Trends to Watch in 2011 for Maximizing the Customer Experience for Business Growth

5 senses

(Image via The Beauty Brains)

By Jeremy Lichtenberger (@ Air_Master_J)

Looking back, 2010 was a mixed bag. Economic uncertainty clouded over business plans and budgets, but many organizations found a way to make lemons out of lemonade: reaping the benefits of social media for cost effective marketing. Reflecting on the year that was inevitably raises questions about the year that will be.

What trends will shape the health care industry and affect how we do business in 2011?

Social media increasing its role as a power player: Its shocking to think that, just five or six years ago, the prospect of an all-social or all-online launch of a major new product would be laughed out of the conference room. Today tools, technologies, and best practices are in place to move social media beyond the experimental category and into a front-and-center role in your channel marketing.

Social media will continue to be the strategy of choice for products that move well based on peer- or trusted- colleague recommendation. In that sense, 2011s overarching goal for the best social media efforts remains the same: You talk a little so theyll talk a lot. Listen to consumers, solicit their feedback on social networks, and commit to delivering an excellent customer experience with every interaction.

Its a mad, mad, mobile world: Years from now, some of us will tell our children of a time when phones were just for phone calls but it will be a distant memory as the smartphone rapidly becomes the most personal and productive of computing devices. Smartphone growth is off the charts, with Google estimating that it ships more than 60,000 Android handsets a day. Comscore reports that smartphone penetration doubled in 2010 and is expected to have more than 50 percent market penetration by end of 2011.

The market has largely settled on two dominant platforms Apples iOS and Googles Android that each have rich app ecosystems providing marketers with everything from the ability to place ads in popular mobile games to deploying customizable, value-added experiences for patients, physicians and prospects. A wide range of diabetes-related applications many tied to specific drugs leads the way in this space, and offers a peek at the future.

Demographics are destiny: In 2011, the oldest Baby Boomers will turn 65. At the other end of the age spectrum, millions of young adults are now graduating college and entering periods of prolonged unemployment because there are limited openings in their chosen field. While its true that the U.S. has been through boom and recession cycles before, these and other large-scale demographic shifts mean new challenges for marketers across the B2C spectrum. Even as campaigns and targeting get increasingly personalized and pushed down to individual social graphs, these trends will affect upstream marketing decisions such as product development, pricing and research focus.

By transforming customer data into knowledge, and using that information to uncover new sales and business development opportunities, companies will be better positioned to acquire and retain satisfied customers. Using new technologies to reach consumers, patients, physicians and prospects, companies can transform the nature of customer relationships to promote action and foster loyalty. 2011 will be the year of the customer; embracing these trends can deliver a customer experience that moves beyond a goal to becoming the foundation of the business.



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