Over the next 12 months, we’ll be sharing advice on how to grow and strengthen your digital business with a holistic approach to customer intelligence. Join our healthy digital transformation club to stay in the know.
Customer proximity, engagement marketing, consumer-driven innovation… 2020 is the year to take your understanding of customers to the next level. And no one knows this better than the new crop of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands, who are challenging traditional digital commerce channels and reinventing the way businesses communicate, engage and connect with their customers.
A slew of big-name start-ups of the past few years have set up shop as DTC businesses. Even legacy brands like Nike are making moves to reduce their reliance on third-party vendors like Amazon. So what is behind the direct to customer marketing appeal?
In Praise of a Truer Connection With Your Customers
The name says it all. Many of the D2C newcomers are leveraging this unmediated business model to build a stronger, closer — in short, more direct — connection with their audience.
With a greater hold on consumer engagement through ownership of the whole customer journey, brands are at liberty to analyze the moments of connection to better adjust the CX to their customers’ needs and wants.
Customers in 2020 value seamlessness, yes, but also authenticity, originality, added value, and a customer experience (CX) that ticks all these boxes. Some audiences will be responsive to a company’s sustainable supply chain; others want a beauty brand designed for real people.
In the brave new D2C world, a brand’s core value proposition has to be defined (and delivered!), as it is a cornerstone of engagement marketing.
One of the benefits of all this customer closeness is that it breeds innovation. The D2C superstars, with their tight audience relationship, are leading through disruption; innovating new ways to engage customers and nurture loyalty over time.
In fact, these success stories often transcend the product that launched them in the first place. For example, on its website, Away says it makes “everything you need away, and nothing you don’t.” GoPro’s About Us page mentions “celebrating moments” and “capturing life.”
Achieving this level of connection implies a solid understanding of what matters to your target audience, which brings us to UX data.
Leveraging Behavioral Data For Greater Customer Proximity
Addressing your audience directly gives you privileged access to customer intelligence, and to the digital insights you need to optimize your CX.
Owning the end-to-end user journey affords brands exhaustive insight into their visitors’ UX — from their customer journey, to their in-page behaviors, to their interactions with individual page elements such as images, form fields, etc.
This kind of in-depth reading of your customers’ behavior will reveal your biggest experience hits and misses, flag the changes that should be prioritized and convey where your greatest opportunities lie.
After all, how can you build the ideal customer journey without a solid understanding of what your visitors are trying to achieve in the first place, or how they would prefer to go about it? The way customers move through your site and interact with it are all clues to decipher intent — itself a necessary signal for personalization and customer connection.
Aligning customer wants and a brand message via an engaging experience is something the leading D2C brands have mastered. And today, putting customer experience metrics in the hands of all those who have a stake in the CX has never been easier.
Widening access to this data is key to achieving the level of agility and excellence that customers today expect. Customer preferences fluctuate fast and furiously, and your team’s ability to keep up with them needs to be just as swift.
The DTC Approach: Putting Customers at the Heart of Things
Whatever your business model, there is much to learn from D2C brands’ commitment to customer-centricity. Developing a unique brand narrative, defining a clear value proposition and leveraging your ownership of the customer journey to improve the digital experience for all visitors are just some of the ways you can increase customer engagement.
In the end, all roads lead back to customer experience analytics. Whether you want to control the creative concepts or the technical aspects of your UX, a surefire way to unlock actionable insights is through the use of metrics that capture the nuances of human digital behavior. Does your message resonate? Are you helping visitors achieve their goals? Is your digital experience (DX) frustrating or delightful? There’s much to discover on how your visitors are using your digital properties.
So go ahead, sow your wild oats via a DTC approach and stay informed on your experiences and customer behavior. After all, the ‘20s are here. Let’s make them roaring for your UX.
Want to learn about how our DTC clients leveraged smart UX analytics to improve their content and ROI goals? Download our DTC report.Customer Love: How To Cultivate A Happily Ever After With Your Clients
If you ask any of my Contentsquare colleagues how many clients we have going into the new year, most of them will reply, without a second’s hesitation: 600.
And they’re right: we did wrap up 2019 (our most ambitious yet in terms of new business) with a portfolio of 600 leading global brands.
But because we love numbers so much at Contentsquare — and because it’s almost Valentine’s day — let me share with you a much more exciting number: 12,000.
That’s the number of people behind those 600 logos who use our solution as part of the work they do every day. In other words, 12,000 individual relationships to nurture and sustain, or, if we’re being really ambitious (and we are), 12,000 reasons to keep the spark alive every day. Of course, these are business relationships, but they are still first and foremost human relationships. Some examples:
- We believe in investing in the right match. We only pursue prospects because we know we can provide value to their teams.
- In 20% of cases, it is our clients who recommend us to others in their network. Who in this world hasn’t met some of their best friends through other friends?
- “How likely are you to recommend us to your peers, on a scale of 0 to 10?” Ever heard those words before? It’s the famous Net Promoter Score survey question we’re always asking our users to answer, and we’re pleased to say ours hits best in class benchmarks. In other words; what you do matters. Doing what you say you will and becoming someone who can be counted on is what creates strong relationships.
I could keep going, but that is not the point. Let us focus instead on what really is at stake, here: how to create, improve, and renew meaningful engagement for these 12,000 users of our solution. If the answer seems obvious, that’s because it is. Yes, it’s true, for B2B as for B2C, the cornerstone of sustained customer engagement is (drumroll) a good experience — and ideally differentiated, experience.
One of the foundational pillars of a good experience is LISTENING to your customers. (which is an essential element of another one of our core values: Team Spirit). At Contentsquare we make listening to our customers a priority — we are constantly collecting feedback on our product and roadmap through individual or group sessions, we ask our clients what features they want us to prioritize, and we ask them to weigh in on our product positioning strategy. In fact, our clients are involved in every aspect of our growth; from the development of new functionalities to the strategic vision of the company. We believe alignment with our customers is crucial to our innovation agenda and future as a company.
The second pillar is CONNECTING our customers with their peer-based community. The most visible representation of this is our very active client community. Many of our clients will tell you they really enjoy and look forward to these recurring meet-ups and clubs, which are a chance for them to share use cases and best practices, or quiz their peers about the solutions that work for them and the challenges inherent to their industry.
The last pillar, ENGAGING, is also how we measure the success of our customer experience. Our most engaged clients are true brand ambassadors and sponsors, and you’ll often find them speaking alongside our CX-perts at conferences. They’re very giving of their time, they recommend us to their peers… with enthusiasm.
The last thing I’ll say about customer engagement is that it starts with every team being engaged with customers and their mission to create better experiences for their customers. Whatever our department, country, office, or role, customer experience touches each and every one of us and we all need to be — if not obsessed — deeply committed to delivering excellence in this regard.
Of course, no one is perfect and it’s important to remember: a good relationship is one that evolves, as each party changes and understands each other better. So yes, we will continue to challenge ourselves to keep listening, keep growing and keep improving to always be the best partner our clients need us to be, and in doing so, to keep the spark alive. 🙂
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