A customer’s initial interaction with a particular brand can shape their perceptions of it for a lifetime.
The book ‘The One to One Future’ - written by eminent authors Don Peppers and Martha Rogers - has been the inspiration for much of the research around personalised marketing, but having been written in 1997, considerable progress has been made since its release.
As time and technology have moved on, company outputs have advanced at an unprecedented rate, yet according to Brian Solis - Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group - customer experience is now more important than the product. Technology now works to reinforce the customer’s desired experience, with social media, in particular, allowing companies to interact with consumers on an individual basis.
Big Data analytics has an important role to play in this. The concept of ‘Generation C’ or ‘Gen C’ complicates the rigid demographical barriers - like race and age - which used to dominate marketing reports, but provides more detailed findings by instead concentrating on their online behaviour and how they are digitally connected. Tracking a customer’s journey is easier than ever, but defining that next communication has never been more complicated.
When planning their next step, companies should analyse specific customer journeys holistically. Each data point should be collated and then used to provide a detailed map of a customer’s entire history with an organisation. With Gartner predicting that 9 in 10 companies will compete on customer experience alone in as early as 2016, marketers will increasingly rely on data to produce targeted campaigns and personalised offers.
Unless a retailer has a real stock issue, company-wide reductions - which attempt to lure customers in to buy something which they probably wouldn’t have - are becoming less effective. Revenues increase when targeted adverts reward consumers for their continued loyalty. Although this seems like an extension of Maslow’s ‘Pavlovian Conditioning’, giving consumers a ‘treat’ every once in a while strengthens the bond between them and the company, essential when guaranteeing their future service.
Although data is rightfully seen as a key tool for organisations, it is only reliable when managed efficiently. Due to this, marketers - who want their data to be statistically valid - must using efficient data management systems.
As described by Alec Gardner: ‘The resulting insights are more likely to be statistically valid because the results are not based on the solicited input of a few people, but rather the actual behaviours and history of many people. By using these insights to develop the most targeted, personalised campaigns possible, organisations can sharpen their competitive edge and gain additional market share.’
A data driven approach to marketing is a must. Forbes contributor, Daniel Newman, states: ‘For marketers every tech trend hinges on Big Data’. Yet it’s not just identifying wider tech-tends which marketers remain reliant on Big Data for, each individual story can be told through data, and that makes it essential for customer experience. Even though marketers must go big with data, they must understand that control is essential and that effective data management is needed.