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Marketing has shifted through the years. No longer confined to merely promotional purposes, the role has since become more customer-driven. Increasingly woven into the marketing function is the need to understand customers and take customer insights into consideration for the business.
Amidst rising customer expectations and waning customer loyalty in the new digital economy, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore, are hard-pressed to step up and deliver swift brand engagements, or risk losing out to more agile competitors.
This is why organisations in the region are revisiting their marketing strategies and putting customers front and centre as they move forward in their digital transformation journey. According to a report by Ernst and Young, a vast 85% of Southeast Asian businesses, including those in Singapore, have seen the urgency to improve customer service. 81% of them also regard leveraging digital technologies in their organisation as a top business strategy.
The necessity to tailor their brand according to customers’ rapidly evolving needs requires marketing teams to leverage the power of data to fuel action and utilise digital technologies aimed at increasing customer experiences.
This translates to the need to break down data in silos and come up with an omnichannel approach to integrate all aspects of the customer experience. Singapore businesses then need to learn how to strategically weave in data analytics into the equation to deliver greater marketing value to customers.
In turn, this can result in better customer experiences that can elevate the brand and encourage customer loyalty.
Developing messages that resonate and connect with the right customers has become increasingly key in marketing. This is even more so important across digital channels, which have become a primary customer touchpoint, given today’s “always-on, mobile-first” culture.
Customers have increasingly become accustomed to engaging with companies across multiple channels, resulting in a lack of visibility for companies. With each channel generating a separate service response, customer experience is highly fragmented and siloed.
This creates redundancy in the customer service delivery process, with customers needing to repeatedly describe concerns across numerous instances, while customer service personnel are unaware of previous discussions. At best, the customer service team has a vague understanding of the problem.
Consequently, the lack of a cohesive, integrated communication channel leads to increased customer frustrations. Business efficiency and productivity suffer, along with a complete lack of oversight of customer touchpoints.
In an age where customer experience is key, employing an omnichannel approach in marketing and breaking down barriers across communication channels is thus necessary. By giving businesses an overview of their customer’s engagement with them, they will be able to provide consistent quality customer experience.
Companies of all sizes need to break down data in silos through neutral integration, synchronising data across all channels indiscriminately. However, the compilation of data sets will remain meaningless unless they are analysed and then translated into action.
Customer behaviour and engagement with brands are increasingly shifting, changing swiftly and even without preamble. SMEs in Singapore need to be prepared for this fluidity and adjust the ways in which they interact and reach out to customers. Consequently, data analytics should not be pushed to the sidelines but instead, be front and centre with marketing.
Analytics plays a crucial role in strengthening a company’s digital marketing strategy. By providing insights to help organisations better understand customer preferences, experiences and purchase behaviour, it can in turn drive improved customer targeting across devices and channels.
This enables brands to steer customers to channels that are best suited for their preferences, while offering both digital live interactions and company-initiated contact. With data on customer demographics and profiles, organisations can then tailor their marketing messages accordingly to the right customers and better influence their purchase decisions.
An assiduous use of analytics will allow organisations to assess their marketing performance and make constant adjustments to existing marketing and content strategies, ultimately allowing businesses to optimise and improve brand reach.
Amidst increased digital channels, customers have become accustomed to interacting across multiple touchpoints. The hyperconnected future economy thus necessitates the marriage of integrated, omnichannel customer engagement with a sophisticated data analytics programme, to ensure enhanced visibility across the customer service value chain.
Synchronising data across channels without loss of information will be paramount as Singapore SMEs look to employ an omnichannel marketing approach. Breaking down data in silos is hence crucial for a more holistic view of the customer experience.
In an increasing sea of competitors, having a strong omnichannel marketing strategy is essential to moving forward in the digital age. As they look to match the pace of larger industry leaders, SMEs should work towards commencing omnichannel transformation to deliver a seamless end-to-end customer experience.
Leveraged correctly, data analytics in marketing can be an indispensable tool that can enhance output. This would entail having an effective omnichannel marketing strategy that can ensure message consistency and seamless customer experiences across channels. Companies should also focus on creating effective data management methods to deal with and better examine the large amount of data on hand.
This article originally appeared in the Entrepreneur's Digest print edition #87 and has been edited for clarity, brevity and for the relevance of this website.
About the Author
Jessica Schwarze | Marketing Director for Asia Pacific & Japan | Software AG
As the Marketing Director for Software AG APJ, Jessica is responsible for spearheading marketing and public relations strategies across the Asia Pacific and Japan region. She works collaboratively with executive management, sales and key stakeholders to drum up incremental pipelines across markets. Through a combination of creative marketing and business development tactics, she has helped to drive aggressive growth in the region.
Prior to joining Software AG in 2013, Schwarze worked with SAP Indonesia, driving demand and pipeline for Indonesia and Southeast Asia.