Customer ExperienceCustomer LoyaltyCustomer SatisfactionDigitalInbound Marketing

2018- The Customer and The Digital: Are these the trends?

In our previous articles, we have established the need for Customer Loyalty and the need to consistently measure Loyalty as well as making it a high agenda on the list of things that need to be done at least in 2018.

We spent January and February reading several ‘2018’ predictions. Thus, here is what we see as possible trends in 2018-2020 in this West African geography.

.
Data Collection & relevant StoryTelling Visualization

Data is key, data helps your organization (whether for– or not-for profit) collect sample opinions about your goods and services, so that you can make informed decisions. A lot of entrepreneurs mention that they collect data, but do not know what to do with the data or how to act on it.

This is where data visualizations come in; visualized data allows entrepreneurs to notice consumer touch points so that you can make effective marketing decisions. We need to visualize data to understand it, hence turning data points into infographics and visual communication allows us to have actionable data that can be used to improve customer experience.

The image here is an Example of Visualized Consumer Data. Is good enough but far from perfect… Go the extra mile and create Stories with these data- Tell your Story or that of Your Customers!

.
How-to StoryTell in 2018?
Don’t expect a clear single 1-step answer. SnapChat is so ‘hot’ with the Y-Generation, Instagram is trying to fight is with Instagram Stories and now Youtube has given us its beta-version of Reels (https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com/2017/11/expanding-community-on-youtube.html)

Now whether all these are going to chip away from WhatsApp’s Status, your guess is as good as anybody’s.

Remember: WhatsApp might have a plethora of users but there is no way yet to be used for digital marketing (besides the usual act of giving a microinfluencer a few hundred Cedis to promote an event or brand/ product).

You need to experiment with all these options and discover which one(s) should be part of your 2018 Platform Strategy for Storytelling.

.
Video- Marketing in Ghana
You might have seen these numbers before:

These in combination with all possible video- content delivery- formats (e.g. 360-degree, live- streams, etc) give Marketers plenty of Choices.

The only obstacle: who is going to pay for that data / for downloading video content?

With the current rates it is you- the advertiser
.
Integrated Customer Loyalty Analytics
Constant measurement(s) utilizing all applicable Loyalty tools are imperative in a customer’s journey. The use of these tools helps organizations determine the level of loyalty. As internet penetration increases and smartphone usage goes up, loyalty will be further determined online.

Online is going to become challenging as Facebook has once again altered its newsfeed algorithm to prioritize content from family and friends whiles brands will not have the visibility they used to have. Hence Customer Loyalty will be determined strictly by how many people are willing to make the effort of going on the Facebook page to like, share and promote content. Online Customer Loyalty will equally be as valuable as Customer Loyalty offline.

Improved CX by identifying all possible Customer Touchpoints

Businesses will leverage data -as discussed above- to improve the CX (=Customer eXperience). Customer touchpoints are usually not a priority for most companies and brands, because the ability to identify these touch points is an arduous task for many of them.

When important touch points are determined then, there is the likeability of better engaging customer and providing a more wholesome customer experience. HireLoyaltyhelps in determining the various consumer touch points for your brand and company. We are busy writing an article on “possible Customer Touchpoints” – to be published in 2-3 weeks.

.
Is Twitter ‘dead’?
The fact is that Twitter did not grow its user- base in 2017. In an attempt to get more users, Twitter expanded its traditional 140 character count to 280 characters and that might have irritated those users who believe that using under 140 characters forced individuals and brands to be precise and succinct in their ideas.

Unfortunately, Twitter also did not make any improvements to its ad platform and it seems Marketers have been exploring other platforms to reach their audiences, LinkedIn been the most growing one.

.
Augmented Reality Marketing Hype
The talk about advertising/ marketing/ or communicating in any form with your Customers in any Augmented Environment has been there since mid/late 90s. Japanese tried it (Sony and Honda if we recall correctly), but even 20 years later, this is not yet a mature technology.

.
ChatBots
Sure, they have been around for years now; mainly used for Customer Service and by Millennials. Their use will increase in 2018 -2020 but 2018 in West Africa is not yet the Year of the ChatBot.

FYI: Americans estimate that 85% of customer interactions will be managed by chatbots by 2020.

.
Adblocking Work-arounds?
‘Experts’ have been predicting new techniques that can circumvent ad-blocking. Remember: an Expert is someone who knows ‘what’ is out there – not someone who has the ability to envision/ see what is coming or even what is happening right now.

Accenture began working in 2017 on a product placement technology that it believes it could address ad-blocking software.

The idea is to quickly place and personalize corporate bands/ logos and products in some sort of related content.

By the way, Google is working on a Chrome tool that mutes autoplay videos, which will not be great news for advertisers.

.
The Gen Zers (16-20) 2018-Trends
Generation Z are the today’s 16-20 years old ones. A little bit different than the Millennials (thus the bullet-items bellow apply to millennials too).

  • They are mainly mobile-phone users – they will even not care about tablets in 2018
  • Dominant Phone Usage: Music Downstreaming – trend will continue growing
  • Gen Zers will watch less Online TV and listen to less Radio.
  • Youtube, Instragram and SnapChat are important to them – FaceBook and WhatsApp to a lesser extent.
  • Gen Zers in West Africa will care very little about Pinterest, Twitter and FaceBook Messenger
  • They will start a search within Social Media and then with a(ny) Search Engine – so GoogleAds may be less relevant for that audience?
  • They don’t care to visit Brand Websites not to read Consumer Reports. A friend’s Recommendation coming with a Story is more important.
  • eSports – they prefer to watch or follow sports with their mobile via Social Media or an app.

How-to reach them? Think/ find out why they go online for? We might write in a month or two, a full article on them.

.
M-Commerce Time?
36% of the Ghanaians aged 16-64 own only a smartphone and don’t go online on any other device.

The Ghana Post App is a great one (we love it)– but still lack of road infrastructure will delay once again any ‘e-commerce explosion’ in 2018.

.
Micro-Influencers?
We have been hearing that as a trend for years and years now. Sure, people are aware that Influencers make money. But some consumers (usually the young ones) will follow an Influencer because they want to get dressed like them or simply they idolize them for whatever reason.

But Micro-Influencers are becoming less important, especially since we all know that they get paid for their ‘behavior’. Instead, expect the old classical Referral Marketing combined with Visual StoryTelling to be on a continuous rise.

.
In Conclusion
As the Consumers become more aware and educated, it is imperative that we employ Best Practices and outlook into the new year and find strategic ways to retain customers and make them advertisers of our brands. If there is one take-away message to be gleaned from our past articles, it is that Loyal Customers sustain and grow businesses.

Customer Loyalty can be equaled to the Pareto Optimality Principle, where 20% of your company’s clients can contribute to 80% of your revenue. The crystal ball of Customer Loyalty is rife with experiential loyalty promotions, data, and customer touch points and experience.

2018 is gearing up to be a great year for customer loyalty, the above-listed trends are growing and they will be shaping the Ghanaian Landscape of Social and Digital Marketing in 2018. It is up to your company and brand to access where you fall short and how you can better update your Customer Loyalty Strategy for 2018 to reflect what your Consumer desires.

Thank you and Good Luck
Kwaku and Spiros
.

© 2018 Kwaku Abedi & Spiros Tsaltas and © 2018 HireLoyalty