Groundhog Day: Customer Engagement Mistakes Marketers Keep Making

A lot of marketers keep making the same mistakes over and over — forgetting who they’re dealing with, not considering their customers’ perspectives, making it a one way relationship. To avoid everyday frustration and achieve real fulfillment marketers need to realize what Phil Connors did and make it about the other person. Here are four of the failed Philisms marketers keep committing and what to do instead.

They’re Transparently Manipulative  

Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? He told his neighbors there was a wolf coming after him when there really wasn’t, and they came running. Then he did it again…and again. The neighbors grew weary of the boy’s manipulation. Then a wolf actually came, and the boy tried to get their attention again, but they were over it since he had diluted his message. There are still too many brands out there who are guilty of a boy who cried wolf mentality in their approach to discounts and offers. There are two scenarios that come up a lot. The first, is sending too many messages about discount offers and sales. West Elm is a major culprit of this, as you can see from the daily barrage of sale announcements below.

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The second is sending the same discount over and over again with fake urgency. Overstock is a big culprit of this tactic. Look how many times they reference the 12% off coupon and that it’s expiring soon…only to promote it again a few days later!

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There’s no chance this is the first time you’ve heard this advice, but because so many brands are still committing the offense it seems worthwhile to say it again–stop repeatedly sending the same, generic discount to your entire database. Instead, leverage your customer data to identify the next best offer to send each, individual customer. Determine the outcomes you are trying to influence and design your offer strategy around achieving them. Motivating a frequent shopper to increase her basket size vs. re-engaging a customer who has churned require two different approaches.

They Don’t Pay Attention

Many brands continue to deliver a disjointed experience across the different channels they use to engage customers. This too, is generally caused by the shortcomings of their current tech stack. Why is an inability to recognize customers across channels a problem? There are a number of reasons. For starters: it makes customer care a continually frustrating experience. Here’s an example: if someone called customer care from their car and spoke with an agent about a product issue and then went into the store to speak with someone about the issue in-person, the store agent should know through some form of technology that the customer had recently called customer care. However, that’s generally not the reality. Instead, it’s typically a new engagement. Accenture reported 89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives. That’s a whopping majority of customers and yet, most companies continue to commit this offense!

No instant gratification with this answer, but it’s the truth–get the right technology. With the right technology, brands can move to a world where the customer care agent on the phone can introduce you to the person you’ll be speaking with in 10 minutes at the storefront. That individual will be aware of your problem and ready to assist you. Reducing customer frustration by selecting the right tech will allow you to share the information necessary across the organization to enable better customer experiences.

They Make It All About Themselves

A lot of brands primarily focus on delivering content that is intended to immediately yield a purchase. Sending customers promotional, product oriented content is a necessary part of the marketing strategy, but many brands are missing out on the opportunity to expand their customer base by thinking about how they become a resource for customers who aren’t buyers right now, but might have the propensity to buy in the future.

Don’t forget the value of educational content and surprise and delight! Incorporating more educational content into the buyer’s journey was a big difference maker for Ulta’s rising success. In an interview with KelloggInsight, Ulta’s VP of Beauty, Dave Kimbell revealed, “When our customers are looking for information on new products or trends, we need to be there in interesting and creative ways.” Ulta does this through tailored emails and an offline beauty magazine, among other tactics. The point is — not all communications to your customers should be about pushing products or sales. Make sure there’s something in it for your customers too!

They’re Missing Social Cues

Statista revealed that the online shopping cart abandonment rate for retail in 2017 was 77.3%. If someone demonstrates interest in your products by visiting your website or putting items in their cart don’t let them slip away! Make sure you have mechanisms in place to follow up in the appropriate manner to re-engage and motivate them to complete their purchase.

When a site visitor fills their cart with merchandise and leaves the site before completing checkout, be sure to send them a timely follow up email to remind them their merchandise is still waiting. You could even take it one step further and create a promotional offer around the remaining items like the one Shopbop did after an end of season sale.

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Doing the same thing over and over has its merits. Personalized rewards, real-time engagements, and a consistent omnichannel experience? We’ll take six more weeks of that and then some.