The world is tough for SMEs: A 2017 exploratory study on the critical success factors for SMEs in Kenya found that 70 per cent of small businesses fold within their first three years.
Having a good product or service, innovative leadership and skilled staff were among the critical success factors that business owners identified for the study. Two of the key factors mentioned specifically involved business interaction with customers.
The first was customer relations, which involves the businesses’ staff directly talking to the customers. The better your staff is at handling customer communication, the higher the likelihood is that the business will succeed.
Marketing was the second factor, with consumers constantly bombarded by messages, it is difficult for businesses to rise above the noise. Great experiences are the solution for businesses that want to connect with their customers.
A survey of marketers by Hub Spot, a developer of marketing and sales software, found that professional marketers will prioritise influencer marketing throughout 2022. Influencer who are masters of their topics and the platforms they use make it easier for an audience to experience a brand’s products – however vicariously.
This experience is what draws audiences in and is crucial in converting them into customers. In the past, we knew it as word of mouth; social media simply supercharged our ability to reach a greater number of people.
The digital world has been providing us with unprecedented tools that allow us, not only to talk to our audiences but to have conversations with them. This give and take allowed by social media and the internet helps marketers connect on a deeper level with their target markets.
The rapid advancements that we are seeing every day create an even bigger intersection for brands and the public.
Companies like ours, Yellow Pages give advisory to small businesses on how to harness the digital platforms for lead generations. Late last year, Facebook rebranded to Meta and introduced the idea of the Metaverse to the world.
While the word and concept had been with us for a long time, no big tech firm had put it down on paper and stated it clearly as the direction the world is going to take.
Meta’s fusion of augmented reality, virtual reality to the capabilities of the internet will give us a whole new way of connecting with each other; and providing an avenue for people to experience brands in a whole new way.
Soon after the Metaverse announcement, brands like Nike, Dolce and Gabbana, and Gucci jumped on the new platform and started giving their consumers not only new ways to experience their content but their products as well.
Brands and marketers are salivating at the possibilities within the metaverse; but our collective eye has to stay on the ball. Brand experience impacts all aspects of the customer acquisition process from trial to purchase, and customer retention.
Awakening your audience’s holistic sensory experience wherever they interact with your brand is key to convincing them to join your side. ‘Emotive inclination’ is crucial to providing a deeper meaning to products and the brands behind them.
Appealing to logic worked back when there were few options for consumers to choose from: A small difference in product was enough to sway consumer opinion; but today, markets are saturated with very similar and excellent products. When you go to buy gym shoes, for instance, what makes you choose one brand over another?
All of them have equally comfortable shoes in similar colours to suit your taste, but it is the ethos of the brand – and the emotional connection you have with it – that makes the difference. Businesses and marketers have to understand that at this point in time, the tools of trade will change, but it is how your audience sees your brand that matters.
A brand that is relatable, present and enjoyable is more likely to do well with an average product than one with a slightly superior product but worse brand experience and you need to find someone who has insight on how to position your brand for this.