It seems like we go through a ‘new normal’ every week these days. From new technologies and consumer habits to new channels of communication and ways of connecting.
Change can be both challenging and exciting. And while it’s easy to get distracted by all this ‘newness’, we need to remind ourselves that the fundamentals of what make us human haven’t changed.
We all need to feel safe. Validated, connected and loved. We need rest and we need excitement and stimulation for a healthy sense of wellbeing.
These needs will take centre stage, as Industry 5.0 (the next phase of industrialisation that focuses on how machines and tech can help us work better and faster) builds momentum. We’ll start focusing less on the shiny new tech and quintillion bytes of data we produce daily. Instead, we’ll put societal needs and issues at the core of everything – letting tech and data become the tools that help us solve these.
So, what does all this mean for marketing?
It means empathy, creativity and authenticity will be the most powerful ways you can connect with your customers. Understanding them and their needs will be more important than ever, so you can anticipate and solve their problems faster.
At ADMA’s recent 2022 Global Forum conference, one theme kept resonating with me. The importance of trust.
Every speaker encouraged us to be smarter with data, be brave with testing and build empathy, and do it in a way that is true to your brand’s values and purpose. Because that’s the only way we’ll build trusting relationships with our customers.
Choose your words wisely
In the digital age, there is a very fine line between getting this right and getting it very wrong. And often the difference is in your words.
Your words can bring your data insights to life and help you find the best way to connect with your audience. They have the power to show empathy, excite people and make things happen – and importantly, to build trust.
Here’s how you can use words to succeed in the new world of marketing.
“When you’re in crisis mode, you go back to basics.”
That’s how Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer, Stephany Tully described the airline’s response to the pandemic at Global Forum.
Trust is the most basic requirement in any relationship, and the one between brands and its customers is no exception. For brands, building trust comes down to understanding your customers and their needs – and responding accordingly.
So how can you use your words to build trust? By understanding your customers’ pains, dreams and ambitions. Only then can you create communications that solve problems, resonate and connect – and, over time, develop trusted relationships.
For Qantas, this came down to one crucial element during COVID: safety.
Feeling safe to fly and safe to book. So the airline quickly developed new health and safety measures to give passengers confidence that their health is being looked after – and introduced “unprecedented levels of flexibility” so passengers were covered if something happens.
When every other airline in the world stopped producing in flight magazines, Qantas was determined to keep it going online to keep the brand in hearts and minds of their customers.
And who could forget their vaccination ad that went viral, tapping into the simple insight of the need for reconnecting with loved ones, with adventure and the world. Or launching a frequent flyer program in the middle of lockdowns called Frequent Dreamer – because they understood people’s attachment to their loyalty points.
Scientific futurist, Dr Catherine Ball put the lessons we learned during the pandemic well, during her session, “There are a lot of ways you can get things wrong, and a lot of ways you can also get them right. They only difference is asking why.”
Figuring out your brand’s and your customers’ ‘why’ is the only way you’ll be able to communicate with empathy – and build trusting relationships that give your brand a competitive edge.
“If you’re not optimising, you’re failing the end cause”
Douglas Nicol, Strategy Partner at The Works, made me think deeply about the power of words to test and learn. He works closely with charities like The Smith Family to make every dollar count, by accelerating an experiment-design approach. This approach helps brands and organisations not only optimise their campaigns, but also build a knowledge bank of previous learnings and get valuable insights from failed campaigns – which often reveal more important findings than successful ones.
Testing and experimentation have become mission critical for high stakes projects, especially in the not-for-profit sector, where you need to make each dollar work harder.
According to the Harvard Business Review, brands that ran 15 experiments in the prior year saw a 45% increase in the performance of their digital campaigns.
In the No-Code, Low-Code era, testing your campaigns at every step of the customer journey has never been easier. And it’s also never been more important.
For us writers, this is pretty exciting. It gives us an opportunity to get granular and see how people respond to tweaks in copy. Do facts and stats move them to act over emotion? Does posing a problem as a question create more of a reaction than a statement? Does ‘word X’ make people click through more than ‘word y’?
Getting testy with your words will help you better connect with customers and sharpen your campaigns. And it can give you an insight into why and how people make decisions – something that’s worth a lot these days.
“Creativity is still the variable of success in marketing.”
Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk reminded us of what really matters during his session.
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to get bogged down in data-driven models. But marketers still need to blend creativity with strategy to achieve their goals.
Tell stories in new ways, on new channels, to new audiences. Shake up your headlines and get creative with what, where and how you communicate. So don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and find fresh ways to express your most provocative ideas.
We work with clients every day who have done an amazing job during the pandemic (and since). Putting their customers first and communicating with empathy. They have maintained trust and a sense of connection with their customers – and have reaped the benefits. Kudos to you!
As we move into the post-pandemic era, you need to keep up the momentum and make sure you don’t lose sight of the changing needs of your customers. Because it’s only when you truly understand them that you can be useful to them.
And if you need some help with words along the way, we’re here.
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