If you follow marketing news online, you have undoubtedly read many articles describing the ‘inflection point’ that was reached when digital marketing shifted from being seen as a nice-to-have addition to a business to being a necessary and essential part of running a successful operation. This was particularly evident after the Covid-19 pandemic, where marketers saw a once-in-a-generation chance to connect with customers, and businesses scrambled to take advantage of the opportunity.
The Covid-19 pandemic was both a blessing and a curse for marketers. It was a blessing because the necessity to connect with customers was immediately evident, and businesses across all industries scrambled to find ways to do so. It was a curse because, along with the opportunity came a steep learning curve as marketers had to quickly adapt to new methods and technologies to be able to reach their target audiences.
As our world changed and business shifted to a digital sphere, so did marketing. Just like any other piece of technology, marketing automation gradually evolved from a technicality to a business necessity. In the beginning, marketing automation meant using tools to create and trigger automated email campaigns, which were viewed as a nice-to-have addition to a business’ marketing stack rather than a necessary part of the operation.
However, over the years, the use of marketing automation has grown increasingly sophisticated, and today it means much more than automatically firing off an email, to consist of all the various tactics and strategies that a marketer can use to bring in paying customers. Marketing automation is a part of every major marketer’s toolkit, and every business, regardless of size, should have someone on the staff who is responsible for implementing and maintaining the software that facilitates all of this. Marketing automation removes the drudgery out of marketing and lets marketers focus on gathering new leads and engaging with customers rather than wasting time with the minutiae of getting a marketing message out into the world.
The Rise of Chatbots
Along with marketing automation came the gradual rise of chatbots. Essentially, a chatbot is a computer program that interacts with end users through messages typed or spoken into an online chat application. Chatbots can then connect the user to the desired resource, whether that’s an email address, a phone number, a website, or an in-house resource like a customer service agent. The advantage of using chatbots is that they can be faster, more efficient, and more effective than a human communications tool, like a phone call or email, making them the perfect vehicle for doing business online.
The combination of marketing automation and chatbots means that marketing efforts can now be conducted at breakneck speed. In times of uncertainty and heightened awareness, marketing turnover is at an all-time high as marketers scramble to keep up with the evolving digital landscape.
The speed and scale at which marketing was able to pivot from a luxury to a necessity was unprecedented, and this is particularly evident in the health-care and pharmaceutical industries, where the necessity to connect with customers and retain them as advocates is more critical than ever before.
Retention is now a key metric in the health-care industry, where pharmaceutical companies that can show they can keep their customers engaged will see significant benefits in terms of reduced churn and the opportunity to conduct more effective marketing.
Why Do You Need To Retain Customers?
Churn, or the lack thereof, is directly related to the effectiveness of a business’ marketing efforts, which will inevitably impact their bottom line. To put it simply, the less your customer base churns, the more stable your revenue stream, especially if you can keep them engaged.
The good news is that you can do a lot to reduce customer churn and promote business loyalty, which is why it’s considered desirable rather than difficult to retain customers. The most effective way of doing this is by understanding what makes your customers tick and finding ways to keep that joy of discovery and engagement bubbling over time.
For example, if you run a gym but also offer personal training sessions, why would you want to lose a customer who signs up for a one-off session but isn’t entirely sure what to do with a gym membership? Or if you sell pharmaceutical products but conduct most of your interactions with customers over the phone, what stops them from immediately going into pharmacy and picking up their medicine?
The point is that you can entice customers with a host of benefits and bonuses that your business can offer, but ultimately you’re aiming to retain them for the sole purpose of further engaging with and selling to them.
Customer Retention Is About More Than Sign-Ups
Retaining customers is easier said than done. In fact, research conducted by HubSpot reveals that 73% of customers will drop out of engagement with your brand or business within the first year, and nearly half will do it more than once, meaning that you’re looking at a lot of churn if you want to keep your customers. What makes a brand or business stick out among the masses is the quality of their customer experience, and that comes from consistently and reliably offering a good product, delivering on promises, and responding to customer queries.
So even if you’ve got a perfectly good product and the perfect price, without an excellent customer experience, you’ll never make a customer feel like you truly value them as a person. This is the reason why your brand’s most valuable asset is its customers, and why you should be continually looking to retain them rather than just signing them up for the odd newsletter or Facebook ad.
Keep All Of This In Mind When Marketing To Gen Z
If you’re a business owner or marketer, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of running a company, but it’s imperative that you keep your eye on the ball, and that ball is generating qualified leads for your business.
If you want to be able to retain customers and generate more leads, you need to approach marketing to Gen Z with a different mindset. Since they’ve never known a world without digital marketing, it’s time for you to step up and establish yourself as an expert in this space.
The good news is that Gen Z has grown up in the era of digital marketing, and much like any other major demographic, they have diverse digital habits and preferences. What this means for you as a marketer is that you no longer have to limit yourself to email marketing or even traditional marketing. Your target audience now has devices and habits that allow for much more targeted and immersive marketing approaches.
Retaining Customers Is About Strategy
If we take a step back and think about the last few years, it’s pretty evident that digital marketing has evolved from being an addition to a business to being a central part of its strategy. Once the novelty of being able to target the right audience with the right message wears off, customers begin to ask questions about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Building a business case for digital marketing isn’t easy, but coming up with a solid ROI for a marketing program can now be easily done with simple analytics tools.
The better you are at answering those questions, the more you’ll be able to retain customers, and ultimately the more you’ll be able to generate leads and revenue.
What Do You Need To Retain Customers?
In the coming months, as marketers look to retain customers in the face of continued uncertainty and disruption, we will see them taking a longer view and rethinking their approach to customer experience. This is evident in the fact that they’re moving away from the short-term game of getting new sign-ups and towards a strategy that focuses on retention and keeps the customer at the heart of all decisions.
If you’re able to pull this off, you’re effectively removing uncertainty from your customers’ minds, and that means you’ve got something very valuable.