Guest Blog: Is your digital marketing strategy stuck in the past?

Since 2015 the internet has been abuzz with with the phrase ‘customer experience’. Across blogs, tweets, presentations and every medium in-between, everyone is talking about how a business can’t succeed in today’s marketplace without continually adapting to the ever-shifting desires of the 2016 customer.

Despite all the commentary floating around the internet, only a select few are truly dedicating themselves to providing a rewarding customer-centric, omni-channel experience for their customers. Just 31% of leading UK businesses are doing some form of data driven optimization to their website.

For every article chronicling an innovative brand cultivating their relationship with loyal customers, there are a dozen businesses who are still blindly ploughing on with ‘what they’ve always done’, failing to see the role of conversion optimization in providing a superior customer experience and ensuring their long-term success.

Instead, the thinking is that to grow a business, you need to grow your traffic; that acquisition matters above all else. Take for example, the stat that 73% of businesses are running email campaigns to drive traffic to their site. There’s no doubt that email campaigns have been successful in the past, but when you consider that 69%* of British consumers are unsubscribing from mailing lists (or even worse, closing accounts) due to the overwhelming amount of emails in their inbox, this strategy starts to appear short-sighted (Aimia Institute, March 2015). 

Not only that, but 72% of businesses assign marketing budget to SEO. There’s no doubting the importance of SEO in ensuring a brand’s success; to be a big player, you need to ensure your key pages are ranking high. This isn’t just to do with the impatience of a potential visitor (who doesn’t want to scroll through endless pages), but with trust too; audiences have an innate trust in the Google ranking system and if you’re not ranking high, then the thinking is there must be something wrong with your brand.

It’s alarming to see then, that out of the 108 businesses who invest in SEO, only 51% of them are investing in AB testing. It seems that just over half businesses believe the battle is won once they have the customer on their site.

What about the customer experience on site?

The audience has already gone onto a site with an element of trust, but it is fragile. The businesses that succeed today recognize this fragile trust and that to build on it, they have to offer a seamless and rewarding (literally) experience across all touchpoints, otherwise the customer simply moves on to a competitor. Customers today expect to be recognized as a human behind the mouse-click (not just a number on a screen) and to be treated as a such. This is where intelligent conversion optimization comes in; it provides a business a means of meeting those expectations.

So if you look at the infographic below, you’ll see that 63% of businesses are conducting data analysis; not as high as it should be, but a step in the right direction. Analyzing data will allow you to find out what devices people are using to access your site, which pages are the most popular as well as pinpointing problematic areas with high exit rates. Unfortunately, many deem this an adequate way to analyze customer behavior. The problem with solely relying on data is that whilst you may see ‘what’ is happening on your site, you don’t know ‘why’ it is happening. This is why user research is crucial to providing a superior customer experience – it puts businesses in the company of their customers and allows them to see first-hand how they react to their online experience and why they might be struggling to complete a desired action.

Unfortunately, only half of the marketers we surveyed sit down with their customers and worse still, 34% of them say they only do it once a year. Not only does user research allow you to humanize your audience, but it also allows you to adapt to the ever-changing customer desires in The Expectation Economy. Getting a yearly deliverable on research just won’t cut it anymore. Businesses that are combining their qualitative and quantitative data streams are already capturing more market share, leaving their competition struggling to catch up.

From the research, it’s still abundantly clear that many leading UK businesses need to step up their game, or get left behind. As Rear Admiral Grace Hopper quoted: “the most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way”’, and it seems that this message is realized in too many businesses” digital strategies.

You can see more insight into the digital marketing strategies of leading UK businesses in our infographic below and for all your information on conversion optimization, you can visit our CRO Resource Library here.PRWD_Infographic_1.jpg