Is your business engaging with customers at every possible touchpoint? As a starting point, we need to understand the opportunities available throughout the customer journey. When a person is displaying awareness, consideration, decision- making, purchasing or has indeed just purchased, these are all potential touchpoints where brands can shape impressions and forge connections.
Where does social media sit within the customer journey?
These potential engagement touchpoints, let’s call them ‘moments of truth’, are not limited to any one channel. In fact, as the number of channels and devices that consumers access throughout the typical day rises to include TV, smartphones, PCs, tablets, in-store, the journey becomes increasingly complex – posing both opportunities and challenges.
More than half of smartphone owners use social networks every day, with 35% logging in several times per day (Source: Edison Research, The Smartphone Consumer, 2012). This proliferation of social networking creates massive opportunties for brands to engage with people throughout the day. As such, savvy brands are tailoring their messaging to speak to people’s needs from the early morning caffeine hit through to the tiresome commute home.
The evolution of social to broader digital engagement
Engagement occurs at that ‘moment of truth’ when a brand and a consumer interact, irrespective of what channel this happens on. But brands understandably don’t want to measure marketing efforts by totting up ‘moments of truth’. Fortunately, engagement can be measured by the actions, reactions, sentiment and outcomes that follow each of those interactions.
But to take a more holistic approach, brands needs to look beyond Facebook Likes and Twitter mentions to understand outcomes and sentiments happening in every part of the customer journey – on mobile, social, web and IRL (‘in real life’).
Which brands are embracing the new digital engagement?
Developing a more unified approach to digital engagement comes down to the perennial theme of breaking down silos and encouraging sharing of data and ideas between departments. When PR sits apart from social media, for example, that all-important collaboration just can’t happen.
Some companies are already forging ahead with a more holistic approach to digital engagement. One such is Starbucks, which recently appointed Adam Brotman to the newly-created role of Chief Digital Officer to handle this. Under his remit fall a wide range of digital projects, including digital marketing, social media, e-commerce, Wi-Fi and emerging in-store technologies – pretty much encompassing all the digital touchpoints of the typical Starbucks customer.
Also pioneering in its approach to the digital customer journey is cosmetics brand Sephora, currently blazing a trail by bringing its disparate channel strategies together to create a more holistic experience. For Sephora, the customer journey flows fluidly from in-store to online and across devices, each complementing and optimising the other.
What’s next for digital customer engagement?
While Starbucks already has its Chief Digital Officer in place, we might well see increasing numbers of companies creating new roles to oversee and unify the relationship between customer and brand along the pathway. Thinking big, this person might be charged with bridging the gap between marketing, sales, customer service and technology, with social media marketing activity used throughout to create seamless engagement.