Three valuable insights from the world’s top marketers

When 4000 marketing leaders worldwide contribute to a report about the current and future state of marketing, you should pay attention to the results.

Salesforce’s State of Marketing 2016 report offered many insights about how high performers from various industries approached marketing.

While the report is filled with useful insights for businesses of every size, these three insights will be especially valuable to small businesses.

Adopt a customer journey strategy to better engage your customers.

Simply put, a customer journey strategy defines how many stages your customer has to go through, from becoming aware of your brand, to purchasing a product, and even becoming an advocate for your brand.

The strategy can cover how your customers shop in-store and online.

During a panel discussion of leading marketers at an Australian conference, Tim Sheedy, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said marketers often consider the start of the customer journey as when a customer enters their store.

But the journey for a customer might start on the couch, or at a competitor store, Sheedy said.

customer researching from couch

Customers might start their research about your brand from their couch – so make sure you understand how they research and shop.

Be aware of how various customers shop, and map journeys that reflect those customer experiences.

It can help you learn if and when your customers are finding it difficult to buy from you, or discover reasons why a person wouldn’t buy from you.

So why is a customer journey strategy helpful?

The State of Marketing report revealed adopting this strategy improved customer satisfaction scores, saw customers making repeat purchases, and made customers more willing to recommend the business’ products and services.

Start learning about your customers: how they found your business, how they prefer to shop, and what and why they buy from you.

You can get this information from your customers using simple questionnaires: Survey Monkey offers a free basic tool.

Increase your spend in tech and tools

“Seventy-two per cent of high performers will increase spending on marketing tools and technology in the next two years,” according to the State of Marketing report. 

Marketing analytics was one tech tool large companies were investing in that could be useful to small businesses.

Analytical tools and data

World leaders in marketers are investing in analytical tools to personalise shopping experiences for their customers.

If you have set up social media pages to promote your business, there are a raft of social media analytics tools you can use to gain insights about your customers.

These analytics tools help you learn about what types of customers visit and engage with your social media pages, what they’re interested in generally, and what they’re looking for from your business or from competitors.

PC Mag rated Sprout Social, and HootSuite as the top two social media management and analytics tools for small-to-mid sized businesses.

Market to your customers on mobile

The world’s top marketers are heavily invested in marketing to their customers on mobile – using apps, SMS, push notifications and location-based mobile tracking.

In fact, 79 per cent of marketers surveyed say mobile marketing is “core to their business”; with half of that group also reporting it’s directly linked to the business’ primary revenue source.

Using text messages to market to customers grew by 111 per cent – something small businesses can easily do.

Customer shopping on mobile phone

Marketers are increasingly targeting mobile-using customers

You could SMS customers about exclusive deals, let them know when products they’re interested in are in stock, or even follow-up with them after they’ve purchased to get reviews.

But if you’re not comfortable using SMS as a mobile marketing tool, do one thing to appeal to mobile-using customers: make your website mobile friendly.

Ask your website designer to make sure your website’s design can fit to the mobile user’s screen with readable fonts, load pages quickly and provide simple navigation.

Keep in mind, Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal to determine how high your website should be listed in results, when a customer uses a mobile device for search.

Whatever you do, put your customer first

Customer journey maps and investing in tech and mobile marketing can only show truly effective results when you put your customer first.

Each decision about your marketing strategy and the tools you use should keep in mind the end goal: creating a positive experience for your customers.

As Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle puts it, “If we truly put customers at the centre of our thinking – considering how we can make any touchpoint delightful – it changes the way we approach applying all the tools available to us as marketers”.