We all know that it is imperative to have a single view of your customer – who they are, what they want, and how they interact with your brand. It’s a standard industry practice that more and more brands are now adopting as part of their overarching marketing and personalised customer experience management.
But consumers can be fickle creatures, and if brands don’t communicate with them in the right way with the right information, they stand to lose the attention of the customer and, more importantly, their business.
So what’s the best way for a company to get the attention of their best customer? It could be a recommendation from a friend, a positive review or personalised experience on a shopping website, an arresting ad in a magazine or the tactile experience of shopping in a store.
In reality, it’s all of these things. Getting the best customers to engage with a brand likely requires an integrated approach that taps into all of the consumer touch points. Here are some areas that marketers should be thinking about as they tailor their consumer marketing strategies moving forwards:
What makes consumers buy from one brand when they can instantly use their mobile phone to find the lowest price and an infinite assortment of products to choose from with free shipping? It’s undoubtedly the experience –personalisation, service, convenience, exclusivity and culture. But perhaps most important of all is a brand’s attitude towards its customers.
Our data shows just how crucial brand interaction and attitude is as part of the overall consumer experience; 84% of consumers would walk away from a brand that doesn’t listen whereas 74% of consumers would respond positively to a brand that understands them. More than half (57%) said that they would actively recommend the organisation, while 45% would tell others about their positive experience and 44%t would actively sign up for additional marketing from that company. 29% of respondents agreed that they would make additional purchases from a brand that communicated with them on a highly personalised level.
Mass communications are no longer an appropriate way to engage with customers who exist at the centre of their own multi-channel network: communicating across Facebook, Twitter, email and by phone and by mail as they wish. Broadly personalised communications are equally often not enough. Brands that take the time to build an effective single customer view and deep personalisation will generate mutual benefit to both brand and customer. It should be the norm and will increasingly become so as brands work to keep up with consumer expectations.
Learning From Experience
As marketers, we are well-versed on what our brand stands for. But the reason that people come, and stay can vary widely. A good segmentation or taking that further, 1:1 personalisation as part of a cross channel campaign strategy can help marketers to determine how to deliver an ever better customer experience – and build profitable loyal customers – by understanding what motivates customers, what’s important to them, how they view themselves and what a brand brings to their lives.
At a recent industry event, US pharmacy chain Walgreen’s CEO Gregory Wasson highlighted the fact that convenience has always been a key brand experience for its customers, which is why there is a Walgreen’s within a mile of nearly every person in the US. It’s also the reason that Walgreens is a pioneer in integrating online and mobile technology into the brand experience with things like mobile prescription renewal and integrated rewards programs.
What marketers can learn from companies like Walgreen’s– is that building a brand experience that aligns customers’ needs and desires, and delivers what they value, is a key function of a well-defined and integrated cross channel programme.
Consumers no longer shop in a linear progression of awareness, consideration, purchase and service, defined and controlled by the marketer. Today’s consumer is in a constant state of discovery, driven by digital connections and characterised by immediacy, convenience and context. How easy is it, for example, to look up a disputed fact during a dinner conversation with friends?
84% of consumers would walk away from a brand that doesn’t listen whereas 74% of consumers would respond positively to a brand that understands them.
This constant state of discovery has traditionally been the purview of search marketing, social media marketing and more recently native advertising. Because media is fragmented across platforms and every person is a point of distribution, having the right content in place when a target customer needs it is a key outcome of a successful cross-channel campaign.
It’s an obvious thing to say but personalisation and relevance extends to content. An Experian Marketing Services client recently identified highly valued customers segments that have very different content needs. One segment values expert opinions and wants to see endorsements from established and trusted individuals – and likes to discover this via social media channels. The other segment wants all the facts in order to make the best-informed purchase decision – but rarely strays further than search engines to find this.
Based on this insight, the client’s strategy for engaging the first segment highlights endorsements by known experts, “meet the expert” blogs and in-person events, while the second receives rich product descriptions and technical specs – all via their preferred channels.
Using customer segmentation, predictive analytics and channel optimisation to drive content strategy helps brands to focus on what matters most to their different customer segments and engage them much more effectively.
Find out who’s right for you
Every brand has an idea of who their “best” customer should be – some have more than one, which makes finding and engaging them all the more challenging. Marketers need to pinpoint their customers, understand their motivations and behaviours to establish a cross-channel marketing programme that builds brand loyalty. As marketers, we have the data, analytics and platforms capable of developing exactly that – ensuring consumers receive the right messages at the right time, every time.