By Chris Moody - Head of Global Content, Cheetah Digital
For the first time ever, Facebook usage has declined year-over-year.
Every year, Edison Research and Triton Digital produce the Infinite Dial study covering how Americans use social media, audio, and other technology. The 2018 version launched on March 8th, but was teased with the fact that Facebook usage decreased from 67% of Americans ages 12 and older to 62% of that same audience.
Jay Baer suggests there were three main reasons for the decline: discord, distrust and disinterest. In the spirit of consistency, here are three reasons why focusing on the customer experience is more important than having a channel focus.
1. You have no control over how channels change and evolve
Traditionally, most marketers have embraced a hub and spoke model that puts their owned experience (usually a website) in the center to be surrounded by other channels – email, social, etc. But, history is filled with many companies that pushed all their chips to the center of the table and built businesses around a single channel. One algorithm change – gone. A quick cash-out or exit – gone. A fundamental product change – gone.
Building a business around a channel is akin to moving all of your belongings into a stranger’s RV. Your stuff might be safe and sound inside that vehicle, but it could drive off with everything you own on a whim.
2. You’ll always own the experience you create for customers
It may still center around your website, or your mobile app, but you need to own the content, the experience and the interaction with your brand. As consumer preferences change, they shift where consumers spend most of their time, putting marketers in a position to adjust to meet that demand. A modern day food truck-type experience: Be where your customers and prospects are and give them what they want. If they decide to live or work somewhere else, you can pack up the truck and park it at their new location.
Many brands are still channel dependent, and that needs to change.
Spend some time on Facebook, or Instagram or Pinterest, and you’ll find niche companies that have mastered how to use a particular channel. It could be fruitful for years, but there is a steep assumed risk. Usage or sentiment of a channel can change independently of how your brand utilizes that channel.
3. Effective use of data and AI still requires an incredible customer experience
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already disrupting many industries. The ability to scale and duplicate efforts through the use of technology has marketers both scared, and terrified.
At the core of artificial intelligence is data. Machine learning is making educated guesses at what you want, how you want it and how you’d like to engage based on all of the information available about you, your company, your interests, your dislikes, etc. The goal is to ultimately create a more personalized, individual experience.
There will always be a human element though. One of the hottest startups today is Drift - a company using bots to schedule sales meetings more efficiently. They crunch the data, have brief conversations and ultimately, assess interest before handing it off to a human. The entire premise of this technology is to create a better experience. It saves you time. It saves them time. It saves you money. It saves them money.
Once that handoff is made, we can be creative with the natural segue from machine to human to create a more impactful experience for prospects and customers.
Applications of technology will change. The importance of meeting customer expectations will not.
As we build the cross-channel campaigns that create the intended customer experience for our brands, we can deliver a relevant, contextual experience for each channel without betting the house on it. The core should be the experience you want to centrally manage for customers, and a platform that lets you create that regardless of channel.
Want to read more about cross-channel campaign trends? Download a complimentary copy of the Forrester Wave report here.