In Back to the Future, Marty McFly goes 30 years into the past (and eventually into the future) to influence relationships that help him continue existing. I enjoyed the concept as a kid, but now that I’m older, I see so many similarities between the classic movie and the way brands need to nurture customer relationships to ensure they continue existing—now and in the future.
What might nurturing look like? A tried-and-true customer engagement approach to propel your future marketing strategies.
Are Digital Customer Touchpoints as Effective as You Want?
In the past 15 years, digital media made its debut and emerged as most marketers’ first stop for integrated marketing efforts. When it comes to ongoing customer engagement, most brands’ plans have evolved to be digitally centered, if not completely digital. And why wouldn’t they?
Wherever customers are, brands intend to reach them. Often that’s digitally in our tech-focused world. And the great brands are making all emails, texts, and push notifications personalized, relevant, and timely.
With today’s marketing automation and customer data solutions, there’s little reason not to:
- Set your customer strategy
- Execute the strategy into an automation tool
- Assess results while refining along the way
Digital Touchpoints Eventually Lose Steam in Engaging Customers
In my experience, though, digital-only programs eventually hit the same plateaus in customer impact and responsiveness as older, “traditional” marketing campaigns. Customers become less responsive and even ignore the steady stream of digital touchpoints.
After the influx of digital engagement communications the past few years, there’s a big opportunity for integrated marketing to go back to tangible and experiential touchpoints like physical mail, welcome kits, live events, gifts and experiences. Even marketing budgets are reflecting a more even split between digital and offline channels.
Related: Read how an unexpected breakthrough touchpoint turned a negative customer experience into a positive for one leading insurance provider.
The art of engagement lies in knowing when digital-only strategies are most effective and efficient, and when digital and beyond-digital touchpoints are the best (or only!) way to create new customer attitudes and behaviors.
Integrated Breakthrough Touchpoints Maintain Engagement & Influence Customer Behavior
A unique set of touchpoints and experiences is not only expected from customers, but also required and appreciated. Even when digital-only programs are true to the brand, they often don’t connect with the customer, and rarely rise to the level of being truly memorable or noteworthy.
Breakthrough touchpoints are a mix of highly effective digital and beyond-digital customer engagement tactics. Today’s customers know their favorite brands, each brand’s purpose and the presence in their lives. The familiarity results in new and bigger expectations of how the brands act and engage directly with customers.
Experiential Customer Touchpoints Are the Future
Nurturing today’s customer relationships takes a strategic combination of cutting-edge digital personalization and compelling touchpoints. It may feel like unfamiliar territory, but as Doc Brown says in the final scene of Back to the Future, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” Just like Doc, we’re helping the best brands forge their own paths to reach customers in meaningful ways and build long-term brand-customer connections.
Whether you have an existing loyalty or engagement platform or are starting fresh, learn more about how breakthrough touchpoints sustain and nurture deeper customer relationships.