Forty-six percent of consumers use multiple devices to accomplish a single task according to a recent Microsoft report. And this audience assumes that companies will not only keep up from a technological perspective, but will use that technology to engage them more intelligently.
Customers expect continuity in brand experiences. They expect more finesse in the way companies approach them — not irrelevant pop-up ads or repetitive messages. The old car salesman, in-your-face approach is no longer cutting it for brands (if it ever did). The sad truth is that 52 percent of customers feel that brand messages aren’t relevant to their interests, according to Marketing Charts.
While marketers know that more personalized marketing is essential, they struggle to keep the relevant information necessary for personalization at their fingertips —with data fragmented between social media followers, loyalty club members, e-commerce shoppers, in-store customers, email subscribers, etc. With so many siloed channels and tools, how can brands be smart about when to engage and what messages to send to each customer? How can they personalize at scale?
A few steps can set brands on the path to more intelligent marketing:
1. Break Down Department Silos
Brands struggle with cross-channel performance – it's a commonly cited roadblock when it comes to creating marketing campaigns. And yet few companies do anything about it.
Customer service reps, IT and web developers, sales teams and marketing managers are all separately gathering and analyzing customer information — about purchases, site visits, product reviews, social media shares, etc. — which causes customer profiles to be fractured. Sure, knowing which ad promotion a user responded to or what brand message a customer is interacting with on social media is helpful for digital marketing teams. Even stronger though is knowing that the same user who signed up for your e-newsletter via a certain ad promotion has visited your website more than once in a week and has an abandoned shopping cart.
Powerful insights like those are the kind that brands can evaluate and utilize companywide. Sales and marketing teams need this information to determine campaign effectiveness and tailor messaging, web developers need this information to enhance site flow and shopping cart functionality and customer service representatives can use this to determine the customer’s place in the sales cycle.
Insight from customer service, IT teams, web developers, sales reps and marketing teams — together — will allow brands to view customers as individuals instead of single purchases, demographic buckets or IP addresses. By working together, companies are able to see a complete view of customer behavior to help guide their marketing tactics.
2. Simplify the Customer Experience
The average customer will spend just seconds on your site, and chances are, they'll be doing two other things at the same time. It’s up to brands to decide how to utilize this limited amount of time. Making product browsing, site login and product purchase processes easier for site visitors is essential to increasing conversion rates.
For example, asking a new visitor who clicked on one of your products from Pinterest to fill out more than two pieces of information before they can even view the product will easily turn that six-second time span into 30 — and that's 30 seconds most visitors aren’t willing to give.
A well-organized website structure that organizes products based on the items a returning user last viewed or searched, coupled with a simple, easy-to-use login process (customers are showing an increasing affinity for social login options that don’t require them to remember a new password) makes browsing more intuitive. The goal is to keep the visitor returning, browsing your site and eventually, making a purchase. Why make it complicated for them to do so?
3. Personalize Communications
In a world where competition is increasingly fierce, personalization is critical to reaching targeted audiences. In fact, 86 percent of consumers report that personalization impacts whether or not they make a purchase.
Yet companies are still missing the mark with impersonal communication, targeting audiences by using broad demographic buckets based on static segmentation processes. Customers don’t have the time or patience to deal with irrelevant emails, welcome messages and ad campaigns — yet siloed data on purchase history, lack of integration between marketing tools and poor segmentation efforts often force them to do just that.
Personalized communication begins with truly knowing who your customers are. The person who purchased a product on your site is the same one receiving an e-newsletter and interacting with your brand on social media, and needs to be treated holistically. Connecting these dots will help brands engage and interact with users on a more personal level.
For example, better, more accurate list segmentation on the back end allows companies to personally thank a returning user for their purchase and ask for feedback, or send an ad promotion for an upgrade only to customers who’ve purchased the product. These tactics create powerful results, arming companies with the tools they need to turn a site visitor into a brand loyalist.
Meet Customers Where They Are
Consumers demand more personalized, intuitive marketing. For brands to deliver, they must find smarter ways to market their products. From customer service issues and website usability, to product and email preferences, to relevant messaging and social media engagement — all of these factors must be taken into consideration. By breaking down department silos, creating seamless experiences across all brand touch points and crafting more personalized communication, then and only then can brands begin to reach consumers more intelligently.