How to Changing Customer Expectations

Marketers see changing customer expectations for product quality, value for money, price and customer service—as the most widespread change and the one that will have the most lasting impact on marketing strategy. That statement is from a report from Accenture called Onward and Upward Marketing Transformation and it’s what I have been saying here on this site for over a year.

“The economy has changed customers’ perception of what good value is, and they expect much more for their money.” DUH ! OK, if you’re just learning that now than you have a serious problem when it comes to the understanding of marketing.

However, people are still willing to spend money on brand and products that are important to them. Want a good example ? Just look at the lines for new Apple products or go to a Mercedes or BMW dealer who is both reporting that sales are way up.

One point that I do not agree with on the Accenture Report ” The customer profile changed marketing … be less effective on our new generation of clients. Changes should be done … ” I do not think the market will be less effective , I believe the same old marketing will be less effective. Marketers who continue to use outdated metrics like reach & frequency and believe that TV drives conversion are just kidding themselves. Companies that have cut staff to the point that they can live up to customer expectations when it comes to customer service or use social media as a key brand touch point are going to learn a very hard lesson.

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If marketers are going to be successful in marketing to the new consumers they have to embrace and master these capabilities:

  1. Customer analytics: You need to know who your best customers are and customize offers to them. Research has shown that women who engage brands via social media want marketer to know more about them so that they can more personally relevant offers and information.
  2. Engagement: Does it make sense to engage your customers for all products ? No. Nobody is going to wake up and say “I think I’ll have a social media relationship with my salad dressing today”. Does this mean that you should not use social media ? Hell no ! Social media can offer you a wealth of information on what consumers are saying to each other and how they are thinking about quality and value.
  3. Processes: Too many companies align processes around the organization instead of the customer. If you’re having a meeting or have to go through a process that does not add value to your brand or customers, you’re wasting your time.
  4. Think profit: not market share Apple does not have a big market share in computers but they are the most profitable computer company out there. The days of huge market share leaps maybe over and you need to think about how to keep sales at a profitable level vs. sales increases that erode margins.
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The Accenture report is a lot of marketing common sense. If it’s eye opening to you then you better get out of the office more and talk to your rank and file people in the front lines. You also need to ensure that somewhere within your organization there is a person who is responsible for disseminating information to key decision makers. This person has to be able to filter the wealth of information on the Web and pull out relevant reports and data that are actionable and allow the organization to get a jump.