Start Moving at the Speed of the Customer
When marketing to existing customers, speed and precision are key. It’s crucial that your technologies support the skills you need to succeed
The ultimate goal of all customer marketing is to foster loyalty and increase customer lifetime value. In order to achieve this complicated feat, the marketer needs to be able to anticipate the customer’s wants and needs, and to act on them with speed and precision. Speed is of the essence, as the customer is in constant motion, and conversion will only occur if it’s instigated at the proper timing. Precision is paramount, as conversion will occur only if the customer is served with the right offer tailored to his persona, affinities and position along the customer journey.
So, the marketer’s first commandment is move at the speed of the customer. This requires the technology that enables you to move from ideation to execution at the speed of light and lets you interact with your customers across channels and in real-time. But firstly, a paradigm shift is in order. Traditionally, marketing has been executed according to the assembly line mindset: carrying out a campaign involved different company functions and days to weeks to execute. The most important question to consider is: how much time does it take to get from ideation to execution in your marketing campaigns? Your answer should be minutes or hours, not days.
In order to eliminate any unnecessary steps or stakeholders in your campaign process so you can change your marketing as your customer changes, you need the technology to support your marketing endeavors from segmentation, through creative and down to execution. Today, marketing technologies help you streamline processes through the magic of cloud computing, API connectivity, automation and data science. When evaluating marketing tools with these capabilities, think about how that tool will help align your team. The ability to execute on ideas quickly will encourage more creative ideas targeted at more customer segments, allowing you to serve interactions to an increasingly growing number of homogenic customer groups.
Context is Key: The Danger of Sacrificing Precision for Speed
But while speed is essential, it shouldn’t trump your goal for precision. In the context of customer marketing, precision is closely aligned with emotional intelligence. In a nutshell, this means that you should tailor your marketing messages to the target audience and offer each audience the most appropriate campaign in terms of offer, creative and channel. Just like a salesperson approaches each customer who enters the store in the unique manner which fits him best and guides him through the sale process according to his stated and implied likes and dislikes, so should you. Your marketing technology should be able to provide you with a clear picture of your customer’s preferences in context, allowing you to contact them with the right information at the right time.
Technologies which support this challenge need to start out with a single customer view, consolidating data dispersed across multiple systems and databases into one central hub. Once you have established your customer ‘pantry’ you can start cooking with segmentation. Customer segmentation has been in use for decades, so make sure you’re using the most advanced segmentation available: as opposed to stagnant rule-based segmentation, your technology should be parsing your customer data with dynamic cluster analysis segmentation utilizing predictive analytics. This means that your segmentation will take into consideration the lifecycle stage of the customer, RFM data, the predicted LTV, and other segmentation layers that are unique to your business model and customer database.
As you cater to smaller and smaller segments, the average uplift you can expect to gain from your total customer base grows. In smaller groups, each customer will generate more uplift on average than if he or she were approached as a part of a larger group. When a group of customers is segmented and targeted by many small campaigns, the accumulated uplift is much higher in comparison to the results of a “spray and pray” campaign.
Keeping Customers Engaged and Loyal to Your Brand is Essential
Customer loyalty has always been important, but today it has become the number one differentiator between your success or failure as a brand. Online trade has dramatically lowered the entry bar into commerce, and competition today is fiercer than ever – as are customer expectations. In fact, 79 percent of customers will take their business to a competitor within a week of a sub-par experience with that brand.
With the growing costs of customer acquisition and the myriad options savvy clients have at their fingertips, keeping customers loyal and engaged is an imperative. Indeed, not only is loyalty today far from dead, it’s more important than ever, and with the rise of customer marketing technologies, it is increasingly tied to a brand’s bottom line. According to research, increasing customer retention by just 5 percent boosts profits by 25 to 95 percent. And as balancing the revenue from new and existing customers is crucial for the health of your business, customer loyalty is not a nice-to-have anymore; it’s a necessity.