3 Tips for Mastering ‘In-the-Moment’ Offers
If today's consumer could be summed up in one word, it might be "fickle." In a world where it's completely normal for a person to simultaneously "window shop" online, read product reviews on a smartphone and crowdsource opinions from friends on Twitter, brands are realizing the power—and necessity—of individualized, in-the-moment offers to help them rise above the din and truly set them apart.
A recent survey of 600 marketers and connected consumers revealed that 91 percent of consumers believe an "in-the-moment" offer from a brand could influence their purchase." According to the Kitewheel Report, "The State of the Customer Journey 2014," while many marketers have moved beyond blanketed, generic offers to focus on contextual recommendations based on a customer's unique needs and history with the brand, many are finding they can't keep pace with the lightening speed of the customer. Today, only 32 percent of marketers have the tools in place to deliver in-the-moment offers, with most arriving to consumers far too late to make an impact.
The key to mastering "in-the-moment" is learning to better anticipate what an individual customer's next need might be—often before the consumer even conceptualizes that need. This, of course, is made possible through data. To this end, here are three guiding principles for applying data and logic-based reasoning to help transform the way your organization approaches customer engagement and experience:
1. Get Real: Technologies, such as location-based iBeacons, make it easier than ever to present real-time offers to consumers via their mobile devices. But keep in mind that proximity does not mean permission. Gone are the days of pushy, blast-style mobile messages like, "Sale today: 20 percent off all T-shirts!" when a customer walks into a store. Companies like Amazon have shown us the power of delving into customer-level knowledge and using it in tandem with real-time context to provide true value to the consumer. For example, imagine a customer who, in the past, has browsed for a $150 pair of winter boots online, but did not complete the purchase. That same consumer is now in your store, where that same item is 25 percent off, in stock, and in her size. At this precise moment and at this precise location, it begins to snow. Conditions are now perfect to present an in-the-moment (and welcomed) offer, custom-tailored to that individual. Brands must focus upon real value and act in real-time for the greatest impact
2. Dig Deep: Analytic modeling capabilities can help you better understand consumer behavior and provide the information you need to determine which individuals might be "gaming the system." For example, some consumers intentionally abandon their virtual carts in hopes of getting a better deal. Analytics can help pinpoint the people who are actually serious about making a purchase, but who may genuinely need a discount or further incentive to be persuaded to buy. The brands that get this right will dig deep into customer-level data from across their enterprise and use it for customer-specific decisions, not just generic segmentation. To accomplish this, both depth of data and depth of analytics are required.
3. Act Fast: Forget about limitations of the past. Bring organizational teams together and ask, "If the sky is the limit, what could we do to create incredible, highly personalized experiences for our customers? What would it feel like?" From there, take inventory of current, broken experiences to identify key areas of improvement and desired outcomes (customer journey mapping can help with this). Then, identify two or three quick wins with the greatest near-term impact. From there, assess technology or data gaps that need to be addressed before getting started. Then give yourself 30 days to test a subset and use the resulting data to test effectiveness, track and tune. Brands who will succeed in this new world order are the ones who act fast.
The "moment" for brands to get serious about "in the moment" offers is now. So, what are you waiting for?
Mark Smith is president of Boston-based marketing software provider Kitewheel. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.