Cus­tom made

The Smart Manager - - Contents - KAL­PIT JAIN IS CEO OF NET­CORE SOLUTIONS.

Tai­lor-made con­tent is the an­swer to cus­tomer en­gage­ment, says Kal­pit Jain, Net­core Solutions.

…three in four con­sumers said they re­ceive too many emails from brands, and one-fifth said they could not han­dle the cur­rent vol­ume…69 per cent have ‘un­fol­lowed’ brands on so­cial me­dia, closed their ac­counts or can­celled sub­scrip­tions.* In these times, when the mar­ket is flooded with prod­ucts and ser­vices, the most ef­f­i­cent way to en­gage cus­tomers is to of­fer them cus­tom­ized con­tent. To achieve this, brands need to fo­cus on ob­serv­ing the nu­ances of in­di­vid­ual pref­er­ences.

Mar­ket­ing has come a long way since the time brands first toyed with the idea of reach­ing out to their cus­tomers and prospects. Ini­tially, cat­a­logs and other pro­mo­tional ma­te­ri­als were sent, usu­ally by post, to the com­pany’s en­tire data­base—hop­ing that a few in­ter­ested peo­ple would respond. But later, keep­ing pace with the times, mar­keters be­gan us­ing dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. How­ever, un­for­tu­nately, they con­tin­ued to fol­low the same old style of mar­ket­ing —mass mar­ket­ing, where the same mes­sage was blasted

out to an en­tire data­base, ir­re­spec­tive of in­di­vid­ual tastes, pat­terns, or buy­ing pref­er­ences. Fur­ther, email made it pos­si­ble for them to send mass mails at low-to-zero cost. This ap­proach may have been ex­cus­able in a pretech­nol­ogy era when it was im­pos­si­ble to gather data about each cus­tomer. But in the dig­i­tal age, it is un­ac­cept­able and detri­men­tal to growth—pri­mar­ily be­cause cus­tomers to­day are more de­mand­ing and do not share the same sense of brand loy­alty as pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions.

stream­lin­ing data to cus­tom­ize

To­day, con­sumers leave dig­i­tal foot­prints across ev­ery touch­point—ev­ery click, ev­ery browse, ev­ery search. And con­se­quently, mar­keters have ac­cess to an enor­mous amount of data on their cus­tomers’ or prospects’ dig­i­tal body lan­guage. This can be con­sol­i­dated to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive, uni­fied view of each per­son. When they re­ally know their cus­tomers, they can send mes­sages that are specif­i­cally rel­e­vant to them, on the chan­nel and at the time they pre­fer. In to­day’s world, where cus­tomers are in­un­dated with mar­ket­ing mes­sages, it is hard to get them to respond even to mes­sages that are rel­e­vant. So ir­rel­e­vant mes­sages do not stand a chance and are des­tined for the spam folder.

More­over, email ser­vice providers such as Gmail pe­nal­izes brands that send out ir­rel­e­vant mes­sages. Google does not want the qual­ity of the emails in their cus­tomers’ in­box to suf­fer, and so down­grades the rep­u­ta­tion of the sender brands that adopt the ‘spray and pray’ ap­proach. Mar­keters have now wiz­ened up to the neg­a­tive im­pli­ca­tions for their brand. They re­al­ize that per­son­al­ized mes­sag­ing is the only way to en­gage with cus­tomers in a mean­ing­ful way and drive busi­ness re­sults.

Cus­tomers to­day have to be wooed with the right con­tent sent at the right time on the de­vice and chan­nel they pre­fer. But to en­able this de­gree of per­son­al­iza­tion at scale, one needs to turn to tech­nol­ogy. This is where mar­ket­ing au­to­ma­tion comes in.

need for mar­ket­ing au­to­ma­tion

Mar­ket­ing au­to­ma­tion of­fers a sin­gle view of the cus­tomer based on their re­ac­tions across chan­nels such as email, SMS, push and browser no­ti­fi­ca­tions. Brands can cre­ate an omni-chan­nel mar­ket­ing road map and track en­gage­ment which can then be used to un­der­stand where cus­tomers are in the fun­nel, and which pre­cise mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tive will gen­er­ate the most im­pact and in­crease the like­li­hood of reach­ing the next con­ver­sion goal. It then al­lows one to act on this in­for­ma­tion on a real-time ba­sis, and of­fer cus­tomers one-to-one, per­son­al­ized, and rel­e­vant in­ter­ac­tions with the brand.

