The pandemic and ensuing economic turmoil forced almost every business to change how they market. Small and medium-sized B2C (business-to-consumer) businesses were particularly vulnerable; however, many found new ways to sell despite their challenges. They also re-learned the value of customer retention, and many of those B2C marketing lessons are still valuable more than two years later.
Since we know consumers have shifted more of their attention online -- perhaps to stay -- B2C businesses need to continue to evolve, rather than reverse course back to their outmoded, 2019 consumer marketing tactics. They need to 1) structure their marketing teams to best tap into that traffic, 2) communicate more effectively, and 3) ensure that their social media efforts are optimized. All 3 lessons are essential for maximizing B2C customer retention in 2023 -- and beyond.
The most obvious marketing development from 2020-2022 has been the acceleration of digital. The legacy of hybrid and remote work has changed the way many consumers shop and interact. Naturally, businesses are also shifting how they attract new clients and retain their long-time ones. Deloitte outlined four marketing keys for organizations for customer retention, specifically:
Especially when engaging with returning clients, you need to create personalized journeys across the channels and in the settings that they are using. For example, the use of mobile devices as a share of total devices never rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. Without a careful adjustment to your SEO strategy, your current website and geotargeting in local listings might have the wrong focus, leading to lost customers. You also need to carefully consider how your customers can and will interact with your business. As customers expect a seamless experience, your service channels must deliver a consistent message to maintain that hard-earned loyalty.
According to McKinsey, the availability of products and services remains the number one reason customers switch their brand allegiance. For marketers seeking to retain customers, this means multiple things. The most obvious (if most difficult) response is to increase the days of inventory on-hand of products or the availability of time slots for services. This remains an ongoing challenge for some due to overseas shipping constraints, key product & part shortages, and now a looming (if not existing) global recession.
But what if the overseas lead time for your products precludes increasing stock levels? This is where timely communication is paramount. For high-volume items, consider placing a banner on your website to indicate when the product will be in-stock. If you aren’t already collecting customer emails, now is the perfect time to create a subscriber list so that you can be proactive with notifying customers about availability. If you're ready, you should also consider installing a comprehensive CRM platform like HubSpot to help communicate more efficiently and effectively.
Organizations should be prepared to dedicate more resources to social media marketing in 2023. Social media accounted for 23% of total US marketing budgets in Q3 2022, up from 13% in Q3 2019. Marketers are increasingly making customer retention a priority and recognize that social media remains a key to hitting their targets. Presented with a list of 5 objectives and asked to choose their primary one in 2023, more than twice as many marketing leaders pointed to customer retention (32.6%) as acquisition (14%).
As stated, the primary method businesses are using to engage and retain is social media. Social media is the perfect channel for brands to create repeat customers and build advocates that promote your business. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can help you start and maintain meaningful conversations with your most important assets. If newer platforms such as TikTok intimidate you, make sure you hire an agency with experience using those approaches, as the audience and messaging can be very different.
Successful retention marketing means setting up your sales, marketing, and customer service teams for success, communicating more effectively, and ensuring that you’re having good conversations with your clients. Stop wasting valuable resources on legacy tactics — re-allocate your marketing spend to attract and engage the right customers, in the right place, at the right time, using the current methods. If you still have questions, contact DaBrian Marketing Group today.