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John Hoholik

John Hoholik

John Hoholik is the chief growth officer for ACCENT Marketing Services, a member of the MDC Partners Inc. network and provider of multi-channel customer engagement solutions for brands that are passionate about keeping and growing customers. ACCENT’s data-driven approach transforms customer service touch points across phone, online and social media channels into powerful relationship and brand-building tools. And its proprietary approach helps brands engage with consumers and influence behavior, while generating a better return on their investment. Founded in 1993, ACCENT employs more than 2,500 people across North America and the Caribbean. For more information, visit http://www.accentonline.com.

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Simply put, a brand markets a product; a customer purchases the product. This linear strategy may have worked in the past, but today, consumers are more informed and have the tools to make a decision based on research and reviews instead of marketing and advertising. This is a game changer for a Chief Marketing Officers.

According to Forrester Research, the role of a CMO is defined as “The top marketing executive for a company or division, responsible for orchestrating and building the brand while fueling business growth. Coordinating efforts across digital and traditional channels, empowering the organization to deliver a consistent experience.”

Traditionally, the role of a CMO focused on acquiring customers. As new customers are secured, companies track hundreds of metrics including cost per impression, lifetime value, channel value and other data points to make the customer acquisition process as scientific and effective as possible. Marketing teams analyze campaign spend and results to create the next campaign – a repeatable cycle for customer acquisition.

I think one of the biggest challenges for a brand is knowing how and when to interact with consumers post purchase. Brands can certainly dedicate their energy purely on acquiring new customers, however, they are missing the opportunity to create loyal brand advocates. If CMOs consider the entire lifecycle and are interested in maximizing the return on investment, they need to figure out how to successfully engage with their customers.

ACCENT Marketing Services noticed the benefits of engaging with their clients’ customers and began to investigate how much time do marketers actually spend on understanding and engaging customers across their entire lifecycle – from prospect to acquisition to new purchases and even collections.

The results of the investigation caused ACCENT Marketing to shift our business model and capitalize on the growing opportunities for multi-touch customer engagements. We evolved from a BPO player to a Customer Engagement Agency, allowing us to help marketing leaders optimize their customers’ experience by applying insight and analysis to personalize every interaction, from identification of customers, customer exploration and decision-making, through purchase to post-purchase, and potential re-engagement.

Keep in mind, this evolution did not happen over night. To better understand the habits of today’s empowered consumers, ACCENT Marketing surveyed more than 1,000 consumers throughout the United States.

Highlights from the survey results include:

  • Nearly half of consumers interact with brands after a purchase.
  • 86 percent of consumers say that it’s important to have a positive experience after making a purchase.
  • 93 percent of consumers claim that a positive response or special offer can help restore the company’s reputation after a bad experience.

It’s important to note, driving customer engagement does not end once a customer makes a purchase – after all, the goal is have repeat purchases and drive revenue. In today’s technology driven world, marketers need to seize the moment and put effort into creating a long, ongoing relationship with each customer, recognizing that brands have the opportunity to create brand advocates through post-purchase engagement.

I always tell my team to keep in mind that today’s consumers are more informed than ever before – reading reviews, comparing pricing and talking about products on social networks. Marketers should be aware and take advantage of these rapidly increasing avenues that allow brands to listen to the conversation and drive engagement across channels, and to do so throughout the customer lifecycle.

How and when consumers interact with a brand varies. However, thanks to ACCENT’s survey, we know that nearly half of all consumers surveyed interact with a brand post-purchase and of those who interact post purchase, over 80 percent interact due to an issue with a product or service.

Interesting to note, it’s not just dissatisfied consumers that brands are missing relationship opportunities with, nearly 60 percent of consumers say they think about a brand when they are delighted by the product and nearly two-thirds think about a brand when looking to make another purchase.

Marketers take notice, 86 percent of consumers say it’s important to have a positive experience after making a purchase. This tells the CMO that a consumer, brand relationship is just as important after a purchase as it is before a purchase.

My advice, listen to your customers and engage with them – after all without the customer, there’s no need for a product or service.

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