Deep down we all know it. We hate marketing. Although good ads, emails, and flyers may occasionally get our attention, we ignore the overwhelming majority of companies trying sell us something. Why? Most of the time they just get in the way of what you are trying to do. A pop-up ad when you are trying to read an article. An unsolicited email when you are trying to get on with your day. Even if you are already a customer of that company, chances are you have little interest in what they are trying to say to you.

 

For marketers and salespeople, this presents a major problem. How do you get your message across to your customers when they are doing their utmost to avoid your ads, emails, and calls?

 

The answer is simple. Stop marketing to your customers and start engaging with them. Your customers might not want to be shouted at, but they do want to be listened to. This fact has become apparent to marketers around the world, but it was backed up by recent research carried out by Wunderman, a leading digital agency that is part of the global communications giant WPP.

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In carrying out their research, they realized that customers didn’t want to feel as if they were being sold to, but rather that they were wanted. The results? Their Wantedness report that reveals just how important it is that you stop marketing and start engaging.

 

In an era defined by increasing transparency and decreasing trust, brands must do more than just sell. They have to prove they want you as a customer. They have to prove it at every step in the customer journey. – Wunderman 2017 Wantedness Survey

Their big findings highlight how important it is that you listen to your customers, take on board their feedback, and make them feel as if they are valued. Don’t believe it? Wunderman found that 79% of consumers in the UK and 72% in the US ‘only consider brands that show that they understand and care about me’.

 

What’s more, customers are drawn to companies that are going above and beyond to interact with them, listen to their opinion, and find out how their products and services could be improved. 88% of consumers in the US and 90% of consumers in the UK ‘want to engage with brands that are setting new standards’. Whilst 74% of consumers say that ‘brands can set new standards by providing a higher level of customer experience’.

 

 

Maybe you feel as if you’re in an industry where engaging with your customers in this way just isn’t necessary. Unfortunately, the reality is that your customers are now comparing your business to the very best experiences they have with companies in any industry. 87% of consumers in the US and 85% of consumers in the UK ‘measure all brands against only a select few’ (i.e. Amazon, Netflix, Starbucks, and other industries leaders that are at the forefront of customer experience and engagement).

 

You can’t afford to operate in a silo and ignore your customers’ needs and opinions. 56% of consumers in the US and 54% in the UK ‘feel more loyal to brands that show a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences’. How are you interacting with your customers and finding out what they need and expect?

 

Conventional techniques like surveys and focus groups won’t give you a good enough sense of what a large percentage of your customers want. Social media networks provide you with an excellent opportunity to engage and interact with your customers, but the constructive dialogue is often drowned out by the sheer amount of noise and distraction. The answer is to create a dedicated channel through which you and your customers can communicate regarding your products and services. This approach helped Starbucks to improve customer experience and engagement and launch new product lines and services.

 

Stop marketing and bring your customers into the conversation.