No matter who you voted for, or what you thought of this election cycle, it’s been a fascinating, wild ride. Cut through all the promises, missteps, threats and scandals, and you can find a few polished gems to help improve the experience you offer your customers. Yes, really, at least five yuge lessons you can use. Big league.
1. Emotional engagement turns loyal customers into vocal advocates. Some more vocal than others.
If this election year is any indication, new measures of emotional engagement at political rallies include the number of chants shouted, punches thrown, or tears shed. We can take a lesson from candidates who emotionally engage their followers to campaign for them and ultimately wait in line to vote for them.
Why should marketers care? Because emotionally engaged customers are even more valuable than satisfied customers – 52 percent more, according to research published by Harvard Business Review. Part of that added value: emotionally engaged customers are at least three times more likely to recommend your product or service.
2. Branding and customer experience must match as closely as a (red, white or blue) two-piece pantsuit.
Worse than a mismatched debate pantsuit is a customer experience that clashes with or overpowers your brand in a negative way. Check out “What Presidential Campaigns Can Teach Marketers About Branding,” where Gartner’s Jake Sorofman says:
“In politics and in business, branding is about focus… It’s about consistency in words, and—if you hope to be reelected—between words and deeds.”
If we want our customers to reelect us, we must keep creating experiences that live up to our brand promise.
3. Customers experience your brand across many channels. Don’t make them tune out.
Did you lunge for the TV remote to change channels every time another political ad blared at you? The same messages, the same formats, ad nauseum. No wonder the unpredictability of the live presidential debates drew record-breaking viewers this year. Consider how customers can experience your brand in an omni-channel world. Digital and physical, new media and traditional media. By serving up content and experiences in the way the customer chooses, we have a better chance of engaging them before that pesky 8-second attention span wears out.
4. The decision-making process is a social one.
We’ve seen some political candidates more comfortable – or more relentless – with social media than others. (Tell me, is anything that important to Tweet at 3 a.m.?). Steve Blakeman‘s post, How social media has shaped the U.S. Presidential Election, does a nice job of exploring how the candidates are using and growing social media’s influential role. Blakeman says:“It’s more about their ability to galvanise their own loyal supporters, influencers, acolytes and surrogates into liking, commenting, sharing and retweeting their thoughts, views, opinions and ideologies.”Sounds like something all brands would like to do. We’re already seeing social media’s prominent role in how customers make up their minds about brands. IDC research showed 75% of B2B buyers used social media to support their purchase decisions. Meanwhile, PwC’s 2016 Total Retail survey found social media influences more than two-thirds of consumers in their online shopping behavior.
5. Expectations – rational or irrational – are your new benchmark.
Does anyone expect the candidates to deliver on all their election-year promises? We tend to be satisfied if they deliver on just one. Preferably the most rational. But in marketing, we have to meet ever-higher customer expectations.Another post by Jake Sorofman, In Customer Experience, “Last Best” Shapes Expectations, reminds us we’re up against not just our competitors. We also compete against our customers’ last best experience with our brand. Sorofman says:“Today, customers have what can sometimes feel like absurdly high expectations for customer experience. But the onus is on you, not to bring these expectations back down to earth, but to rise to meet them.” Here at Lightspeed, we love to rise to meet our customers’ expectations. The higher, the better. Plus, we are privileged to partner with our clients to help them deliver an exceptional experience to their own customers.
Check out a couple of cases in point: