Verint VP of EMEA marketing Marije Gould on why the future of content marketing is about principles as much as your product
“Put customers at the heart of your marketing strategy. The future is not all about technology, it’s about people too,” says Verint’s VP of EMEA marketing, Marije Gould.
Marije Gould, VP marketing, EMEA at Verint used a futurologist to map her customers’ growing concerns. Far from it being just about the product or price, her customers care deeply about the ethos of the business they buy from, including its privacy, personalization, and ethics.
We all know the value of listening to the customer. Every modern marketer aims to understand the client’s challenges, needs, and opinions. But increasingly, those concerns stretch beyond the product or service offering. Chiefly, customers want to know whether you are ‘their kind of company.’
When Marije Gould, VP marketing, EMEA at Verint employed a futurologist, she unlocked crucial understandings about how customer expectations would develop in the coming decades. The research became a key part of Verint’s marketing strategy, helping understand its customers and putting them at the center of its work.
The research revealed the need to focus on three big trends:
- The ethical consumer, who cares about the company’s impact on society.
- The skeptical consumer, who’s wary and protective of data.
- The heartfelt consumer, who wants personal interaction.
What’s the most important discovery the futurologist made in their research?
The future is not all about technology, it’s about people. The human touch is so important, both in the workplace and in your relationships with customers.
Put the customer at the heart of your marketing.
Create a trusted community for them, and they’ll stay loyal to you much longer. Customer experience is a burgeoning area of B2B marketing, elevating human touch in a world of new technology.
1. How Verint learned to engage with customers
The futurologist’s research allowed Verint to develop thought leadership content that made it a leader in its field, but it also led the company to change its own approach to marketing.
“Six years ago we weren’t able to get three customers in a room together,” admits Marije. This prompted a focus on customer intimacy. Verint decided to invest in annual customer conferences and an advocacy programme, whereby customers share successes with their peers and create a trusted community. “Our most successful campaigns come down to human contact – customers engaging with us and with each other,” Marije says.
While the research uncovered three distinct customer types, Verint’s method was not to approach them as homogenous personas, but as individuals attuned to three key issues.
It recognized that ethics, data security, and personalization are each of significant and growing importance – especially among millennials.
This meant Marije had to re-think Verint’s approach to its content marketing strategy, including the sweet spot between privacy and personalization.
“We shouldn’t be good with customer data just because GDPR tells us to,” she says. Now the company focuses on personalised marketing efforts, using technology only when relevant to its customers. “It’s much more targeting, much less big net fishing.”
As a result of these moves, Verint has seen a big uptake in terms of marketing influence and engagement with its customers.
How can you create a trusted space for your customers?
We organize user forums for our customers where no salespeople are present, allowing open conversation.
What steps did you take to put customers first?
We now have a VP of customer experience, something that every serious organization in the B2B space is going to have to start looking at.
2. How to put the customer first
- Focus on educating your customers and facilitating their needs, rather than just selling to prospects.
- Turn your customers into your biggest advocates by giving them space to network and collaborate in a trusted environment.
- Tech is your friend, but it won’t replace the human touch. A good strategy is up to you.
- Don’t ignore millennials – as customers, they’re early adopters of technology and care about brand ethics. As your employees they’re keen to keep growing.
Want to find out what other marketing leaders think about the future of content? Read The Future of Content Marketing: 10 interviews with leading CMOs on the trends they’re using to disrupt in 2019.
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