Attribution, already a challenge, will become exponentially more difficult with the growing data privacy war.
Smart speakers and voice search will continue to gain and become a more natural part of how content is discovered.
The metaverse, which will have its first mainstream adoption in 2022 with Meta (formerly Facebook) making it a North Star and having early adoption from major brands including Nike.
Success in the next year will require focusing internally and not externally. It’s no longer viable or responsible to take a passive role in customer acquisition. The most successful companies create an acquisition ecosystem that drives constant growth irrespective of external forces or factors.
Here are five ways to create an acquisition ecosystem that is impervious to the inevitable changes that are coming:
Talk to your customers
It sounds obvious, but almost no one does it. To truly understand customers, you have to actually talk to them. This requires a conversation—not a survey or a focus group. Even talking to just a handful of customers can give you priceless information and insights about who they are, how they think and their decision-making process.
You should talk to customers regularly so that you can stop breathing your own exhaust and keep an eye on what’s coming around the corner.
Data is the guiding light of all marketing, which means you need to be gathering it. The right data will allow you to understand who customers are, where they are coming from and where they have been. Collecting and analyzing actionable data can highlight bottlenecks and opportunities and highlight where to focus to have the most significant impact.
Don’t overcomplicate data strategy. Figure out what questions you want to answer, the data you need to answer them and then find a way to get it.
For example, adding a one-question survey after a customer purchases to ask, “How did you hear about us?” with options of different channels to choose from, is a simple yet effective way to collect attribution information.
Segment your customers
Your customers are not all the same, so don’t treat them like they are. Find the groups of customers who have similar behavior and needs and create a handful of segments of them.
For example, some customers might find your business after researching online and need more information or have questions. Other customers might have come from a referral and be more primed to purchase without delay. Segment your customers in this way so that you can align your marketing efforts with each customer segment.
Brands with multiple categories or products will likely need to create more segments, but that doesn’t necessarily mean one segment for every product or category. Logically group customers into segments based on their goals and decision-making process.
Identify the journeys
Now you can identify the unique journey for each segment because these customers have a different set of needs and a different decision-making process than the other segments.
Identifying the journey for each segment is the most important part and the most difficult for many organizations. Map out where customers are coming from, the steps they take along their journey and the touchpoints they have with your brand. Then you can examine their experience, uncover roadblocks, and discover how you can engage or influence them along the way.
Align your efforts
Now you can align your marketing efforts with each step in the customer journeys to ensure the highest chance of success. You will find that some of your existing efforts are not aligned and need to be adjusted. You’ll also discover gaps to resolve which may require new marketing initiatives.
Take this opportunity to consolidate your efforts where possible and to align your teams and your marketing to make it more impactful. Seeing the big picture and connecting the dots across the entire marketing organization is extremely powerful and the key to creating an acquisition ecosystem.
Marketing will continue to shift and evolve, with more unexpected disruptions coming next year. Focus internally on what you can control rather than focusing on external factors. Don’t be distracted by the volatility and onslaught of industry changes. Instead, be ruthlessly focused on the customer—because whoever is closest to to the customer wins.
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