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Published in Engagement category on (03/14/2013)

Why Companies Must Get Closer to Customers

blogstory.jpgToday’s marketers face the challenge of understanding, delivering value, and creating lasting relationships with highly-empowered customers. IBM’s 2012 Global Chief Marketing Officer Study discovered that in order to meet this challenge, the most proactive CMOs are striving to understand individuals as well as markets.

The CEO’s agenda also clearly registers the challenge. Leaders of the most successful companies regard getting close to customers as a top priority for success in the twenty-first century, according to IBM’s recent Global CEO Study.  In turn, CEOs are looking for their organizations to gain deeper customer insight in order to engage customers as individuals.

Why is getting closer so important?

By now we’re well aware that the buyer’s expedition through the purchase cycle has changed.

Companies no longer drive the process. Instead, buyers forge their own way, using an ever-expanding number of channels to discover, research, review, and compare products and services.  Often, to the surprise of businesses, these buyers are only reaching out to salespeople when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Forrester estimates today’s buyers might be up to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they reach out to the vendor.

The question for marketers then, is how can we facilitate this buying process and ensure our product is in the running when purchase-time arrives?

Get closer—sooner and longer. 

In response to both the changing buyer behavior and the marketer’s increasing responsibility in the revenue cycle, marketing must find ways to engage prospects and leads early-on and throughout their buying cycles. In order to drive revenue, marketers need to help customers educate themselves, be there when they are ready to buy, facilitate the sales process, and inspire enthusiasts to spread the word.

This can only happen if marketers are able to engage with customers on a personalized level, in ways that are relevant and responsive to each individual’s place in the buying process.

In-person events play a critical role.

The defining quality of events is their ability to bring people and brands closer together.  For customers, events offer an opportunity to discover new ideas, products, and services. They allow individuals to uncover answers to their problems. Events allow buyers to obtain first-hand peer reviews, interact with meaningful content, and make new business connections. And they allow companies to build trust and inspire evangelists.

All of this happens in a face-to-face setting that simply cannot be replicated by traditional online and offline communications.

As a result, marketers have more data about their buying audience and are striving to overcome the challenge of understanding, delivering value, and creating lasting relationships with today’s empowered customers.

Today’s event management technology is closely twined with marketing automation and CRM systems to paint more colorful profiles of customers and this data is being put to use across all touchpoints—marketing and sales—to close the revenue loop and deliver ROI to organizations.

As you look for ways to get closer to customers and accelerate business, you’ll need the right technology in place.  Discover how Certain is helping marketers strengthen and prove the value of events in the revenue cycle.  Request a live demo.

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