Erik Severinghaus

Vice President, Personalization, Strategy, & Architecture

Building Trust Through Customer-Led Experiences

Marketers today are aware that providing a customer with a relevant brand experience increases his or her likelihood to convert. According to Forrester’s Blueprint for Strategy in the Age of the Customer, enhancing customer experience is one of the highest priorities for business leaders, coming in right after growing revenue. As someone who speaks with senior-level marketers on a regular basis about building trust with customers, I’m aware of shared priorities as well as pain points. There are challenges to arriving at a level of personalization that tells consumers, “I’ve taken your interests, likes, and dislikes into account and I have used that data to offer content that matters to you.” Below I share details about how to lead with your customer data to deliver remarkable experiences with superior results and build trust with your customers.

The Challenge with Customer Expectations

While aiming to allocate a budget most effectively and increase relevancy for customers, many organizations often silo business units and channels. For instance, they may have one team for email and a separate team for display advertising. The separation inhibits different channels from effectively communicating with one another (both within an office setting and technologically) and locks the data that any given customer hands to the company into just one part of the business. Not only is this inefficient, but it also sets you up to lose customers’ trust with a disjointed experience. They’ve entrusted you with their personal information and have an expectation that they will receive more relevant content from your brand in return. It’s become clear that customer data should drive a marketing strategy after hearing confusion about building trust with customers.

A Typical Channel-Minded Conversation

Mark, a marketer at a popular retail company, might ask for the best strategy to meet his goal of driving 15,000 customer downloads of the company catalog. He has email addresses for roughly 100,000 people who signed up for the company newsletter but decided not to complete a transaction. He also has email addresses from another 1,000 customers who have given feedback about the brand.

Mark might ask, “Should I invest in an email program to market these individuals?”

A quick answer to this is, yes. Email is a good channel given this profile, but more importantly, Mark should classify customer data as an asset for the marketing organization. Using customer data as an asset to understanding the journey allows development of deeper customer insights. Email is a great channel for communication, but if a customer hasn’t clicked on an email newsletter, why not try reaching them through a display ad with products related to what he or she clicked on within the website?

There are two major challenges and two harmful risks when you don’t lead with the customer: first, thinking about your business problems in a channel-centric way and second, not using customer assets across business units. With those problems, you risk either losing the customers’ trust due to poor experience or having a low return on investment (ROI) due to inefficient budget allocation.

Getting Away From A Channel-First Mindset

When you base your business plan entirely around channels and your business needs, you neglect the purpose and driving force behind your business: the customers. Customers are, after all, the reason you use customer data technology. They are humans, not CRM entries or “cart abandoners.” It’s essential to lead with customers and leverage technology as a tool that will help drive the appropriate channel communication, instead of the other way around. This will allow effective communication with customers as human beings and enable them to develop a sense of trust in your brand. The following solutions offer a foundation for doing so in an efficient way.

Solution 1: Create audience groups to drive communication.

It’s important to understand the current level of trust, brand awareness, and placement at each point in a customer journey because not all members of your audience are created equally. Each segment has a different level of trust and brand awareness with your brand. With each interaction, a customer offers this feedback.

For example, your current customers have not only shown interest in your brand but have demonstrated trust in your brand. They have provided robust data you can use to reach them effectively and build the core messaging for other audiences. Next, you have the engaged prospects who have shown interest in your brand but haven’t provided transactional data. You can retarget them with the data they’ve given to gain even more knowledge on them, with the ultimate goal of gaining their trust and shifting them into the current customer’s box. Then, there are prospects. These are the customers who you don’t have data about in your CRM, but you do have data from their interactions and behavior on your site. Finally, the most challenging customers to reach are those within your entire customer universe. You don’t have data on them, but you’re able to use data from other customers to segment and target them.

Leveraging Basic Data Systems

A marketer’s responsibility is to create a positive experience for each segment. When you recognize a customer’s place in their journey with you and offer an appropriate next step, you’re building trust by using the personal information they give you to create the most seamless customer experience.

Solution 2: Leverage data systems that span across multiple channels

Identifying and implementing the three main systems of customer data management is another foundational step toward building a customer-led strategy that enhances trust with your customer. The first of the three main systems is your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which is ideal for reaching current customers. The next is Tag Management System (TMS), which is great for reaching your current customers and engaged prospects. Finally, a Data Management Platform (DMP) is ideal for properly managing the data of your current customers, engaged prospects, and general prospect groups. These three data systems are starting points for your customer relationship management. When you incorporate audience groups into data systems, you then start to develop a customer-led digital marketing strategy that humanizes your customers.

When you start to wonder which channel is best through which to reach customers, you have the most successful starting points: lead with your customers and leverage your data systems. Keeping the customer central to your business goals and building off basic data systems will build trust with your customers and enhance their experience while driving superior results.

For more information and to learn more about building trust through customer-led experiences, reach out to Rise.

 

 

08/31/2016 at 05:04

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