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Thought Leadership

A place to keep up-to-date with the latest marketing trends

Customer Experience

Gone are the days of the linear customer journey. Technological advancements and evolving trends and customer expectations mean that customers can go through multiple journeys in their buying process, and can move backwards, forwards and jump steps in the customer journey.

 

These journeys can happen anywhere online and offline; social media, websites and apps on desktop and mobile. As well as in person, at home or on the train.

 

The fluid nature of the modern customer journey makes it essential for marketers to have a solid understanding of where their prospects and customers are sitting in their journey, and a plan for what communications they are going to receive next.

 

What is a Customer Journey Map?

 

This term refers to the visualisation of a consumer’s experience with your brand and the sentiments they are expressing. It will show you how your prospects convert into customers, from the moment they initially interact with your brand through to their decision to purchase, and beyond.

 

The Customer Lifecycle

 

Property Republic developed a customer journey map, which we call the Customer Lifecycle. It flows through the following stages:   

 

Awareness

In the Awareness Phase, prospects are searching for information about your brand, services, project or products. Your brand needs to focus on building authority via high-quality content housed on your website, in a variety of formats. Consistency and velocity are key. Think about developing content that builds trust, high quality blogs that build brand awareness and referrals from customers and builders. Share this content via search engine and social media marketing plus other relevant media.

 

Interest and Intent

During the Interest and Intent Phase, prospects are considering your project or products, and comparing them with others, to see which meet their needs the best.

 

Work with your sales team to develop a best practice phone follow-up conversation. If you have more than one sales person, assign calls with prospects to the strongest team member. The purpose of the call is to make a time for the prospect to visit your sales centre or participate in a conversation where the sales consultant can gather additional information that will help the marketing team make better decisions. Entertaining and informational videos or Facebook Live streaming are helpful at this stage and are complemented by email marketing using educational content, e-books, testimonials and case studies to ‘convince’. Any email should have obvious calls to action for booking an appointment or sales call, plus links to relevant product. Support this activity with digital ad campaigns through Facebook and Instagram.

 

Decision

In the Decision Phase, prospects turn into customers – they choose your product. If the previous stages are done correctly, your content has built a great presence, you offer a solid product and service, and your team has answered every question, the prospect should buy. Here’s where other disciplines, apart from marketing and sales, are important. If your buyer has been reading about delays in construction, poor service and promises not kept, you have not played your role and delivered what you promised, which makes it very hard to get a sale over the line. During the decision phase, a product that meets the buyer’s requirements is presented (digitally and in person), they receive an in-depth presentation, all the legal information is explained and accessible and they feel confident in your brand.

 

Loyalty

Customers only enter the Loyalty Phase if their customer experience (and your product) has exceeded their expectations. Brands need to be focused on great service, delivering a great product, following up and checking on client happiness levels, and repairing any reason for dissatisfaction. You can do this by:

 

  • Follow-ups and seasonal check-ins: build relationships without being pushy

  • Sending gifts and thank you messages

  • Email marketing: nurture buyers’ loyalty by sending them your new guides, blogs and customer/team stories

  • Blogging and content

  • Retargeting ad campaigns with stories (announcements) to reinforce their purchase decision

  • Asking for referrals

 

Why You Need a Customer Journey Map

 

One of the best ways to align your consumer-centric business approach with your team efforts is to create a consumer journey map. This can help you work towards a great customer experience, increasing your revenue in the process.

 

A customer journey map will allow you to target and personalise your engagements with consumers. You can use their preferred channels and personalise messaging according to their position within their journey, their needs and expectations.

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Customer Experience, Strategy

With the oldest members of Generation Z now in their mid-20s, they’re entering the world of employment and home ownership. This opens up opportunities for property brands to capture this generation for the first time. But first, property businesses need to have a solid understanding of their habits, expectations, behaviours and motivators.

 

The Property Republic team recently read and unpacked GWI’s Generation Z report, which dives into the latest trends among this generation.

 

Unsurprisingly, some of the most noticeable trends involve social media, sustainability, video and audio streaming, and brand authenticity.

 

Here are six important considerations for property businesses wanting to capture Gen Z homebuyers.

 

1. Focus on social media

As the first generation to grow up with smart phones and social media at their fingertips, it’s no surprise that harnessing these platforms is a must for brands looking to engage Gen Z buyers. In fact, when it comes to discovering new brands and products, social media is the go-to platform.

 

“Gen Z are more likely to discover products on social than search engines. Social media has become something of a “one-stop-shop” for Gen Z; a place they can discover and buy products without ever having to leave the app. It’s a reminder for brands that haven’t already to strengthen their social media presence on Gen Z’s favourite platforms and take advantage of shopping features where they can.”

 

Key Considerations for Property Businesses

  • What can you do to enhance your social media presence?

  • How can you help Gen Z homebuyers start their purchasing journey on social media?

