Thinking about implementing a new marketing solution to better engage your customers? When implemented properly, digital marketing solutions can help you target and engage your customers. However, just like a brand-new car, your solution isn’t meant to be kept in the garage; it is meant to be driven.
When choosing the right customer engagement tech for your needs, it’s important to evaluate the capabilities you’re planning to take out on the road. For the biggest impact, here are four key questions that you should ask yourself when selecting marketing tech for your company.
What will help you know your customers?
While focusing on ways to engage their customers, marketers don’t always spend sufficient time and effort thinking about how to identify who those customers are. Knowing your audience is key.
If you can’t identify who you’re talking to, you can’t effectively personalize to build truly valuable relationships.
The right marketing tech will help you identify and understand your audience through tools such as a data management platform (DMP), a customer data platform (CDP), and omnichannel loyalty management. These solutions will help you implement customer programs that drive deeper customer insights so you can tailor future interactions.
For example, athletic footwear company ASICS has found success through its Foot ID program, which invites customers to visit any of its stores for a personal running form assessment to determine the shoes that best fit their needs. Each customer receives a unique Foot ID, and every time they visit a store or the ASICS website and identify themselves with their ID, they’ll be served shoes that are most relevant and best suited for them.
ASICS is able to collect data about which shoes customers buy, how much they spend, how frequently they buy, and where they shop (geographically and by channel). The company can then determine when a customer’s shoes are probably wearing out and can send a personalized promotion: “The shoes you bought in January are probably ready to be retired! Here’s 5% off your replacement pair!”
Identifying customers enables brands to capture rich data so they can better engage customers with relevant content at the right time.
What will let you act in real time?
As consumers, when we’re in the market to buy something, we expect to find the answers to our questions almost instantly. Brands that are late in identifying and responding to these opportunities will miss out. In most cases, this means responding in minutes and seconds, not hours or days—the closer to real-time, the better.
What does that mean from a tech perspective? Your solution must be able to process large amounts of data very quickly, and analyze it so you can identify the right opportunities and react to situations on the spot.
The NHL recently worked to consolidate all its fan data from various channels—the website, merchandise shops, ticket vendors, even data from the Yahoo fantasy leagues—to help the organization build a comprehensive, consolidated view of its fans so they can predict and react to fans’ desires. For example, if your favorite team is playing and you don’t have tickets yet, the NFL can send you an email with stats and predictions for the game and offer you the chance to purchase last-minute tickets. Or suppose your favorite player (whom they know from your profile) scores the winning goal. As you’re leaving the stadium, they could send you an SMS message with a special offer: “Congratulations on the win! Stop by the team store for 10% your player’s jersey!”
Being able to identify not only the right content, but the right moment to engage with customers while they’re most open to engagement is the holy grail in personalized marketing.
What will help you deliver a seamless customer experience?
We know that the customer engagement doesn’t happen on just one or two channels. Customers’ journeys may span multiple channels: Google searches, your company’s website, in-store browsing, and mobile engagement. Omnichannel experiences are the new norm, but different channels are still often run by different departments, which can make the overall experience feel disjointed.
The customer experience is only as good as your weakest integrated channel. No matter what part of the company you customer interacts with, it is imperative that they receive the same information, service, and experience—even when they jump between channels and, departments, or even different sub-brands.
Luxottica owns several major eyewear brands, including LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Ray-Ban, and Pearle Vision. Its integrated customer engagement platform lets the company orchestrate customer engagement across multiple channels and across all brands and departments. So, for example, if you go to Pearle Vision for an eye exam but don’t find frames you like, you can check out the selection at Sunglass Hut or any other retail store in the Luxottica family. Each store will have access to your prescription, preferences, and past purchases from the same system, making your experience easy and seamless.
Who will help you run the program?
We’ve touched on three items you should consider when choosing your marketing tech, each of which should serve as the backbone of your marketing strategy. But technology is just a tool. The final consideration is about the people.
To successfully launch a new marketing tech project, and to integrate different departments for a more transparent and consistent experience, you must have buy-in from company leadership and department managers. Since different departments often have different business objectives and are measured by different (sometimes competing) KPIs, each group needs to understand and align on how any new initiative will positively impact their work.
You need the right people to be able to properly use the technology—people who have technological aptitude to understand how the solution works, and the business understanding to recognize underlying objectives.
For example, machine learning is a tool that can automatically predict customer behaviors to drive product and service recommendations and other personalization opportunities. To seize this trending opportunity and leverage it properly, marketers need at least a basic understanding of predictive model scoring and how machine learning works. Machine learning is a potentially powerful tool, but its success depends on the people who drive it.
Plot your path to address changing customer needs
As you seek out new marketing technology to help your company meet changing customer needs, be sure to consider each of these questions: What will help you know your customers? What will let you act in real time? What will help you deliver a seamless customer experience? Who will help you run the program?
ASICS, the NHL, and Luxottica are just three companies that have implemented successful programs with SAP Hybris Marketing Cloud, and all three are seeing the benefits of putting in due diligence and setting things up properly.
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