October 03, 2016

Building deeper customer engagement with marketing automation tools

Posted by Suzanne Yap

The past 18 months have been particularly trying in the oil and gas sector but there are hopeful signs that the situation might be picking up. In this emerging environment, companies are asking themselves if their existing strategies fit the new needs of their markets.

During the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2016 earlier this year, Fifth Ring gathered a group of C-suite marketing executives to share their experiences, hear different perspectives and expand their networks.

Two key themes that would be relevant to all industries surfaced from the discussion: the importance of differentiating one company’s value proposition from another and choosing the right marketing platforms to facilitate sales growth.

What is your key differentiator?

The focus must be on the true value derived from a product or service. Companies need to re-evaluate how impactful and relevant their value proposition is in today’s market. An internal audit is useful to find out if a company’s value proposition differentiates itself from the competition and is aligned to the customers’ demands and expectations. It needs to evoke emotion, be intuitive and embedded into the organisation.

Starbucks comes to mind when we talk about how important a clear value proposition could make a brand. The phrase, “live coffee” sums up what Starbucks wants to create – an experience that customers would want to integrate into their daily lives. This unique experience is also delivered through the serving staff when they speak to and take note of each customer’s name. While the quality of the coffee beans and ambience of the cafés are important elements of the business, the human touch to build rapport and engage with customers is just as critical.

That being said, before an organisation is able to effectively convey its value proposition to external stakeholders, it must first convince its staff, specifically the marketing and sales team on the strategy, and embrace marketing technologies and platforms as the tools for success. Employees are essentially brand ambassadors and they must be ready and willing to deliver on the brand’s value.

Taking the first step

Choosing the right marketing platform starts with creating a customer journey map so that the company knows where an individual came from and what he or she wants to achieve. The information for this map can be derived from customer surveys, for example, to give companies a snapshot of how and when an individual decides to interact. For instance, if customers tend to enquire about and download product brochures from the main website, sending regular email updates to those interested individuals would keep their interest warm.  

Deeper engagements through marketing automation

The idea is to disseminate behavioural-based and highly targeted content to target audiences at specific timings. This can be done through marketing automation. Marketing automation is not a new platform and has been around since 1992. However, the recent surge of marketing automation tools such as Sharpspring, HubSpot and Eloqua can help companies optimise their customer engagement engine.

Depending on which tool best suits a company’s requirements, the organisation would be in a position to act on their journey map and create personalised content for the people who matter the most to their business. The tailoring of messages that they know would resonate with their target audience is a powerful means to keep engagements personal and enriching.

Consolidating these customer-related information is just as important and forms the foundation of any outreach activity. Despite it being a tedious task, companies are increasingly investing time and effort to clean up their sales and marketing databases. As the saying goes, if content is king, then data is its queen. Both elements need to work in tandem for outreach efforts to be effective.

In today’s vibrant social era, complementing marketing automation outreach efforts by leveraging on key marketing platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Outbrain, also enables the public to interact with brands. There is a wealth of information that can be gathered from studying customers’ online habits.

It’s all in the packaging

At the end of the day, companies want to generate higher sales conversions and ultimately more revenue. We believe that this can be done through creating exceptional customer experiences every day. Differentiating one’s value proposition through personal or virtual interactions on a daily basis adds another dimension to how a company’s target audience perceives the brand. In today’s economic climate, the difference between meeting and exceeding expectations boils down to the adaptability of companies in tweaking their long-term strategies and leveraging on tools such as marketing automation to raise awareness and increase brand recall.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Suzanne is the Head of Integrated Communications APAC at Fifth Ring and brings with her more than 16 years of experience in public relations, driving integration activities on a regional and global level.

With over a decade of professional experience across diverse industries, she has worked extensively with brands of various stripes, including regional and global players. These brands cut across a plethora of sectors such as technology, telecommunications, consumer/personal care products, automotive, energy, aviation and pharmaceutical.  

Prior to Fifth Ring, Suzanne spent three years at Waggener Edstrom as the APAC Lead responsible for all aspects of Microsoft Embedded communications strategy and execution in the region, specifically Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan and overall pan-region. She had also spent eight months as the Greater China lead for all related Microsoft accounts.

Article sourced and credit recognised to British Chamber of Commerce Singapore: http://www.britcham.org.sg/static-pages/building-deeper-customer-engagement-with-marketing-automation-tools

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