Michael O'Neill

By 2020, customer experience (CX) is projected to surpass price and product offering as the key differentiator influencing purchasing decisions.

That means merely providing a superior product that is priced within reach of target buyers simply won’t cut it anymore. Customers are more commonly placing a premium on how they are treated, how brands interact with them and how the overall experience of making a purchase affects them at the most primal level.

But customer experience goes beyond the shopping cart – both in store and online. There are so many touchpoints that come before and after a sale that make an enormous difference in whether a business retains customers or loses them to competitors.

That’s where content comes in.

The best way to enhance customer experience is by providing the types of content current and prospective customers like to see.

Here’s why:

Content is branded exposure on your terms

In a world where cell phone videos go viral (sorry, United), internet trolls hijack social media platforms and inaccurate characterizations litter review boards like Yelp, Glassdoor and Reddit, it can be extremely difficult to control your brand’s message.

The rise of online interactivity means companies must compete in both the physical and digital spaces – not just with other businesses in their market, but against hackers and those bent on damaging your reputation as well.

Customized content such as buying guides, white papers, blogs and corporate videos gives your company an even larger megaphone to amplify your message, values and expertise. Owning your brand and projecting it in the exact way you intend is imperative to stay above the fray and move forward on objectives you hope to achieve.

Plus, you’re able to hyper-target content you know your customers and prospects will love and distribute it to them at strategic times. Putting your content front and center means putting on your best face each morning, and customers naturally flock to brands that are actively engaging and interested in their concerns.

This concept holds up across every market as well, including niche B2B industries like durable goods manufacturing, IT, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and many more. Incorporating omnichannel analytics into your content strategy allows you to gain insights from various customer touchpoints, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of their preferences and behaviors.

Content activates customer acquisition

Great content serves many purposes, but for the time-strapped CEO or the revenue-focused president of a company, content also has to equal results.

Top-of-the-funnel assets like blogs and infographics enable your business to cast a wide net, with prospects able to interact with your brand from a noncommittal stance yet still gather important information like: What does this company sell? Why would this product benefit me?

Readers who take the next step in the buyer journey have obviously shown a certain level of interest in what your business offers, and now expect to be catered to in a new way. This is where additional content that is further down the funnel plays its role.

Product demos, newsletters and eBooks, to name a few, typically require readers to commit to interacting with your brand to a more targeted degree in the form of handing over their contact information. With these insights, you can now nurture them further and cycle them into your official sales process – these readers clearly want more from you, and this is your chance to put your expertise to the test.

Brafton CEO Richard Pattinson has seen the direct correlation between great content and winning new customers, and it all starts with creating assets that establish your pitch.

“Professionally developed content is the perfect vehicle for delivering rich, relevant information about your company and your service proposition to your clients,” Richard said. “Done well, content will always strengthen client experience. It can also go a long way to attracting new customers by showing prospects how deeply and seriously you take CX.”  

Content is mandatory for future success

The trendlines are all clear: Brands are spending more on content, they’re producing more of it and they’re expecting more from it.

Where does your company stand in the face of these facts?

What we know about satisfied customers is that they are the backbone of any successful operation, even more so than elite products or great prices. We also know that loyal customers are more likely to:

  • Purchase again, and in higher volume
  • Refer others and become brand advocates
  • Leave positive reviews online
  • Avoid competitor products

To help establish this level of commitment, you need content that positions your brand above all others. You also need content that answers questions, solves customer service issues, informs on trends and provides future insights. Better yet, distributing this content often means your company will likely rank higher in search results and reach larger audiences than you ever imagined.

“What is changing is that more and more sales and marketing executives recognize the brand power of being a customer-focused organization,”  said Bill Bradley, vice president of marketing & business development at Omega Management Group. “In other words, customers – not products and services – are the source of all revenue and profits.”

Becoming a customer-centric organization is at its core, a move that’s driven by customers themselves. In the quest to meet these demands, businesses of all stripes and in all industries must include customized content solutions into their larger CX strategies.

For more information on advanced customer experience practices, register for the SCORE Virtual Conference running May 22-26.