 

2. Communicate your eco initiatives

Gen Z are a generation of eco warriors – they care about the eco-consciousness of the brands they purchase from, and the eco-friendliness of their products. Property businesses who want capture and appeal to Gen Z purchasers need to clearly communicate their eco efforts, and do so in an authentic, honest way.

 

“Brands need to ensure they’re doing more behind the scenes too. Eco-consciousness is an absolute must-have for those trying to reach Gen Z. Most importantly, brands need to be authentic in their approach and take this matter seriously…For older generations, sustainability is a personal thing; for Gen Z, it’s political.”

 

Key Considerations for Property Businesses

  • How does your property businesses promote sustainability and eco-consciousness?

  • What eco-friendly initiatives do you have in place, and how can they be communicated?

  • What new initiatives or partnerships can you put in place to enhance your brand’s commitment to sustainability?

 

3. Position your product as a smart investment

GWI’s report indicates that Gen Z are keen savers and investors, with 68% of participants stating they have cash/savings. This creates a great opportunity to communicate the benefits of entering the property industry to a cohort that understands and appreciates the value of smart investments.

 

“With nearly 4 in 10 Gen Z now in full or part-time roles, they’re quickly making their mark on the working world. Describing themselves as ambitious (40%), adventurous, (42%) and confident (47%), it’s little wonder why being successful or financially secure sit among the top 5 values most important to them.”

 

“Since Q4 2020, the number who own any kind of savings/ investments has risen 27%, driven mostly by cash/ savings funds, stocks/shares, and cryptocurrency.”

 

Key Considerations for Property Businesses

  • Create a series of videos or seminars that discuss the financial benefits of being a homeowner. Position your product as a smart investment. Invite financial experts to offer their insights and opinions.

 

4. Advertise on audio platforms

If appealing to Gen Z audience is your big objective, it’s time to swap radio ads for podcast ads. Learn more about advertising on Spotify here.

 

“Podcasts have also struck a chord with Gen Z. In 8 markets, 39% say they listen to mostly, or exclusively podcasts. This is more or less equal to the number who say the same for music (32%), showing just how important this form of audio has become. In fact, Gen Z worldwide are now almost equally likely to discover new brands on music streaming or podcasts. To get the best results out of ads on podcasts, however, brands may want to give hosts more creative freedom – with Gen Z listeners preferring hosts to do ads in their own style.”

 

Key Considerations for Property Businesses

  • Do your research on the most popular podcasts for your Gen Z audience. Develop a strategy to connect with and advertise on these channels.

  • Ensure your audio ad message is specifically designed to appeal to Gen Z listeners.

 

5. Instagram is essential…and TikTok is next!

It’s no secret that Instagram is the platform Gen Z-ers go to when they’re looking to learn more about individuals, brands and their products. If you want to appeal to this scroll- and swipe-addicted generation, having a strong Instagram presence is essential. And if you want to stay ahead of the curve, it may be time to jump on the TikTok bandwagon – it’s not going away anytime soon!

 

“Instagram is still both Gen Z’s most used and favourite social media platform but that could change as TikTok continues to make rapid growth.”

 

“While Instagram still leads by some margin when it comes to users performing a number of actions – Gen Z are distinctly more likely to use TikTok when searching for funny content, demonstrating just how effective the short-form video format has become.”

 

Key Considerations for Property Businesses

  • If you’re not on Instagram yet, but want to attract Gen Z homebuyers, it’s time to get on board. Start by establishing your Instagram strategy and plan how it will tie in with your overall content marketing and customer experience strategies.

  • If you are on Instagram, how can you enhance your presence to stand out from the competition?

  • Consider how you can make your Instagram content more engaging and relevant for a generation that enjoys short-form video content.

  • If you’re not ready to jump on TikTok, start exploring different Instagram features that appeal to Gen Z, like Reels and IGTV.

 

6. Be authentic and relatable

If Gen Z can’t relate to your brand, product, people or content, then they’re not going to consider purchasing from you. If you’re looking to increase your appeal to Gen Z buyers, it’s time to start establishing a brand personality that’s authentic and relatable to this cohort.

 

“What’s key is authenticity…41% of Gen Z social media users, in 7 markets, most want to see content that’s relatable to their situation.”

 

Key Considerations for Property Businesses

  • Across all marketing channels, create a brand personality that is relatable for Gen Z. Get young sales team members to star in authentic videos that offer tips for entering the property industry and buying your first home, or the benefits of buying land and building.

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Customer Experience

Harnessing consumer data to deliver an incredible customer experience is a notion that the Property Republic team continually emphasises for our clients.

 

Sales teams have the potential to acquire a range of meaningful data on prospects and customers, to help elevate their interactions and stand out from the competition.

