As marketers, we’re all too familiar with consumers today and the challenges they face. They’re extremely busy and easily distracted at work and in their personal lives. Consumers expect the brands they do business with to know exactly how and when to communicate with them on their terms. If we fail to do so, we’re unlikely to catch their attention.
At the same time we marketers are under constant pressure to acquire new customers and grow relationships with existing clients. Yet, more often than not, marketing teams are understaffed, overworked, or lack the appropriate tools to truly engage with their audience. As a result, we often resort to sending too many impersonal messages that fail to connect in a meaningful way.
All of this leads to an important question: Can brands actually market to consumers in the way they prefer?
Closing the gap
New research indicates that the answer is yes — that is, if marketers are willing to adopt new strategies.
Findings from a survey Liveclicker recently conducted with SmarterHQ, Cheetah Digital, and MailCharts shows signs that marketers are headed in the right direction. In fact, more than 50 percent of B2C digital marketers reported that “creating a more personalized customer experience” was their top-ranked priority this year.
How can you create more personalized experiences? One effective way is to activate your customer data.
Simply put, activating customer data is taking information you already have and using it to create extremely personalized communications by applying real-time decisions and intelligence gathered from shopping cart activity, website searches, email response, and other behaviors.
No one does this better than Amazon. With 45 percent of consumers choosing to shop with Amazon over competing online sites, department stores, malls, and boutiques, the behemoth is clearly doing something right. Amazon has mountains of data on its customers and uses it to its advantage to determine their preferences based on their individual actions.
For example, if I’m an Amazon customer searching for “golf shorts,” and I leave my cart without purchasing any of Amazon’s suggested items, this “non-transaction” is just as important as the next purchase I make. By activating customers’ data — purchases and non-purchases — Amazon has a full view of what makes each customer tick and can use this as an extremely effective marketing tool.
What can you do to begin to activate your customers’ data?
It’s all about connection and conversion. According to results from the survey noted above, traditional brands have two key advantages over Amazon: the in-store experience and brand loyalty. So, use them to connect with your customers differently.
How? Create a better, more personalized customer experience, driven by “activated” customer data. Remember, this is your own data, not Amazon’s, and thus, your own competitive advantage. It provides unique customer insight that cannot be accessed by Amazon or any other competitor.
Activate that customer data to unlock personalization potential, to connect, and then to convert. What data do you have about your customer base that no one else has? Does your customer like to shop online on Tuesday evenings and in-store on weekends? What makes your customer tick? All of these are great questions to inspire you to begin to create more personalized, more engaging emails and communications.
Capitalize on the in-store experience
Although the in-store experience is a key advantage for traditional brands, it’s also the channel that survey respondents prioritize the least. At first glance, it seems like a real dilemma. Take a closer look and you’ll see that it’s actually a real opportunity to differentiate and improve.
If your company is one that underestimates the impact of the in-store experience, it’s time to be more proactive about your data to capitalize on that channel. Personalizing customer experiences online and in-store needs to be a top priority. Storefront data should sync with digital channels to optimize every touchpoint in the customer journey.
Also, don’t overlook the part email can play in tying your multichannel efforts together to maximize personalization. Personalizing customer communications in real time and at scale is more important and effective than ever and email is one tool that enables this.
Gain a new advantage
By activating your customer data across channels, you’ll create a powerful one-two punch combination of personalized communications and a better in-store experience. You’ll provide customers with consistent, seamless communications and interactions with your brand that will keep them coming back for more.