By Debi O’Brien, Managing Director of iKineo
Across all sectors, South African businesses – and the majority of its customers – are feeling the harsh impact of an economic downturn. Combined with time-stretched customers, the constant bombardment of marketing and advertising messages, plus the fact that customers are filtering all communications targeting them, it’s becoming increasingly complex to truly engage with customers and build profitable relationships between people and brands.
Having said that, customers tend to stay connected to brands that are relevant to them. They do not differentiate between different types of communication such as a promotion or an activation; they simply understand feeling immersed in a particular brand at a particular time.
This feeling of immersion is really about engagement and data is critical to this. Profiling customers will help brands better understand their market and their needs, and ultimately help build solutions that are relevant. Debi O’Brien, Managing Director of customer engagement agency, iKineo adds, “It takes time to build a customer profile. Proper analysis is required to recognise the specific life stage your customers are in; something that is naturally ever-evolving. Technology is a fantastic tool to help derive these insights, data and knowledge in order to tap into customers of the future.”
When one scans the lens over a business-to-business scenario, customer profiling is just as important. This market is already over-exposed to campaign messages and the marketing world’s ability to approach them with something new is progressively becoming more difficult.
O’Brien commented, “Entertainment is a wonderful tool. It taps into our emotions, and if done well, can create the perfect platform for engagement. iKineo recently built a campaign on ‘Virtual Reality’ to develop a truly 360–experience on behalf of one of our clients. In this case, our team adapted an above-the-line concept to effectively live in the customer engagement space. And just as the YouTube 360–channel is able to take the customer into a new space without physically taking them into a new space, Virtual Reality can bring a real environment to life in the business space, at a relatively low cost.”
Using technology to communicate the ‘brand-to-business’ will help position it to become a part of the customer brand choice consideration set. By creating an immersive experience, business will be able to gather customer knowledge to build a profile to deliver ongoing, relevant messaging to engage, maintain engagement and continue to re-engage.