The customer experience isn’t just about the sale transaction — it involves all interactions before, during and after the sale. Focusing too much on transactions can mean ignoring crucial aspects of the customer experience that help build customer relationships.
Many things go into the customer experience — including helpful customer service reps that lead individuals through a purchase decision. But investing in marketing that informs customers and builds relationships has proven to be an effective and economical way to improve the customer experience.
Educating Customers Through Marketing
There are tremendous changes in how buyers discover, understand and choose products and services. Forrester Research Principal Analyst Lori Wizdo notes that buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through their purchase journey before reaching out to a vendor. Instead of going directly to a sales rep, customers are increasingly doing their own research.
It’s therefore important to provide marketing materials such as brochures, articles, ads, catalogues, web pages, blog posts, and online videos that answer their most pertinent questions.
Communicating Culture Through Marketing
Customers often make a purchase decision — not only because it’s something they need — but because they feel connected with the brand’s message. A brand might want to connect with its main demographic using content and imagery that speaks to them and their aspirations.
This is especially relevant for a lifestyle brand that aims for its products to be culturally relevant. For instance, iconic UK clothing brand Burberry asserted its hipness among its intended audience by commissioning a series of short videos featuring young British musicians performing in Burberry clothes.
The Bottom Line
The right marketing not only gives customers information they need to make a transaction, but it also helps show how the purchase fits into their life and identity. Brand loyalty also extends well beyond the initial transaction, often resulting in repeated transactions and customer recommendations.
And it all starts by focusing on all elements of the customer experiences, not just sales.