Addressing the Needs of Always Addressable Customers

Customer Strategy
In order to be relevant to their customers and resonate with them, organizations need to strive to be useful.

When was the last time you left your home or office without your mobile phone? And more importantly, did you continue on your way, or did you turn back to get your smart device?Connectivity has become an essential element that many people are unable to live without. Our phones are no longer simply there to receive calls and the odd text messages, but have instead become portable computers that allow us to check our email, video-chat, search the Internet, and even shop.

According to a new report released today, during Forrester's Forum for Marketing Leaders, by the third quarter of 2013, 49 percent of adults in the United States were always addressable, meaning that they used at least three devices that are connected to the Internet and are accessing the Web multiple times a day from different physical locations. "This gives marketers more opportunities than ever before to engage their customers in meaningful ways--or to screw it up," the report, "Create Marketing Your Customers Can Use," stresses.

While uber connected customers open up opportunities for brands to connect with their customers, this phenomenon has also made customers increasingly demanding, wanting useful and relevant interactions that help them accomplish a goal. This, the report notes, means that organizations need to rethink their marketing strategies and make sure they resonate with addressable customers.

This is not an easy task. While addressable customers are always connected, less than a quarter pay any attention to advertisements. Further, only 15 percent believe that companies generally tell the truth in ads. And only 15 percent believe website ads.
This means that organizations need to go beyond harping about their brand promise and instead they need to demonstrate it through their actions. "Your most desirable customers don't trust shallow branded messages but are exposed to more of them than other customers because of their perpetual digital connections," the report notes. The opportunity, Forrester explains, is for organizations to understand that each interaction they have with customers defines their brand. "It is the context of those interactions that determines if they'll interact and transact with you again," the report notes. This means that in order to be successful, organizations need to build a contextual marketing engine, which Forrester describes as "a brand-specific platform that exploits customer context to deliver utility and guide the customer into the next best interaction." At the heart of contextual marketing is the need to become both visibly and functionally useful to customers. Here are five ways in which organizations can leverage customers' connectivity and become useful to them:

- In order to satisfy customers' need to trust brands they do business with, organizations need to themselves become trusted agents. In fact, Forrester identifies the opportunity for brands to act as trusted intermediaries, curating other banded interactions as part of the service they offer to customers.
- Identify a difficulty that complicates customers' journey or one that customers are experiencing that is leading them to seek out a particular product, and then attempt to solve these problems digitally to gain instant usefulness.
- Customers know they have to work to get what they want and organizations can use interactive experiences to shorten the length of time it takes to close the loop.
- Organizations should also try to remove small and irrelevant tasks that customers have to do to do business with the brand. Forrester recommends relieving the burden of these manual tasks, becoming useful by saving customers precious time.
- Customer-obsessed organizations know their clients so well that they can anticipate their needs. "Fulfill them in creative ways to provide unexpected utility."