Why Basic Targeting Strategies Limit Marketers’ Relationship With Customers
No matter the industry, changes are inevitable. For marketers, the real-time growth in digital channels has completely altered the way B-to-C organizations target and engage customers. Traditional marketing tactics offer diminishing returns in the age of consumer empowerment. Are marketers equipped to keep up as the industry begins to advance?
Yesmail Interactive recently conducted a survey of executive-level marketers to find out the state of customer engagement among consumer-facing mid-to-large organizations. The survey results revealed that despite the abundance of data available from multiple sources, marketers continue to rely upon limited internal data to drive campaigns. In order to achieve success with customer lifecycle engagement, marketers should focus on the following four areas:
1. There's big data here, use it. According to the survey, less than half of marketers incorporate data from some of the most prevalent sources of online information. Only 41 percent of marketers incorporated web browsing and online behavior data in targeting criteria. About 67 percent of respondents are relying on CRM data and over half (56 percent) are using point-of-sale data, leaving marketers struggling to create relevant messaging for customers. Marketers should realize web data is an abundant source for customer information and purchasing history.
2. Develop an effective multichannel strategy. There's a substantial difference between simply sending communications across multiple marketing channels and cultivating lasting relationships through those channels. In order for marketers to be more proactive about collecting preference information from customers, they should implement an integrated communication platform where customer information data is used to analyze customer habits.
Although email is regularly used for customer communications, only 46 percent of marketers actively leverage data from social media, direct mail and mobile to inform email marketing communications to customers. It's critical for marketers to consider a response-based multichannel strategy (only 21 percent of marketers fully understand customer channel preferences) where customer behavior is collected and delivered across multiple communication channels.
3. Implement more useable technology. Marketers are looking to new technologies to help mitigate the challenges with data quality and make data more actionable. Four out of five of these challenges are related to data integration (47 percent) or data modeling (45 percent). Simply put, current technologies are hindering customer personalization. Marketers prefer a more comprehensive offering that can better extract value from existing customer information. As social technology continues to shift consumer behavior and information, companies should leverage people in order for the brand to continue growing.
4. Actually get to know the customer. It's not a computer engaging with your brand, it's a person. Marketers should make a concentrated effort in campaign strategies to actually get to know their customers’ wants, needs and preferences. As it stands, marketers are relying heavily on response-based transactions (e.g., customer inquiries or browsing patterns). According to the survey, only about 43 percent of marketers are using event-based actions (e.g., home/car purchases, birthdays) to segment customers.
The customer/marketer relationship relies heavily on intimate knowledge of specific customer preferences. The survey revealed that 80 percent of B-to-C organizations rely on little more than basic customer profile data and transaction history, which simply won't suffice in this progressive digital age. Using technology and unlimited channels of communication will play an important role in forging a healthy, long-lasting relationship with customers. Moving forward, cross-channel marketing platforms should fully integrate with any source of customer data, both online and offline.
Michael Fisher is the president of Yesmail Interactive, an Infogroup company which powers intelligent customer interactions.