The Experience Makers Live virtual conference that Adobe hosted this summer was full of interesting and informative keynotes and breakout sessions on various topics related to modern business, marketing and sales. But there was one main topic that seemed to be the common thread and became the point that was really close to my heart: In a Covid-19 world, content and customer travel are more important than ever.
While so many companies are finding ways to optimize their offerings, services and even business models to adapt to the current limitation of consumers, it is the ones that are becoming more innovative in their content and always involving customers throughout the customer journey in these turbulent times still survive – and even thrive.
We know that content is king, but why is it particularly important for a modern customer journey? Let’s take a look.
Personal events and meetings will no longer take place
When we think about a basic sales and marketing process in high-touch businesses, many of the final deliberations and decision-making stages are person-to-person between sales and prospect. This can mean that presentations, product demos and contract negotiations take place in person on site. However, with some markets completely eliminating in-person meeting opportunities and strongly discouraging others, we need to find ways to quickly adjust to being 100% online and virtual while maintaining the same high level of service prospects buy.
Even in consumer-oriented industries, much of the awareness and viewing phases of the customer journey take place online, although the final phase of decision making can be done in-store or with the help of a salesperson or account manager. Gary Specter, Adobe’s vice president of global commerce, said in his opening address, “New customers have gone online and loyalty has grown – which shows the importance of relationships over transactions.”
Businesses of all types have had to find new, creative ways to further retain customers when they get to a point where they’re ready to make a decision, but the sale isn’t physically there to convince and convert. The focus here is on new forms of content.
Without the “high-touch” activities of high-touch sales, we had to get creative. Product demos are now presented through video tutorials created by marketing and / or product teams, and sales presentations are conducted through webcasts and video conferencing. Landing pages and even micro-sites are provided to allow more self-service information to be discovered and trained so that prospects can make informed decisions without the help of a salesperson.
All of this boils down to creating more robust content strategies that take into account that every part of the customer journey is now digital. As we create digital assets that replace old sales methods, we create more scalable ways to attract prospects and customers in new ways.
Content is the best way to be helpful, relevant, informative, and timely
When it comes down to it, content is the best way to convey to your audience how great your company and your product or service are. However, the biggest benefit of content and marketing tools like Marketo Engage is that they can deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time. Now the pace of content delivery is at an all time high and the subject of that content is shifting. As Gary Specter says, the companies that are now thriving have “gone wrong on the over-communication side”.
In the presentation by Chris Parkin, Senior Director of Adobe, “Redefining the future with digital transformation”, he emphasized that agile communication for companies will no longer be negotiable in the future. His advice: “Create proactive, personalized and timely communications that are tailored to customer and employee content (segment, needs, location) products in an authentic way. Adobe could help accelerate digital transformation and help our customers become more resilient and to be prepared for emergencies. ”
Without changing how content is delivered, businesses that offer products instead of solutions can stall if they seem sensitive, relevant, or helpful enough to buyers. In times of crisis or uncertainty, those companies that show how to help and support their customers, navigate and adapt together, will be successful. Content is the best way to show and tell the audience how to plan for it at every stage of the customer journey.
The meaning of content isn’t new, but the types of content we deliver and how we use them throughout the customer journey are forever changing. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Experience Makers Live, it’s that adapting to what customers want and need right now boils down to creating new forms of content that will talk about how we can serve them in the long term can help you succeed.
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