- CMOs should look beyond customer experience and customer insights to build “entangled customer relationships,” like Amazon has built with tens of millions of its customers, where the brand is involved emotionally with customers before, during and after purchasing movements, per a report from Forrester provided to Marketing Dive and titled “Amazon Will Own Your Customer in the Future.” The report highlights what marketers can learn from Amazon.
- Marketers should also invest in artificial intelligence to identify priorities and individualize customer experiences, the report suggests. More than half of businesses have not created tangible business benefits from their AI investments.
- Creating partnerships and collaborations with groups, including Amazon, can help marketers reach targeted customers. Amazon has partnered extensively with manufacturers, retailers and service providers and marketers should, too, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Marketers should also identify their closest customers and create an interaction model that focuses on their specific brands.
Using a combination of frequency, emotion and convenience, Amazon builds "the best customer relationships possible," per Forrester, which attracts more customers as well as brands and service providers to its ecosphere. The e-commcerce giant then works to ensure the widening experience doesn't become overly complex through automated and intelligent value. Brand marketers must try to replicate this formula or they will find it increasingly difficult to succeed, the report insists.
The recommended steps for what need to do to succeed going forward will require marketers to think differently. For example, customer experience means doing things for the customer but "entanglement" means doing things with the customer. Additionally, marketers will need to overcome their fear of partnering with others in the same category if they are going to truly drive innovation in the customer experience. Forrester recommends picking an adjacent opportunity that customers would value and which would increase frequency, deepen emotion and improve convenience. Develop a prototype with a partner and then test the solution faster and at a lower cost than could be done independently.
At the same time that brand marketers can learn from Amazon, they will also increasingly need the platform for advertising and customers. That's ok, insists Forrester, as long as marketers use their deepening relationship with Amazon to learn from it. Amazon has become such an omnipresent part of shopping experiences that most customers begin product searches on Amazon before using a search engine, like Google, or visiting a brand-specific site. Amazon Prime members purchase on the site every six days, and Prime customers make up 47% of the U.S. online population, according to Forrester's research. Even 66% of non-Prime members report feeling like valued customers.
As Amazon's platform extends into new areas, marketers are increasingly being drawn into its orbit. Sixty-three percent of companies that advertise on Amazon reported plans to increase their budgets on the platform, compared to 54% for Google and 53% for Facebook. Amazon is estimated to have made $2.5 billion on advertising revenue in 2017, up from $1.6 billion in 2016, according to the Forrester report.