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Digital marketing has changed all aspects of customer and business interactions, including customer relationship management. A company’s website presence and content marketing are a foundation to most digital marketing programs. Content marketing in particular is often seen as a way to drive conversions; it can also be used as a way to develop customer engagement and improve customer retention.
Many companies today have an increased focus on customer retention and customer lifetime value, recognizing that the ROI of a repeat customer is often more substantial than the return of the first year of a customer. Digital marketing has made customer engagement more affordable for companies, and marketing automation can enable CRM programs at a lower cost than in the past.
The challenge of modern digital marketing
Customer relationship marketing used to be fairly reliant on direct marketing, and in particular direct mail. Multichannel digital marketing has changed this. Marketers are no longer relegated to sending one-way communications to customers. A modern customer may be connecting with your brand’s messaging through any number of channels, your website, company-created communications, social media platforms, SMS, native applications and more. Thus, the challenge of modern digital marketing is to determine how to influence the entirety of the customer’s relationship with the brand and even the category.
Establishing a customer relationship is about building trust. Customers are no longer anonymous readers judged only by volume of traffic. By providing each customer with a “unique” experience based on their prior interactions with the company, a business can build trust and a relationship with their customers. Additionally, being a “go-to” source for customers promotes the brand as an authority, and can provide fodder for social media engagement and sharing.
Digital marketing has changed customer expectations
It's not enough to merely collect data. Customers expect companies that they do business with to know something about them and in return customize communications accordingly. Behaviorally driven and comprehensively tracked inbound marketing can provide a foundation to communicate with customers about topics that are on their minds. Applying behavior to communications can help increase relevancy and drive additional engagement.
Digital marketing that is married to marketing automation is the answer to delivering an effective and cost-efficient CRM program for many companies. Inbound marketing campaigns should include downloadable content such as white papers, guides, electronic books and blogs that drive customer re-engagement. Marketing automation can then be established that applies the knowledge gained from the download behavior and other online browsing behavior. Marketing automation can enable tailoring for triggered emails, and enable CRM at an affordable cost.
Marketers are struggling to develop a more accurate and holistic picture of their customer relationships due to data overload and what could be considered fragmented data. A company’s website can serve as a form of consolidated behavioral tracking if other forms of inbound marketing and outbound marketing are appropriately integrated and tracked. Behavioral data and engagement history can drive content marketing, creating a full digital marketing campaign that is tailored to customer groups on the basis of their existing relationship with a company. Creating a fulfilling, long-lasting customer relationship creates a stable business model that is easy to scale – but it does require a detailed and comprehensive digital marketing campaign.