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.