To create a great customer experience, businesses must gain insight into their customer’s minds and behaviors, efficiently translate those insights into relevant content and deliver that effectively across channels and on multiple devices.
As an imperative to accomplish all three effectively, brands need to add the dimensions of time and context. In a world where the interests and attitudes of consumers can change within the hour, marketers must factor in the timeliness of the message to keep up with them. Understanding a person’s attitude (are they ready to buy? Are their immediate needs in alignment with what is being offered?) are the elements that determine context. Add the choice of devices into the mix, as well as the influence of location, and the impact of time and context on relevancy becomes even clearer.
Insight: Understanding the Customer in Real-Time
Traditional marketing research does a great job of creating a static data set to describe their customers’ characteristics. This could prove limiting, however, in that the data being used may be out of date and not relevant to the needs, interests and attention of customers in real-time. Customers’ entire mindset can shift daily and sometimes even hourly. The only way marketers can stay relevant is to listen to their customers and utilize technology that enables the capture of real-time data.
The addition of rich data sets accessed through customer analytics and social intelligence, mixed with traditional research data, can not only be used to develop rich personas and inform segmentation strategies, but also to help brands gain insight about anonymous prospects whenever and wherever they engage. It is through this combination of traditional demographics, real-time behavior and attitudes toward the brand that produces the insights needed to add relevancy and drive results.
Marketing to known customers for whom brands have historical, transactional and behavioral data on is critically important. Many CRM systems can accomplish this with relative ease. Being able to create the same level of engagement and relevancy for someone with whom marketers don’t have a relationship is the hard part. While a difficult challenge, this is where most new customers come from and where the payoff is the greatest.
Content: Making It Relevant and Contextual
Real-time, contextual insights empower marketers to create personalized content that is relevant based on profile and persona. Through the use of industry leading content management software, such as SDL’s Tridion, marketers can match content to profile, dramatically increasing the sharing and re-use of creative assets, while producing personalized experiences that improve results and drive desired outcomes.
In a traditional campaign process, months could be spent performing market research, engaging the agency to craft compelling content and selecting the right channels. By the time that process has concluded the public’s mindset and behavior may have already shifted. For example, illustrating how tough winter can be in an ad doesn’t work if it’s unreasonably warm when the ad runs, regardless of season. Content has to be relevant if it’s going to successfully enter the contextual conversation. Another example of this was at this year’s Super Bowl Oreo overshadowed many of the blockbuster TV ad buys with a simple tweet. During the 30 minute blackout, Oreo’s marketing team tweeted a black and white photo of an Oreo Cookie with the caption “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark”. It was re-tweeted more than 10,000 times in the first hour and generated 20,000 Likes on Facebook. This basic ad demonstrated the ability to utilize the dimension of time. With only minutes to deploy, they inserted their product into the context of the actual event as it unfolded.
Delivery: Getting the content where it will be consumed
Success in any campaign is not just determined through the content, but also by actually getting the message to a particular brand’s audience. With the explosion of channels and devices, this has become exceptionally more complicated.
If content can’t be seen on mobile devices, marketers may be losing over 50% of their audience. If the message in their display ad doesn’t match the message on the website when a consumer clicks through, marketers may have lost the customer. If the context of the ad doesn’t align with what their customer is interested in, at that particular moment in time, the odds of success plummets drastically.
The solution is simple: Brands must publish timely contextual content to the right person, at the right place on the right device and via the right channel of their choosing. While the answer is simple, the execution is complex. From a technology perspective, it takes the right combination of customer analytics, campaign management and content management. From a process perspective, it takes an organizational structure that is agile and responsive. It all came together for Oreo at the Super Bowl and it can come together for any brand that is willing to commit to the importance of personalized customer experiences that are engaging, relevant and persuasive. While great customer experience management requires planning, the payoff in conversions and sales is well worth the effort.
John Kottcamp is chief strategy and marketing officer at customer experience management agency Tahzoo.