The acceleration of digital adoption in the last year has been quite remarkable. Technology is now critical to sustaining business and life as we now know it. And, as we make our way through a second year of upheaval caused by COVID-19, it is clear that the future of business innovation and success will lean on tech as the cornerstone of global leadership.
Not only does that change the way in which we operate from the inside out, but it also changes the fundamentals of how we interact with customers. As we discussed in the previous article on the growing importance of ResTech, it is no longer good enough to make assumptions and hypotheses about consumers and their interests or intent. To properly and effectively engage customers, business leaders need to really understand them. Companies that keep a direct pulse on their customers are far more likely to succeed, and as such, measuring the changing sentiments and behaviours of your audiences has become increasingly important.
Today’s business owners and founders not only face these challenges associated with how best to reach and engage with customers in the most meaningful way, but keep a keen eye on what’s next. They need to be agile and flexible enough to turn on a dime. They must also ensure that the processes and strategic approach they adopt are future proof, which is where simply knowing your audience, creating and nurturing a bond with customers can pave the path to better customer engagements.
The evolution of digital transformation and tech innovation has taught us that knowledge is power. As such, data has become a force at the heart of the organisation driving positive change. The time has never been better for research to support today’s business leaders – to empower them to be bold and disruptive by placing research and tech at its heart, to help provide real-time clarity into the thoughts, opinions, and feelings of customers across the globe.
Case in point: according to a recent piece in Marketing Week, personalisation and customer experience top the agenda when it comes to today’s consumer. It states that 43% of UK consumers believe personalisation is a basic requirement of online shopping, while 60% say they are more likely to commit to a brand again if they feel they’ve had a personalised shopping experience.
The power of ResTech to provide insights into the customer of today is second to none. And even more so, to help businesses understand what makes their customers tick, what they care about, and how to best appeal to them through personalised and targeted messaging.
Aligning on shared values
Every business leader living and breathing today’s challenges knows that every dollar matters. And yet, success is no longer just about financial numbers but equally a more wholesome definition of values at the core of business – from mental health, environmental impact, and diversity and inclusivity.
Consumers sit at a very different outlook today as compared to pre-pandemic, where price is no longer the top driving factor. Instead, people rate their overall experience higher, and care more about whether the brand or business shares similar values and passions. In fact, research conducted by ad tech firm Channel Factory found that 69% of consumers would prefer to buy from brands committed to socially conscious causes.
The same statistics published in Marketing Week also showed that more than a third of British consumers say they would shop with a brand again if the customer experience is good, even if it is cheaper or more convenient elsewhere, while 73% expect a personal and consistent customer experience across multiple channels.
Putting the customer first
At the end of the day, it’s all about being customer-centric. The good news is that now businesses can easily arm themselves with the technology and tools needed to dive deep under the skin of their customer, even amongst the loud noise, vast clutter and brand overload on the market today. Combining market research with technology can help not only gauge audience opinions and consumer behaviours, but can also help businesses predict purchase intent, track feelings and sentiments over periods of time, and inform future product and services development.
This means that successful businesses who are actively, and continuously, listening to their customers with research will have insight into the needs of their target audiences and can lead with a customer first approach — reaching and engaging with them in a way that really resonates.
COVID has removed the traditional objections and barriers to entry for businesses looking to adopt a tech or software first approach. Time, flexibility, and the bottom line have become ever more important as the traditional rate of adoption is replaced by a new kind of disruption with a shape that mirrors a cliff edge more than a bell curve.
Emerging technology has, and will continue to define us – from how we work to how we interact with family and friends. And, this will have a profound impact on how we measure business performance going forward, where we will undoubtedly see those business leaders who are brave and pro-risk enough to challenge the status quo, and to truly put their customers first in every aspect, will be the ones to succeed.
Ben Hogg is Managing Director, EMEA and APAC, for Lucid, where he provides the strategic and operational direction for the company’s sales and marketing initiatives. In this role, Ben is responsible for leading and managing Lucid’s sales, post-sales, and global marketing teams to drive further growth and support revenue expansion for the company. Ben’s career has spanned more than 20 years working across the online market research and passive measurement industries as a leader and entrepreneur. He is an expert in identifying new market opportunities and in laying the foundations for long-term business growth through his strategic direction, operational execution, and team management.
Prior to Lucid, Ben was the MD, EMEA for Research Now's Portfolio Companies, following their acquisition by e-Rewards, where he was responsible for launching their European business in 2006. Ben is a Fellow of the Market Research Society (MRS), and MRS Accredited Company Partner Council Member, and MRS Award winner.