Are You Having The Right Conversation With Your Customers?

Jennifer Schulze

Mature Woman Shopping Online --- Image by © moodboard/CorbisYou use many resources to build brand awareness and guide customers through their journey to your company. When the average consumer encounters 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase decision, there’s significant time and resource costs to get them through the front door.

Ultimately, it costs businesses up to 7 times more to get a new customer than to retain the ones they have. One way of keeping customers engaged with your company and interested in your products and services is through customized content, which uses customer data to tailor their experience with your company.

Making customized content work

Think of how much data you collect throughout a customer journey. You know what they purchased, which products they looked at, what content they engage with, where they live, and countless other data points. Instead of creating marketing and sales content with a single audience in mind, use customer data to pinpoint specific needs. Separate customers into different segments and create customized content for each segment.

Sometimes using data for customization occurs on a small scale, like adding someone’s name in email marketing. In larger-scale uses, you can create product recommendations, displaying items related to recent purchases or products likely to be of interest based on the customer’s browsing history.

Use data effectively to target audiences

Simply because you’ve generated data doesn’t mean you’re using it correctly. You need to understand what data points you’re working with and how they fit into the overall customer or audience profile. Buyer personas are an important tool for dividing your audience into segments, but sometimes you miss the mark on what that audience actually wants, the proper language to use, or the problems they run into when they’re making purchasing decisions.

To avoid judging what the customer wants and needs based on single data points, look at the big picture. For example, a customer who talks to your support department and gets their problem solved may be happy with support but unhappy with other aspects of your company. Assuming this customer is a strong brand advocate, approaching them with marketing messages and content revolving around that audience segment may turn them off and drive them away entirely. Use your analytics tools to better understand where the customer is coming from and the overall impact of their experiences.

Offer value consistently

Customers want consistent service and a good customer experience when purchasing from your business or using your services. Remember, 68% of customers jump ship to a different company due to poor customer experiences, so don’t use customer data solely to upsell and market to an existing customer. Instead, use this information to offer value.

For example, if you know a customer is a parent, explain how they can use your products in fun and innovative ways with their kids, or as a way to reduce the stress that comes from managing a family. You can still reference your products and services when relevant, but you’re providing value to the customer instead of holding up a sign that says “Buy Now.”

You collect customer data through many sources, so put it to work keeping customers around. Don’t wait until your customers are ready to leave before talking to them in their language. Set yourself apart from the crowd by delivering targeted content based on customers’ preferences rather than a one-size-fits all approach. Keep the dialog engaging and relevant in the right ways, every day.

Jennifer Schulze is vice president of Cloud Partner Marketing at SAP. She leads a global team of marketing experts to ensure partner demand generation, awareness, and go-to-market success. She has more than 20 years of experience in consumer and technology marketing, with expertise in software, services, and consumer and business products.

Want more customer-focused strategies that get results? See Marketing’s Customer Experience Mandate.

About Jennifer Schulze

Jennifer Schulze is Vice President of marketing for SAP. In her role, she manages customer marketing as part of the office of the COO. She has over 15 years of technology marketing and management experience and is a small business owner in the San Francisco Bay area.