Recently I had the pleasure of representing OneLogin at one of the well-known and highly-respected Forrester events in New York City. The Forrester Consumer Marketing 2019 Forum promised to help marketers look beyond the buzz and examine real, applicable lessons for their businesses. Professionals who attended were told they’d walk away with the knowledge of how to understand, harness, and grow brand energy in a dynamic and challenging market. Plus, how to manage the complex, pitfall-ridden intersection of consumer preferences, personalization, and privacy.
Did the conference deliver on its promise? Definitely. Here are some things I took away and how OneLogin’s customer marketing compares.
The New Age of the Consumer Mindset
We started the day with a powerful presentation by Forrester Senior Analyst Anjali Lai who redefined what the new age of customers means to businesses. The new customer is well-informed and has probably already researched your company, your competitors, checked out your reviews and has the price of your product in mind. This phenomenon has also introduced consumer experimentation. A recent Forrester study conducted by Anjali tells us that consumers are changing to a novelty-seeking mindset: in a 2019 study, 56% of participants say, “I’m willing to try new brands” in comparison to only 39% in 2009.
How is OneLogin solving for novelty-seeking customers and consumer experimentation?
Based on customer feedback from our very own OneLogin customers and input and Forrester research, the Customer Marketing team is partnering with key stakeholders to implement the following events and initiatives for 2019 in order to best serve our customers’ needs for novelty and experimentation. We will be investing more resources and budget for in-person customer events that will give our users the ability to experiment with our product in real time with OneLogin Product Managers:
- Lunch & Learns (cities across the US)
- Giving customers the opportunity to learn about new OneLogin features and work with our product team in a sandbox setting.
- Connect Conference (San Francisco & London)
- Come join security thought leaders and like-minded peers to stay on the cutting edge of cybersecurity and access management.
- Quarterly Customer Newsletter
- Quarterly product updates (email)
- Customer support team expansion
- Online Customer Community for OneLogin users
As consumers try more new products, they also begin to redefine what quality means to them. Whereas in the past, quality was attributed to a product’s features and functions, now quality has taken on a new definition where it is attributed to the experience and connection a customer feels towards and with the product.
The keynote speaker for the first day of the Forrester event was Tina Sharky, CEO and founder of Brandless. She told us the story of her company and how the company was built on customer feedback from day one. She started her company as a movement, a change in a different direction away from democratization and towards making a difference in society. Her research showed us that 75% of Americans are more likely to buy from brands that contribute positively to society. So she set out to create a brand that does that with every single purchase while also keeping prices low to customers by cutting out the middleman. Her best advice to marketers and all business professionals? Regardless of what industry you are in or what position you are in, remember that people are just people and they yearn to be heard. So listen to them.
“It can be easy to overlook the importance of onboarding [customers], especially when most companies allocate such a small budget to it,” Jim Nale, Principal Analyst at Forrester. Nale presented on the critical importance of onboarding and he even went as far as to say that onboarding is more important than acquisition. Nale argued that getting customers over the “hump” of onboarding retains them at a significantly higher rate. The more a customer understands your product, the more likely you are to retain that customer. Jerry Hum, CEO/Founder at Touch of Modern & Jesse Horwitz, CEO/Founder at Hubble Vision joined Jim Nale on stage to support this hypothesis and relate the model to their own business experiences.
How does OneLogin customer onboarding measure up?
It’s no secret in the software industry that customers who are properly onboarded will understand the product better and, therefore, remain a customer for significantly longer than a customer who is not properly onboarded. OneLogin takes customer onboarding very seriously - so seriously that we have an entire Professional Services team who specializes in on-boarding and implementation for new customers. They have perfected the process throughout the years and have metrics to measure the success of each implementation. “Onboarding is one of our top priorities here at OneLogin and our strategy is to overinvest and over communicate in on-boarding because the first impression our customers have of us is critically important for our business and for our customers,” Dennis Reno, VP of Customer Success at OneLogin.
How do we change with the new consumer in mind?
Based on a 2019 Forrester study, 89% of US adults are participating in at least one loyalty program. People are continually being pulled in every direction by every company to buy their loyalty. Forrester analysts all advised that a loyalty program should be more than just one program - it should be a multi-pronged strategy that takes the customer on a value-based journey and gives him/her personalized options of engagement.
One of the key panels of the day included Sarah Angelmar, Sr. Director of Marketing at Tiffany & Co., and Allison Khurana, Head of Marketing, North America, at New Balance. Their discussion focused on the importance of delivering an element of human touch in all marketing efforts, and allowing for technology to compliment that overarching strategy. Another important factor when delivering value to customers and working towards earning their loyalty, remember that something that resonates with one group of customers may not resonate at all with another group of customers. That is why segmentation and persona profiling are such important marketing tactics - divide your customer base into different segments based on important criteria such as demographic, motivators, title, and location. Then use that information to personalize targeting and messaging, giving your customer a more personalized experience.
Ericka McCoy, CMO at Resonate did her presentation on the “3 Steps to Thrive in a Changing Market” and focused on actionable insights in order to follow her advice. McCoy’s 3 steps are below:
- Always remember that your customers are first and foremost humans. They have values and motivations that impact their decisions.
- Align with customer values because values are the foundation of decision-making and emotions.
- Create unbreakable connections across the customer lifecycle.
McCoy finished the presentation with a final thought about how “connected” people are nowadays, from being glued to their phones to running from one social event to another. But do more interactions per day equate to a deeper level of connectivity with people?
This conference was a great reminder of the importance of knowing and listening to your customer before marketing to them. Customers are people and want to be treated as such; they are not just a number and they are not all the same person, therefore, let’s make sure we market to them in a way that makes them feel well taken care of and special. It was also a validation to what we’re doing here at OneLogin and that we’re moving in the right direction; one of our values here at OneLogin is “customer-focused” and we make sure that any decision that is made within our company is with the customer in mind.