[New Research] The Missing Link For Brand Empathy and Customer-Centric Content

Tatiana Beale
February 16, 2017
How to

Content marketers face an uphill battle (but we're all in this together, right?). 

It’s never been more difficult to craft targeted messages that resonate. And CMOs have caught on, with concerns about preserving the human side of their brands while driving digital transformation.

On the bright side, content marketers have a promising opportunity at their fingertips (never fear, this is a glass-half-full blog post).

While your brand may have lost its place in the customer journey, your influencers remain front and center. 

By leveraging influence in a strategic way, content marketers can pinpoint the perfect intersection

Marketing Leaders View Influencer Marketing as a Strategic Practice

Traackr and TopRank Marketing recently surveyed leading enterprises, including Adobe, American Express, Microsoft and more, and found that 71% of marketing leaders view influencer marketing as a highly strategic or strategic practice.

Is Influencer Marketing Strategic?

While some marketers remain in a tactical mindset, there is an opportunity to do something more with influence.

Introducing Influence 2.0: The Key Enabler of Customer Centricity

Leveraging original data from this research, we teamed up with Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter to produce Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing. In the report, Brian analyzes what’s working and what’s failing with the current state of influencer marketing. He reveals the concept of Influence 2.0--or influencer relations--a new discipline that transcends all relationship-driven marketing, built on a foundation of empathy and customer-centricity. With an Influence 2.0 strategy, you can reshape your customer journey so that it includes strategic content aligned with influencer engagement.

Integrating Influence, Content Strategy and the Customer Experience

In our research, we found that the most mature companies are finding ways to integrate influence management, content strategy, and customer experience. And we’ve learned that influencer marketing has been most impactful for content marketing, specifically.

Where Has Influencer Marketing Been Most Impactful?

However, in Solis’ digital transformation research, he found that only 22% of companies are investing in a content strategy that addresses customer needs throughout the journey.¹

By aligning strategic content with influencer engagement, you can engage customers when they’re most impressionable in each moment of truth.

It’s about relationships that add value to our customers, create new and exciting opportunities, and relationships that are symbiotic. We’re not interested in taking a well-known face and giving them a cheque, as we are always centered on authenticity and being true to our brand.” - Simon Sproule, CMO, Aston Martin

Influence can do Much More than Drive Awareness

According to our research, strategic marketers believe influence can do much more than promoting messages. Over the next few years, marketers would like to see influence play an instrumental role in helping companies reach new targeted audiences, increase share of voice, and improve sales conversion, in addition to improving brand advocacy and awareness.

10 Goals of Influencer Marketing

How to Align Influencer-Driven Content with the New Customer Journey

In the report, Solis shares his Content Experience diagram to help you reimagine the customer journey based on customer-centered content, created and distributed by influencers and advocates.

Re-imagining the Customer Journey with Influencer Content

Here are a few examples to help you develop Influence 2.0 strategies that re-shape your new customer journey.

AWARENESS/DISCOVERY:

Influencers create content that introduces new products, feature capabilities, and benefits

RESEARCH/INFORMATION GATHERING:

Influencers answer common questions or demonstrate common applications, either in person, via webinar, or live video on social media

SERVICE/SUPPORT:

Influencers engage customers with information that solves problems or introduces new capabilities

SALES/CONVERSION:

Influencers direct customers to the correct paths and channels to complete their purchase or further evaluate options (measured in downloads, trials, demonstrations, inquiries, purchases, etc.)

Always remember that your content should match your customer’s preferred format, be shared in the networks your customers prefer, and be consumable on their favorite devices. Google found that 90% of mobile-first consumers are brand agnostic in a micro-moment and that 73% will make a decision about a brand based on which is the most useful or helpful in each instance.

By consistently connecting relevant influencers, useful and interesting content in the right places at the right time, brands earn reciprocity, establish trust and build loyalty.

To get better acquainted with Influence 2.0, including how to unite disparate groups that in turn impact sales, customer satisfaction and retention, download the report. Plus, you’ll get 10 actionable steps to set your foundation and get started.

Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing

Sources:

  1. Solis, Brian, and Jaimy Szymanski. The 2016 State of Digital Transformation. Rep. Altimeter Group, 2016. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.

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