Attracting new customers while retaining and growing the relationships with existing customers are two of marketers’ top priorities. Today, many of these efforts are focused on enhancing the customer experience – and for good reason. The experience consumers have with a brand drives the future of their relationship. Here are five ways brands can improve their customer acquisition and retention by using data and relevancy to shape the customer experience.
- Start With Data
Brands that can derive value from their data are better able to interact and engage with their existing and prospective customers. Data fuels 1-to-1, personalized engagement and brands must identify what data streams they’ll use, how to use them, and how to take control of customer insights. The use of a data management platform (DMP) is a logical first step, though many brands are still not using it to the fullest extent by sharing data across all organizational functions to further enrich the customer experience.
- Personalize the Customer Experience
Consumers expect truly personalized experiences from brands. Mass personalization just won’t cut it. Speaking about consumer needs at our customer summit earlier this year, AdExchanger Research’s Melissa Parrish said, “We are demanding that marketers use what they know about us to give us what we want. And if they don’t personalize, if they don’t speak directly to us and give us something that’s relevant, we’re out of there.” Marketers are listening and taking steps to better understand their customers at the individual level by gathering and using individualized insights about their customers. The faster a brand can organize its data and gain a solid grasp on how to use their data, the better equipped it’ll be to create increasingly better relevance, engagement and value for customers.
- Take a Customer-Centric Approach
Customer experience is becoming the primary competitive differentiator among companies in today’s market. Brands must put the customer at the center of everything they do, and focus on providing value to customers throughout the relationship. Customers expect a consistent experience across every touch point and every channel, meaning brands must take a holistic, data-driven approach to the customer journey. Marketers should let each unique customer journey guide their efforts and use the data available to engage each customer with what matters to them.
- Prioritize a Digital Customer Experience
This is really a continuation of the above point. Consumers are more digital and more empowered than ever before, forcing brands to change their philosophies to better engage with their digitally minded consumers and provide the experience they’re looking for. This includes not only creating new digital tools for customers, but also requires brands to digitize their customer journey and enable consumers to understand how to take advantage of new digital tools and portals. When done correctly, brands use data to lead customers along the digital journey that makes the most sense for each customer and provides the most value back to the brand.
- Align Marketing and IT Functions
Companies want to engage consumers with a consistent, personalized experience no matter which channels consumers choose to use, and they need to leverage customer data that’s coming from many disparate sources in order to do so. Marketing leaders must partner with IT leaders in order to understand and use the available data to create personalized, relevant experiences for their customers across touch points and in real time. The approach to this alignment varies across organizations: some choose to create new positions, such as the chief digital officer or marketing technologist, while others enable a strong partnership between the CMO and CIO. Brands that achieve alignment between marketing and IT functions can improve their customer experiences and gain a competitive advantage.