We all know that personalized customer engagement at scale is essential to ensuring brands remain relevant and profitable in this digital era. But it’s a real balancing act to get right and is as obvious as a bull in a china shop if it’s not done well. One of the most off-putting things a brand can do is to make marketing offers that have absolutely no relevance.
Marketing eutopia is striking the all-critical sweet spot that adds real value and makes customers feel recognized and appreciated, while not going so far as to appear ‘big brother’. To do this, you need a deep understanding of your audience coming from a range of different data sets and the capability to extract meaning. This is what the Plexure platform offers.
But data also needs a human touch; a lens over what customers really value when it comes to personalized marketing.
We’ve compiled some top tips from our experience in working with global brands that will help you successfully execute personalized marketing campaigns at scale.
Be your customers’ personal shopper
At its heart, personalization is showing your customers that you know them. Using their data to form a well-rounded profile of each individual and communicating about things they may have told you or purchased in the past. Nowadays this level of personalization is expected; if you’re not operating in this space you run a significant risk of falling behind.
Take things to the next level and communicate with your audience about what they’re likely to be interested in. Do the legwork for them so they don’t even have to browse. Using those well-rounded customer profiles, build out a selection of products you know are aligned to their preferences, but that they may not be aware of. Here’s an example:
Katy shops at an online boutique. She generally purchases from the same 5 brands and similar styles. The boutique also stocks a huge range of other brands that Katy doesn’t look at, but which complements her style. The boutique compiles a lightbox for Katy with a range of products that are outside of her usual brands and sends her a message inviting her to take a look. The message also contains offers to incentivize Katy to make a purchase from the compilation. Katy feels thrilled because she’s just found out about all these exciting brands that suit her style perfectly and was rewarded for purchasing.
Be your customers’ product watchdog
A similar approach is to track specific events and communicate with your customers at certain points in time. Use your knowledge of customers’ purchase frequency to send reminders when the product is likely to run out. Or, if a customer was shopping and the product in their preferred size/color was out of stock, communicate when that product is back in stock. A caveat of this approach is that it can be dependent on the type of product you are selling. It does not work with one-offs or products that don’t need replacing quickly (for example a ski jacket).
The store Bryan buys his hair product from sends him an email about 2 weeks before it is due to run out, reminding him to purchase another in time. He clicks the link in the email and the product is already sitting there in the shopping cart, ready for him to complete the purchase. It was all sorted within a matter of seconds and he barely had to do a thing.
Time your communications strategically
Communicate with your audience at the time they are most likely to be in a purchasing mindset. Analyze when they typically visit your stores or shop online, look at the time of day, day of the week and associated weather patterns. Compile a view of behaviors, shopping patterns and habits to understand when the best time to communicate is and on what topic. For example:
Margaret sent her daughter a set of beautiful baby clothes when her granddaughter was born. A year later, the baby store sent Margaret a message recommending a range of toys and clothes for a 1-year-old and offering free gift wrap and shipping. It was so convenient and seamless, taking all Margaret’s stress away around finding a first birthday gift.
Know your customers at every point of interaction
Consumers want to be recognized and valued regardless of the channel they interact through. Whether they shop in-store or online, they want consistent experiences. This can be challenging to execute if there is any disparity between different systems or areas of your organization but can provide real value to the customer. For example:
Taylor recently purchased a new mountain bike in-store. At the time, he also looked at a range of mountain biking accessories but could not decide. The shop assistant who was serving Taylor noted the accessories he was considering on his customer profile. A few days later the store sends a message to Taylor offering him the accessories with an incentive to purchase online. Taylor had been thinking about the accessories and was keen to purchase, so the timing was perfect. He clicked the link and the accessories were pre-populated in his shopping cart, all ready to go. The process for Taylor was easy and fast.
Use third-party data to tailor your offers to the current situation
Third-party data is an excellent complement to your existing customer data and can bring through an element of surprise and delight. Particularly because the customer knows they have not provided this data to you. For example:
A nationwide chain of coffee shops uses a combination of location data from customers’ mobile phones and third-party weather data to push out tailored offers when customers are near one of the outlets. Customers in colder areas are offered warm drinks and food, whereby customers in warmer areas are offered refreshing drinks and snacks.
It’s all about adding value
The more extensive the customer profiles you build, the greater your ability to personalize and the greater the value the customer derives from the interaction. Data is central to this equation; it is essential to executing personalization at scale. We’ve seen first-hand the significant and lasting impact a well-executed personalized marketing campaign can have on customer retention, loyalty, and customer lifetime value.
The Plexure platform builds 360-degree views of consumers across multiple dimensions, such as purchase behavior, preferences (likes and dislikes), demographics, weather, local events and promotions, seasonal impacts, location and any other events that can help us visualize and understand them better.