Andrei and I recently returned from Amsterdam, where we met with senior leaders from our sister IPREX agencies around the globe. It’s an annual sharing of ideas that we’re paying attention to as leaders in public relations and marketing.
Here are a few trends that rose to the top.
But first, what is IPREX?
IPREX is the world’s largest network of independent communications agencies. We collaborate to support regional and international client projects and draw on one another’s expertise in specific industries. With more than 1,100 staff members in over 100 markets worldwide, IPREX provides DH with incredible best practices, industry insights and bench strength to bring to clients.
Immediate Past Global President
Current chair of the IPREX Business Development Committee
Senior Account Director
Serves on the IPREX DEI Committee
Vice President of Account Services
Serves on the IPREX Best Practices Committee
1. Customer experience is king.
In the post-pandemic landscape, consumers expect more from their experience with any business or organization. That’s true whether they’re ordering food through an app, making a charitable donation, setting up a medical appointment, or interfacing with their energy provider. According to HubSpot, 93% of customers become repeat customers based primarily on their customer experience (and 86% say they’re willing to pay more for it). Tech and retail may have set the bar for CX, but it’s a bar we all have to measure up to or be seen as dinosaurs by customers.
Not every organization can afford to or needs to invest in an overhaul of its customer experience journey. But there are steps you should take every year.
- Conduct customer surveys to learn where you do well and where you could improve.
- Optimize your website for UX. Finding content should be an intuitive experience. Customers should be directed to calls to actions on each page.
- Provide feedback mechanisms via text, emails, surveys, social media prompts and after the service or transaction is done.
- Ensure your team is trained to maximize customer happiness as they engage (even in a B2B context, this training should happen annually at least).
2. Employee experience and internal communications matter a lot.
Our partners talked a lot about building employee relations programs led by intentional internal communications and engaging with employees as if they were customers, too. In an employee’s market for quality jobs, recruiting and retaining great team members depends on (among other things) showing employees they are valued – and providing them with value beyond their paychecks. That means:
- Asking for and listening to employee concerns and needs through annual surveys and reviews, while providing space for employees to talk to one another and leadership.
- Maintaining steady communication sharing employees stories from peers across the organization, creating a sense of community and buy-in.
- Operationalizing employee engagement across internal communications, HR and IT, and directly with supervisors and managers. Everyone needs to be aligned on what employee experience looks like.
3. Sponsored content packages on the rise.
The lines between owned media, earned media, partner media and paid media continue to blur, raising challenges and opportunities. Any one channel — your social media, eNews, media coverage, advertising — is only so effective by itself. A compelling campaign drives action comes from multiple sources. That’s nothing new.
What is new is how community partners or influencers continue to offer highly customized, sponsored content through their existing channels, building your brand message organically into their own content. We’re seeing more advertorial content that publications offer, a fusion between paid and earned media, along with the myriad ways influencers and community-based organizations are building brand products and services into their content if there’s an authentic alignment of values and business interest.
That has required marketing managers and agencies to get more creative about pitches to advertising reps, influencers and media partners. But the sky’s the limit in terms of the sponsored content packages being developed.
We’d love to share more ideas if you’re curious or have thoughts about investing in new sponsored content packages, or build customer- and employee-experience programs. Send me an email, or give me a call.
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If you need help working through communications strategy, media engagement or audience engagement during this time, give us a call. We’re happy to talk strategy and help.