[Data Driven Marketing] A Data-Driven Approach To Customer Retention

In an age where the internet has given consumers nearly limitless choices, contributor Jeff Hirsch believes that companies need to stand out by using data to create personalized customer experiences.

Ask someone why he would choose one brand or company over another, and he’ll likely say “price.” It’s certainly true that a competitive price will differentiate one choice from another. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way brands can stand out from competitors to win customers and (perhaps more importantly) their loyalty.

Earlier this year, Jake Sorofman, a research director at Gartner, stated that “hypercompetition has eroded traditional product and service advantages, making customer experience the new competitive battlefield.”

A good price will often earn a one-time purchase. But brands want loyalty — and they achieve that by developing a personalized customer experience focused on starting and maintaining customer relationships. At the center of it all is data.

Supporting Customer Acquisition And Retention With Technology

Data-driven marketing isn’t a new concept. Gartner reported that 69 percent of marketers expect nearly every decision they make to be motivated by data and analytics by 2017.

Data-driven marketing has matured substantially. Brands that embraced the concept have seen data fuel personalized engagement, delivering customers more relevant information that keeps them on board once they make a purchase.

As data-driven marketing moves forward, though, the process and use of the information must continue to evolve. A data management platform (DMP) is a logical progression.

When brands integrate a DMP, they’re able to harness and analyze their customer and third-party data more effectively and efficiently. Supporting data-driven marketing with more advanced technology simply makes the process easier and opens the door to even more capability.

Customers interact with brands through a number of channels, almost all of which are digital at this point. Customers learn from brands on their smartphones, laptops and tablets through social media, email and web content. Businesses need technology to support every device consumers use and every channel through which they engage.

Personalized marketing means enabling consumers’ experiences on their terms. Brands that synchronize marketing ambition with IT capability are in a position to understand and satisfy their customers.

Personalize & Prioritize The Customer Experience

What do customers see every time they interact with your brand? Is it something designed specifically for them, or is it something designed generally for people kind of like them?

If it’s the latter, you’re not maximizing the value of your customer data. Consumers demand personalization from brands. They want to access a website and see products and services most likely to suit their interests.

With the products they read about or research, they already tell you what those products and services are. From there, the ways they access a site point out the site formats they need to see.

Consumers don’t see a major difference in browsing the web through their smartphones or their laptops, so brands need to deliver a unified, personalized experience to site visitors on a device.

Brands need to leverage their data and technology to create new digital tools and portals for customers. By developing a consistent customer journey across digital platforms, brands keep customers engaged and demonstrate a commitment to their satisfaction.

Consumers Can Go Elsewhere In The Blink Of An Eye

There are so many options available to consumers now. When one becomes unsatisfactory, they won’t be shy about looking elsewhere. It’s not feasible for every retailer or brand to offer a lower-than-average price just to stand out.

Brands that focus on the experience and create a personalized, customer-centric approach to the buying journey foster a positive relationship with their buyers. The amount of time and money invested in collecting and analyzing data is wasted if customers are frustrated by their site experience.

Data doesn’t just make it easier to sell more stuff online. Understanding customers and markets better means companies can make better decisions with their time and money.

Data is only useful, however, when brands make the necessary adjustments to their operational structure and internal focus. IT needs to be involved. Marketing needs to be involved. And customers need to be the focus of every marketing decision.

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