While the Christmas season may well be getting underway, with staff parties being scheduled and mince pies doing the rounds of the office, this is also the time to be thinking ahead to 2017 to ensure that in 12 months’ time, marketers will be celebrating the success they’ve seen. Although CMOs across the country may well be breathing a sigh of relief after a challenging 2016, now is not the time to become complacent.
In the past year, we’ve seen tech giants diversifying their offerings, like with UberEats, Amazon bookstores and Apple ditching the headphone jack, all of which have forced businesses to think about how they too can evolve. Topping the list of the most discussed topics have been Virtual Reality, automation and the start-up ethos of challenging the norm.
Following these high-profile business decisions and new trends, business leaders have been forced to question what type of change they should think about too. Now is the time for marketers to be considering what steps they should take to ensure a customer-centric experience in 2017.
Customer is Key
If the business decisions taken by big brands have shown us anything this year, it’s that the customer is key. First and foremost, marketers absolutely have to have this mindset for every investment in 2017. They need to be thinking about what content their customers want, what they will engage with most, and perhaps most importantly, how they would like to receive this content. By looking at how they can connect with their customers better, the business stands to gain masses.
Making Mobile a Priority
The only way to engage with customers today is by reaching them via the methods they use most regularly. With 80% of UK adults owning a smartphone, it’s no surprise that for most businesses this is a key device to reach your end user. However, we were shocked to find in our recent Digital Disruptors report that 36% of businesses still don’t have a mobile website. Now is the time for marketers to ensure that they aren’t missing out by failing to offer a mobile option, whilst those that already have a mobile site should check that their offering is as user-friendly as possible.
A mobile site should be treated with the same importance as a desktop site. It must be easy to navigate, with all of the features found on a desktop, and it should not be cluttered or difficult to manoeuvre. This requires scrollable menus, icons, and toolbars that are pleasing to the eye. These elements need to be matched with a logical layout and concise language so that the mobile site is striking, but also digestible.
2016 has thrown a plethora of new technologies and trends our way for businesses to consider. However, moving into a new year, marketers should be cautious not to invest in technology for technology’s sake. For the 36% that said in our Digital Disruptors report they believe their business needs to invest more in digital to innovate, it’s important that these investments are made after thorough research when the business has the skills to maximise that investment and only when a genuine use case has been determined.
Without this mentality, the business risks wasting money on something that they don’t have the in-house capability to maintain. For example, 53% of marketers admit to struggling to use marketing automation software beyond the initial investment. In addition, the demand from the customer has to be there. If they have no interest in adopting a new technology to interact with your brand, it will be a wasted investment.
In order to enter 2017 with a strong digital strategy, marketers need to take all of these points into consideration. Keeping the customer at the heart of all decisions, whilst continually assessing the value that new trends and technologies could bring, means that companies can build stronger relationships with their end user, and ultimately solidify brand loyalty.