2014 is over. The year saw major shifts in digital marketing, increasingly towards focusing on the customer. Much was written about the single customer view (not least by ourselves, in conjunction with Econsultancy
) and personalisation took centre stage in many a digital strategy, often boasting dramatic increases in conversion rates.
2015 is now upon us and we have already waxed lyrical about likely trends in a previous blog
. The Single Customer View will doubtless remain a goal and personalisation its chief application. But what if we combine the two and ask the question: do your customers even want you to develop a single view of them?
We know from research that personalisation is generally favourable, particularly to the younger generation. No one wants to be made to feel like a number and no one wants to interact with a faceless corporation. But no matter which industry you are operating in, we believe there are three things every customer is saying to your brand, right now and in everything they do:
Don’t spy on me, but if I have bought something from you in the past, or if I have offered up information about myself or my interests, use it. Some audiences are more sensitive than others about the depths to which you can leverage this, but every customer will prefer some form of targeted message on some level.
Take, for instance, an elderly lady who comes into a bakery at the same time every week. The opportunities for getting to know her, enhancing that customer experience, are endless. By contrast, if she were greeted every time by a blank look and an interaction based purely on the transaction, I defy her not to feel aggrieved and, metaphorically, short changed. No matter how small and no matter which format, every single customer is asking you to know them on some level, right now.
“Speak my language”
A friend of mine frequently receives invitations from a popular optician company about free eye tests for the over 65s. She is 26. Clerical error or lazy marketing? Either way, she won’t be looking upon that brand with any favour.
Make sure it is relevant, but also delivered in the appropriate way, through the appropriate channel. If I have never shopped online, don’t treat me like an online shopper. By all means tell me all about how online is great, maybe even tempt me with an introductory offer. After all, you wouldn’t send an intro message to an experienced online shopper.
“Value my time” “Time is money”. “Time waits for no one”. Whichever of these tiresome phrases you choose to coin will still show the importance and value people – customers – place on time. No one is waiting for your email, and many will read it on the move or alongside the other 20 in their inbox. Of course email marketing is both an art and a science when it comes to optimising the design, message, send time and landing page, but if the content is not relevant to the individual, all else is lost.
If you are going to tap someone on the shoulder while they are listening to music through headphones, if you are going to ask a question in the middle of a presentation, if you are going to walk into the board room when you know the meeting is important… make sure it is worth their while.
Single Customer View could certainly help to satisfy these criteria, but it may not be the only way. Your audience may not favour a heavily personalised experience, or you may be constrained by how much information you can use, depending on security. But we believe there will be a happy medium, and we cannot envisage a situation where knowing your customers, speaking their language and valuing their time would not enhance their experience with your brand.
This post was written by Martin Wallace