Customer experience is the new battleground, with marketers at the frontline. From financial services to retail, and healthcare to travel, buyers expect more personalised experiences that make it easier and more enjoyable to interact with a brand.
The bottom line is that customers can and will easily pick up and go somewhere else if this turns out to be otherwise.
Simply providing a customer experience just doesn’t cut it anymore. Brands need to nail the craft of relevant and enjoyable brand engagements.
For example, think of energy customers looking to take advantage of better market offers. In Australia, almost half (49 percent) aren’t happy with their current energy provider. In Singapore, Forrester’s Customer Experience Index found just 39 percent of customers find experiences “emotionally positive”, while 41 percent consider brands easy to interact with.
But many marketers are losing control of these experiences as buyers increasingly direct their own journey. Whether it’s looking for reviews and recommendations, doing research through search engines, competitor comparisons, or providing input to a call centre, customer experiences are increasingly dynamic and across multiple channels, not just digital.
This is where dynamic marketing comes in – a way to move from the blunt instruments of mass digital or disconnected, channel-based experiences to relevant and real-time experiences based on unified data.
The ever-evolving customer journey
Most, if not all of us, can speak to an experience where we’ve opened our front door to an enthusiastic salesperson using their charisma to woo us in favour of their product or service.
Today, customers direct their own journeys. People do their own research (and lots of it!) and talk to friends and colleagues to learn about their real-life experiences before making a purchase decision. Much of this process happens online.
The pandemic-driven lockdowns put digital transformation into overdrive and proved to organisations that a sound digital strategy isn’t optional anymore. But even at a time when digital is the only option, companies need to still be thinking about the blending of the digital and physical experiences.
This can only be done with data. Through data, companies can optimise their marketing spend more quickly and predict opportunities with their customers. Through data, brands can apply a dynamic approach to understanding customers and ensure they are tuned in at every touchpoint.
Marketing in a dynamic environment
Dynamic marketing is not a magic bullet. Rather, it reflects the way your buyers already engage with your brand. Marketers can follow five guiding principles to get “TUNED” into their customers
TRUST. Orchestrate and honour customer data preferences and have total control over their data too. Consumers are already more than willing to tell us marketers how they want us to communicate with them if marketers know how to listen
UNIFY. Unify data in real-time to complete the customer experience. When data isn’t unified, it becomes painfully obvious. To achieve a unified data approach, you need a holistic view of customer data. This also makes your job of building customer trust easier.
NOW. Use real-time data to create customer experiences that are accurate and in the moment. This requires the entire data process – from collection, standardisation, enrichment, transformation, to activation – to happen in milliseconds. In the end, the biggest competitor you face is yourself when you drop the ball at the moment of engagement.
EVERYWHERE. Use data to ensure a relevant and consistent experience across all channels. At the same time, this needs to strike a fine balance: following consumers across social media and in their inbox can come across as creepy. Customer data insights need to be connected to all of your channels, both online and offline. From here, you can create more intelligent actions across all customer touchpoints.
DELIGHT. Anticipate and predict customer behaviour to improve customer retention and tackle customer churn. This is done through machine learning (ML) – the next logical step to improve your marketing initiatives. It may seem out of reach, but not when you look at ML-powered Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). With this, you can enable your whole tech stack with predictive insights, resulting in optimal customer experiences.
Each of these principles requires a combination of the right technology, skilled workers, and strategic approach to pull off on their own. But when you look at them as a unified strategy through the lens of Dynamic Marketing, you’ll find a vision for creating the strong customer data foundation needed to deliver a stellar customer experience.
The author, Marie-Louise Dalton is VP Marketing of APJ, Tealium.