Three Guaranteed Tactics To Make Your Marketing Effective (And Easy) The only thing that is difficult to change is how your customers perceive your business and how they view your brand.

By Christian Andersen

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When you start to think of your business, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Your products/services? Your prices? Your business model? Or do you think of your customers?

If you are doing this right, then the first thing that should come to your mind is your customers. After all, your business is there to cater for their needs. Products/services can be renovated, prices can be discounted or revised, and your business model keeps changing to keep up with the market and your competitors.

The only thing that is difficult to change is how your customers perceive your business and how they view your brand. Do they believe that you understand them and understand their needs? Do they think you are talking to them as individuals rather than as groups of potential buyers?

The rise of today's empowered consumers has given way to what we in IBM call as the need to become a Consumer to Business (C2B) Model. Businesses should no longer aspire to be classified as B2C and B2B. They should aspire to build a C2B model where they can shape the way their customers experience their brand based on their customers' individual needs and demands, not based on what they have to sell.

At a first instance, this might sound like an impossible mission, given the diversity of consumer groups and the speed at which their needs change in today's markets. But the truth is that there are numerous tools to help businesses understand their customers' behavior, determine what is trending now and in the future, and even propose the next best action, offer or promotion to help attract these customers and retain them.

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As a starting point to becoming a true C2B business comes your ability to automate your marketing. Using the right tools can ensure taking the guess out of your marketing and that your clients receive only relevant, personalized communications and offers.

Many Middle East entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the technologies that allow them to execute high-impact, low-cost marketing campaigns. One of the leading online property portals is using IBM's Marketing Cloud to personalize emails to their clients with properties that match up their search history and preferred criteria in terms of price and location.

Another Middle East major e-commerce site is using the same solution to trigger campaigns via mobile and email to alert consumers to any offers or discounts available on the set of products they are likely to be interested in, based on their purchasing history and other factors.

By deploying simple cloud-based solutions, you can easily execute three guaranteed tactics to make your marketing activities fruitful, with minimizing time and cost:

1. Personalize your marketing campaigns

Buyers are tired of irrelevant marketing, but most companies aren't capturing cross-channel buyer behaviors and using them to trigger personalized messaging. You can personalize your campaigns based on your client data available in your records or in social media, and make every marketing message relevant and personal.

2. Create streamlined experiences through web, mobile and social

Your customer should experience your business the same way through your communications across devices. You need to have a coherent omni-channel marketing strategy that unifies your marketing messages across SMS, mobile (push notifications on your app) as well as seamlessly connect social media into your engagements and interactions with your customers.

3. Enable real-time marketing

You can make product recommendations or other content show in your messages in real time based on client activity, purchase history or other attributes. This makes it more likely that customer will respond to your offers and promotions as they come in timely to their needs.

To sum it up, marketing is at the heart of your business as it defines your customers' experience with your brand and defines your success as a startup business, and to do it right you need to have the right tools that can help you create serendipitous moments for your clients, where every interaction counts towards better visibility, more revenue and better customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Related: Design Matters: Enabling Experiences For Your Customers

Christian Andersen

Director of Portfolio Marketing, IBM Middle East & Africa

Christian Andersen is the Director of Portfolio Marketing at IBM Middle East & Africa.

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