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Customer servicing has historically been a reactive process. The customer approaches the service representatives about the problem which is then addressed by the executives. Now marketing technologies are providing us with data warehousing capabilities which can store enormous amounts of data on customers thus enabling marketers to predict their exact needs. In depth customer knowledge using analytics has now become a critical component of the CRM process. Various marketing channels such as emails, mobile apps, social media and websites facilitate the capture of this vital data. This also allows personalized services to be offered to customers.  

In the upcoming future, marketing of e-commerce will be generated by visuals and user generated content (UGC). Social media has managed to encourage individual users to get themselves photographed next to experiences they value and share with the wide world. Instagram and Facebook have lent themselves perfectly well to this model. Due to lowered barriers to entry, everyone is today a critic and posting blogs, comments and videos. Marketing research conducted by Forrester, clearly shows that less than a tenth of respondents consider direct ads from companies or banners to be authentic. However, 70% of that same audience considers peer recommendations very highly. Online reviews by other customers are also trusted by about half the market. This trend is giving credence to UGC’s rise as a serious means of marketing.

It has long been understood that social media forms an important cog in digital marketing. However, now these channels have moved beyond the awareness and brand building part to direct final sales. Facebook has experimented with certain businesses on financial transactions directly via its Messenger app. More than one out of every four respondents in a recent survey confirmed that they are open to making payments via social media channels. So while a larger number of users are currently active in engaging with retailers, the buy button on Facebook is set to transform the industry itself.

A one-size-fits-all corporate strategy for business may have worked in the past but now is the era of personalized targeting. When former basketball great Magic Johnson was once opening TGIF and Starbucks stores in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, he deviated from norms and innovated based on neighbourhood segmentation. Specialty wines got introduced at some stores for chains unheard of before. Amazon Web Services survived business challenges from industry giants such as Oracle, Google, IBM and Microsoft only because it had found its niche marker. Ford is one of the pioneering organizations for this concept of finding a space for oneself. Starbucks has faced several challenges over the years, not least when fast food chains started exposing its high coffee prices. But Starbucks went back to its core product and emerged stronger from the financial crisis of 2008.  

The Internet of Things (IoT) is already impacting several business processes across industries but it is set to alter digital marketing in a big way. IoT will enable respective products to move away from being a platform only to actually being able to conduct two-way interactions. A direct communication will be built between customers, sellers and vendors. IoT also enables products to shift ecosystems and thus allowing isolated items to move towards data centres or apps where customer reach is highest. The entire gamut of products can now be personalized to provide service to the consumers. Brand interaction can now be automated without need for third parties.

It is a well known aspect that social media is an integral part of modern day digital marketing efforts. What is less well known however is the fact that social media is also influencing financial services. Online peer to peer lenders such as Lending Club and Prosper are leveraging this tool to reach maximum audience. A study byAccenture has also confirmed that this helps in segmentation and real time marketing while also the acquisition costs reduce. Customer servicing gets a boost as well. Enormous amount of data is generated which fuels research into new product development. Overall costs reduce for marketers as well as final customers. And then this is also spawning several new business models. Some challenges though still exist in this mode. For one, banks remain mired in traditional ways of business. Regulations are still crippling efforts are making this process more inclusive. Social media giants themselves are leveraging their wide reach by entering banking and financial services themselves in process cutting out the traditional players.

Social media has been increasingly wedded as a crucial cog in digital marketing efforts. It is now actually changing business strategies in remarkable ways. Due to social media giants such as Facebook, the market scope for individual organizations is global. Desired market can be filtered easily clicking a few buttons only. It enables improved user engagement. Social media also elicits creativity at workplace to get ahead of competitors. Interestingly even competitors can be known of better as they too would have launched social media campaigns that are open for all to view unlike traditional marketing models. Social media creates a sense of convergence where brand appears everywhere increasing awareness among target audience. The right social media strategy can boost business margins eventually realizing substantial revenues.

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