 

We recently read an article in Marketing Mag that discusses how brands can stand out in an increasingly crowded market. Here are the main findings:

 

Two out of three customers believe brands do not care about their needs

What worked in the past will not optimise the present. Customers’ expectations have never been higher, and outdated campaign tactics, broad-based segments, and scripted journeys no longer work. The average campaign, in any market, gets less than a 1 percent response rate. That means 99 out of 100 people ignore every communication sent by a business. It’s why opt-outs and unsubscribes are continuing to soar. Businesses are prioritising what they want to sell, rather than what customers actually need.

 

Key Consideration: Sales teams must find out what prospects and customers really need by asking the right questions. Marketing teams can help customers receive the information they’re looking for through effective segmentation and targeting.

 

Success comes from when every interaction builds on the last one and earns the next

To keep customers, businesses need to connect. Look at the connection and ask if it’s relevant, contextual, timely, and empathetic. To do that, they must tap into first party data. Then use this to personalise every customer journey. Take advantage of what you know about your customers, and what customers are telling you, to improve their journeys. 

 

Key Consideration: Map out your customer journey from start to finish, pinpointing each customer touchpoint along the way. What content or information needs to be provided at each interaction? How can you use your customer’s data to make each interaction exceptional?

 

Engage with empathy

To engage each customer as an individual requires businesses to get beyond traditional product-push mindsets and instead be able to pivot to things like service or retention in the moment, as customer’s needs change. To engage with empathy requires adaptability.

 

Key Consideration: Your job is not done once the contract is unconditional. Think about how you would like to be updated if you pre-ordered something precious and there was a 12-month wait. This is a great time to educate, entertain, inform and reward.

 

Businesses that have adopted real-time personalisation are seeing amazing results

There are plenty of global brands leading by example, proving that change isn’t coming. It’s already here. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is making next best action decisions 24 million times every single day across 18 channels. Sprint has reduced churn to the lowest levels in company history while increasing upgrades by 8X. Meanwhile, health insurer Achmea has unified their inbound, outbound, owned, and paid channels with one central brain to deliver an 85% save rate when using next-best-action recommendations.

Brands that can lean in and make real-time personalisation a reality will continue to reap the rewards, while the others will be left behind.

 

Key Consideration: Real-time personalisation is a way to automatically deliver tailored content to different groups of visitors to your website. If you’re using buyer personas, you probably already tailor your email content and other marketing communications to address what you know about each persona. And it makes sense to take that approach with your website, too.

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Customer Experience, Lead Nurture, Strategy

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, having an exceptional customer experience is the best way to stay ahead of the competition, not only during market downturns, but all year round.

 

With customer expectations constantly changing, evolving and increasing, property businesses must continue to place the customer experience at the heart of all strategies in order to experience consistent success.

“The only truth is that if we follow the needs of our consumers – in content creation and in research and development – we should still have a place in the market in 2021.”

Jessica Best, Vice President – Data-driven Marketing Barkley


Here are three customer experience trends and must-knows to think about in 2021:

 

1. Place your customers’ needs at the heart of your activities
One of our most favourite insights that we like to communicate to all our clients goes a little like this: If businesses continuously placed the customer (and their needs) at the centre of all strategies, it wouldn’t be so hard to make sales during market downturns.

 

This is because by having a comprehensive understanding of who your customer is, what their pain points are, what needs they have and how these needs can evolve and shift, you have the ability to create strategies and products that respond to them.

 

If 2020 was the year where brands had to adapt their services and marketing activities to respond to customer needs and behaviours in a COVID world, 2021 will be the year where businesses will need to have a clear plan in action to monitor and respond to their customers’ evolving needs and expectations in a world where anything seems possible.

 

2. Respond to new consumer behaviours, expectations and priorities
In a world where homebuyers have hundreds of options at their fingertips, property businesses need to deliver an experience (and a product!) that customers genuinely desire or risk missing out. Customers expect to receive a personalised experience that’s tailored to their needs and makes them feel listened to and valued.

 

“Customers ultimately wish to do business with companies that demonstrate care and respect for their needs: having a well-considered customer journey will help set your business apart by approaching your product and service delivery in a way that always puts the customer first.”
Anne Baker, Director – Two Crowns Marketing

 

Consumers have shorter attention spans, higher expectations and different priorities after experiencing a range of difficulties throughout 2020, and property businesses need to be ready to respond to these shifts by placing the customer and their changing needs at the core of every strategy.

 

 

3. Improve mobile and user experience
It’s no secret that the modern buyer explores a range of property websites on their phones and laptops for weeks (or months) before entering a sales office. This means that your brand’s digital experience needs to be optimised and prioritised. Make your value proposition clear, navigation easy and information readily available for those who want to learn more.

 

A great way to determine the effectiveness and identify potential downfalls of your digital experience is through mystery shopping, and the Property Republic team are experts at this. We conduct online, telephone and in-person enquiries, monitor all communication with sales representatives and visit the sales centre. We then audit any follow-up and provide a comprehensive report with recommendations. Our methodology lets you hear from our shoppers and feel the emotion soon after their shopping experience.

 

For more key insights, read our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

 

 

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