Mar­ket­ing au­to­ma­tion also helps get closer to cus­tomers and craft the kind of en­gage­ment that not only ac­quires cus­tomers but also re­tains them. Cus­tomer re­ten­tion which has been over­shad­owed by ac­qui­si­tion mar­ket­ing is epochal for sus­tain­ing growth. Ac­cord­ing to Bain and Co., a 5% in­crease in cus­tomer re­ten­tion can in­crease a com­pany’s prof­itabil­ity by as much as 75%. In ad­di­tion, a Gart­ner Group study says that 80% of your com­pany’s fu­ture rev­enue will come from just 20% of your ex­ist­ing cus­tomers. Thus, per­son­al­iza­tion is an im­por­tant tool to not only en­hance cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence but also con­trib­ute to a com­pany’s rev­enue.

it is all about per­son­al­iza­tion

One-to-one per­son­al­iza­tion has evolved dra­mat­i­cally. To­day, if a con­sumer is en­gaged on a dig­i­tal plat­form and has made a pur­chase on­line, a pop-up no­ti­fi­ca­tion can be cre­ated, to en­sure he or she stays on the page ac­tively and fur­ther en­gages with the brand. The pop-up can have a per­son­al­ized mes­sage from the brand on other pre­ferred pur­chases based on the con­sumer’s iden­ti­fied area of in­ter­est. Per­son­al­iza­tion can be used in in­no­va­tive

Mar­ket­ing au­to­ma­tion also helps get closer to cus­tomers and craft the kind of en­gage­ment that not only ac­quires cus­tomers but also re­tains them.

ways through mar­ket­ing au­to­ma­tion. A travel re­view site cre­ated a per­son­al­ized cam­paign for their pre­mium users that fea­tured the cus­tomers’ own re­views and pho­tos. An e-Wal­let player sent out an end-of-year cam­paign to their cus­tomers with a de­tailed breakup of how much they had saved through cash­backs, how much they had trans­acted in dif­fer­ent sec­tors, the value of their recharges and re­fills etc. A lead­ing life in­surer used the propen­sity model to en­sure that their users only saw of­fers of prod­ucts based on pre­vi­ously bought poli­cies. There are many such ex­am­ples of how per­son­al­iza­tion has been used to cre­ate deeper cus­tomer en­gage­ments.

In ad­di­tion to the ap­pli­ca­tion of per­son­al­iza­tion in var­ied sec­tors, it also finds ap­pli­ca­bil­ity in dif­fer­ent stages of the cus­tomer jour­ney. For in­stance, on­board­ing cus­tomers with email no­ti­fi­ca­tions is a now stan­dard com­mu­ni­ca­tion. How­ever, would not it be great to know not just the im­pact of that wel­come email, but also if the in­di­vid­ual cus­tomers en­gaged with it?

What would be even bet­ter is if you could gather the data of those who en­gaged with the brand and cre­ate a per­son­al­ized fol­low-up no­ti­fi­ca­tion on their ac­tion post the en­gage­ment. All of this is pos­si­ble when track­ing in­di­vid­ual cus­tomer be­hav­ior across mul­ti­ple chan­nels.

The rise of the ‘always con­nected’ cus­tomer has opened up am­ple av­enues for busi­nesses to deep-dive into in­di­vid­ual buy­ing be­hav­ior and con­nect ac­cord­ingly. Real­time, con­tex­tu­ally rel­e­vant, and per­son­al­ized mar­ket­ing are no longer an op­tion—it is more of an ex­pec­ta­tion.

Be­ing able to scale tar­geted mar­ket­ing ef­forts poses a challenge, con­sid­er­ing the amount of con­tent that is re­quired. An­other challenge is the abil­ity of the brand to merge all the dif­fer­ent con­tact points to of­fer con­sis­tent qual­ity of ex­pe­ri­ence. Mar­ket­ing au­to­ma­tion of­fers a so­lu­tion for this and brands that have adopted this tech­nol­ogy to suc­cess­fully per­son­al­ize their com­mu­ni­ca­tion have wit­nessed a higher ROI and lead con­ver­sions rang­ing from 30-100%. Con­tent con­sump­tion is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­plex and com­pet­i­tive. There­fore, it has be­come im­per­a­tive for mar­keters to view all cus­tomer data on a sin­gle, uni­fied view to de­cide how, where, when, and what con­tent is to be sent to them.

Ac­cord­ing to a PWC re­port sur­vey, in­vest­ment in con­tent mar­ket­ing is on the rise, with 87% of the re­spon­dents plan­ning to in­crease spending over the next fis­cal year. Hence, it is im­per­a­tive for brands to map the con­tent mar­ket­ing jour­ney and align it to cre­ate rel­e­vant and in­te­grated ex­pe­ri­ence for cus­tomers. Make your con­ver­sa­tions more in­tu­itive and per­son­al­ized.

In the fu­ture, ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics, ma­chine learn­ing, rec­om­men­da­tions, and Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) will all play an im­por­tant role in help­ing mar­keters fur­ther re­fine their com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies. ■

Real-time, con­tex­tu­ally rel­e­vant, and per­son­al­ized mar­ket­ing are no longer an op­tion— it is more of an ex­pec­ta­tion.

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