell to the default mass-marketing approach. With the right audience insights and tools at hand, your personalised approach is sure to deliver real business value long into the future.