Marketing is constantly changing, and marketers need to stay ahead of the curve if they want to retain existing customers and attract new ones. With an ever-moving target and escalating expectations from consumers, marketers who want to really break through must take new approaches and put data to use in new ways to create the kinds of customer experiences that offer greater value to both the customer and the brand.
According to McKinsey, the retail industry experienced the equivalent of 10 years of growth in digital penetration over a period of months early in the pandemic. That surge, however, has left many marketers behind the curve, especially in how they are using data. Cordial looked at the state of customer engagement in our latest study and identified opportunities for marketers to improve their approach to cross-channel marketing with a more data-driven approach.
In short, consumers want highly personalized offers and communication across all of the channels they use to shop and discover — from email to SMS to messages on mobile apps. Yet, they are frustrated with the generic messages they receive. Here’s where the importance of data comes in: Consumers who receive personalized messages are nearly twice as likely to make purchases based on a message. With the right technology and approach, you can take advantage of the vital information your customers already share with you and deliver a better, more personalized customer experience that bolsters loyalty and increases average order value (AOV).
Consider these three ways to advance your marketing by putting data at the heart of your customer engagement strategy.
Introduce more 1:1 triggers
Today’s marketers know how critical email, SMS, and increasingly, mobile app engagement are to developing customer relationships. Still, it’s not enough to simply send one-size-fits-most, general messages. Using triggered messages as part of your cross-channel marketing ensures a personalized message gets your customer’s attention at just the right moment. Marketers who expand their use of triggers see, on average, a 43% increase in AOV.
If you want to incorporate triggered messages, start with those that improve the shopping experience or add value to customers.
- Cart abandonment and reengagement
- Back-in-stock alerts
- Price-drop notifications on products they like
- Loyalty rewards and opportunities.
Ultimately, customers want greater relevance and timely information. Adding more triggered messages to your marketing mix delivers more for consumers and drives greater engagement and loyalty for your business.
Level up with more advanced data models
Engaging customers with triggered messages is only the first step. Many companies are still using outdated data models that cannot address engagement opportunities with the granularity and speed they demand.
Marketers who use more data attributes and advanced data models, on the other hand, drive outsized results. An advanced data approach, for instance, could include back-in-stock alerts driven by integration with your real-time supply-chain data, brand affinity recommendations, and loyalty and lifetime value segmentation. We’ve seen anywhere from a 30-80% increase in revenue per message (RPM) when marketers use more layered approaches of this kind. Why? Because you’re reaching out to customers at a key moment with information that’s relevant to their interests and helps them make buying decisions. The alternative, a “batch and blast” strategy, pays no attention to the unique qualities of a customer — or the data they’ve willingly shared with you.
By incorporating all the business and customer data you can access, you can also build predictive models that reflect customers’ unique interactions with your brand.
In a single loyalty email, Eddie Bauer pulled together 11 data sources, including online and offline data, loyalty provider data, loyalty and customer IDs, loyalty reward amounts, expiration dates, nearby store addresses and even maps of those store locations. The result was unique 1:1 messages for each customer, driving higher RPM by using data they already had at their fingertips.
But what if you have great data and can’t use it? A challenge for many in implementing data-driven, hyper-personalized customer experiences isn’t whether you have the data. It’s whether you can access it and use it to your advantage.
Streamline platforms, connecting data to activation
If you want to use data to power more personalized interactions with your customers, you need technology that stores and surfaces the customer and business data you need and that ties directly to your ability to engage customers. Disconnected and disjointed customer data and marketing platforms don’t let marketers engage in the advanced ways customers expect. If data is not part of a marketers’ customer engagement platform, they are left with limited options to communicate with customers and unable to use the kinds of triggers and advanced data models needed to drive revenue and engagement.
And the struggle with marketing technology is real. A recent Cordial study found that 81% of marketers cite obstacles preventing them from sending more personalized email, SMS, and text messages. One of the reasons why? Overly complex tech stacks. A fifth of marketers require four or more different platforms to send messages to customers. Disconnected systems result in poor data management, inefficient teams, and an inability to build great 1:1 marketing campaigns. Conversely, ensuring that your data is tightly connected to marketing activation is the best way to use truly real-time insights on customer needs to provide a timely, tailored message. Your marketing team shouldn’t need data expertise to take advantage of your data, but they should have the ability to easily unlock everything they know about the customer and put that to use in campaigns.
Shifting your approach to customer engagement
Marketers know data is vital to driving customer relationships. But it’s how they capture that data and use it to offer the customer a better experience that sets them apart from those still using playbooks and technology from five or ten years ago. Incorporating more 1:1 triggers into the marketing mix, using advanced data models, and better connecting data to marketing activation will let you take bold approaches to 1:1 personalization that foster connection, build revenue, and improve customer lifetime value. The data you need is there. Put it to better use.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeremy Swift, CEO of Cordial
Jeremy Swift is founder and CEO of Cordial. Cordial is a cross-channel messaging platform that is changing the way marketing & technology teams engage their customers. Before founding Cordial in 2014, Jeremy was a founding member of BlueHornet, a first-gen email marketing SaaS company that he sold to Digital River in 2004. He has spoken at leading industry events including DMA, eTail, Shop.org, OMMA and Mediapost.
Jeremy attended Point Loma Nazarene University and lives in San Diego, CA with his wife and four children. He’s an avid Husband, Dad, Entrepreneur, Runner, and Advocate of Mental Health. His other career ambitions involve supporting anti-human trafficking organizations & creating sustainable work in Africa through the use of technology, as well as helping other entrepreneurs successfully navigate the mental health journey of building a company.