Businesses today are under immense pressure to not just meet, but exceed their audience's expectations. In fact, 66% of customers expect companies to deeply understand their individual needs and desires*. Given these heightened expectations, how can businesses stay competitive? The key may be humanistic marketing, an approach that places the human experience at the forefront of all business interactions. In this article, we will explore the trends in customer expectations. Then, we will discuss how to navigate their new expectations and use humanistic marketing to create a better customer experience.
Understanding Evolving Consumer Expectations
Gone are the days when consumers were content with just basic offerings like satisfactory service and fair pricing. Today's digitally empowered consumer anticipates much more—from proactive services and individualized interactions to a seamless experience across various digital channels. It’s all about putting people first. In this competitive age, with choices aplenty, a notable 80% of customers believe that the overall experience a brand offers holds equal weight to the products or services it provides*. This has set a precedent, with disruptive companies using technology breakthroughs to offer top-notch experiences, leaving others striving to match up.
Navigating the New Norms of Consumer Expectations
Businesses need to be keenly aware of this new set of benchmarks. For instance, about 76% of consumers now want uniform interactions across all departments of a company, highlighting the importance of a coherent and consistent customer journey. Personalization is another area seeing a surge in demand, with 52% of consumers expecting offers tailored to their preferences*. Furthermore, the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to 88% of customers expecting businesses to double down on their digital transformation efforts*. Amidst these evolving expectations, one constant remains: the deep-rooted need for trust. With the growing concerns surrounding data security and privacy, an overwhelming 86% of customers are seeking greater transparency in how their personal information is handled.
Embracing Humanistic Marketing to Exceed Audience Expectations
To rise to these challenges, the focus needs to shift towards humanistic marketing. By adopting a humanistic marketing approach, businesses can effectively manage and surpass these evolving expectations. Here’s how:
Strategic Planning and Transparency
Initiate any marketing partnership by setting marketing goals in alignment with the client's larger objectives. This foundation ensures alignment and focus throughout the project's duration. Alongside this, it's essential to provide clear, detailed project timelines. Such transparency not only keeps both parties informed but also allows clients to track progress seamlessly. In the same vein, it's pivotal to communicate what's achievable upfront. Managing these expectations and consistently delivering on them ensures that client satisfaction remains a priority.
Building Relationships and Trust
Building a trusting, lasting relationship goes beyond just achieving tangible results. A significant step in this direction involves introducing clients to your team, creating a sense of familiarity and personal connection. This, combined with clear promises — whether it's about avoiding surprise bills or ensuring prompt email responses — cements trust between businesses and clients. Additionally, in a dynamic business environment, adaptability is crucial. Proactively informing clients about potential challenges, risks, and providing well-thought-out contingency plans showcase a company's adaptability and instill confidence.
Client Education and Realism
Equipping clients with insights about their market position and their level of marketing maturity is invaluable. A well-informed client has realistic expectations, a factor especially vital for those who are newer to advanced marketing strategies. To further this trust, it's essential to maintain a commitment to realistic outcomes. Embracing the philosophy of under-promising and then over-delivering can help mitigate the challenges posed by unrealistic deadlines and further solidify trust.
Clear and ongoing communication is the backbone of successful client relationships. By ensuring consistent, transparent interactions, businesses minimize potential misunderstandings. This clear line of communication ensures that all parties involved share the same vision, goals, and expectations, leading to a more harmonious and productive partnership.
Meeting and exceeding audience expectations in this digital age requires a nuanced, human-centric approach. By integrating the principles of humanistic marketing, businesses can ensure they not only meet but consistently surpass the ever-evolving expectations of their audience, laying the foundation for lasting success and growth.