Marketing across digital and physical channels today is not easy. There are so many aspects for marketers to consider and manage - from brand building to acquisition to retention, from mobile to social to communities, and from customer satisfaction to customer experience and more. Gartner does a great job of documenting all the marketing touchpoints in this daunting transit map:
As I look at this map, I think, wouldn’t this all be easier if I knew where each customer was in their journey at any time? It sure would. I’d know who is advocating my brand on social media, who is on my website filling their shopping cart only to abandon it again, who is calling customer service with yet another complaint. Knowing who my customer is allows me to recognize their preferences, their likelihood to purchase, their emotional status today and their emotional status overall with my brand. It also allows me to know ultimately how valuable (or not) they are to my brand. Are they the customer who buys my most profitable items frequently, are generally happy with me and frequently share their positive experiences? Or are they the customer who buys a lot but always the on-sale/low-margin items, just to return half and call to complain every couple of months? Or are they the customer who shops my site but never purchases?
“Sure,” you might say. “I have some aggregate information, but I’ll never know to the detail outlined above.”
I would challenge that, if you offered a loyalty proposition to each customer, you would know who they are through self-identification. You would know how they’re interacting with your brand, how they feel about your brand, what they’re purchasing, their preferences, and more.
A loyalty initiative is the best way to adhere to GDPR and other privacy regulation, while tracking customer behavior at every touchpoint.
Your loyalty offering only needs to have a promise of value and personalized use of the information and data collected in order to get customers to join and actively participate.
The value exchange is simple:
As your customer goes through this value exchange, they’ll self-identify at every touchpoint to ensure the promised value from the brand.
All you need to do is collect the information your customer is willing to provide at every touchpoint. Loyalty technology allows you to gather this data into one place, creating a unique GoldenProfileTM for each customer.
You now know where each customer is on their transit journey.
Still have doubts? Check out Ulta Beauty. Over 90% (perhaps as much as 98%) of all transactions are made by a loyalty member, who is raising their hand at each brand touchpoint. Ulta does have a traditional loyalty program structure where customers earn points to redeem, get offers and have the ability to unlock new benefits the more they spend.
But as mentioned in a previous article, you can build a loyalty strategy that encompasses 90%+ of all your customer purchases without a committed promise of points, points liability or other structured benefits. A loyalty strategy can be a simple promise of more value. That value can come in the form of personalized offers, product recommendations, content, frictionless benefits, or even just surprise and delight experiences.
Now that you know who your customer is and where they are in their journey, other marketing tactics become more effective. When allocating costly acquisition dollars, do you want to build out lookalike modeling to attract new customers that resemble your highest value customers? What campaigns brought in your best customers, and how can you replicate them? With accurate data on your customers, you’re able to drive the second and third purchase to engage new members more quickly, allowing you to pivot from acquisition spend to investing in your customer experience. You’ll be able to easily shift from requiring 70% of new acquisition sales to 50% or less, as your more loyal customers continue to spend repeatedly.
Content becomes increasingly more relevant to deliver across the right channels that your customers interact in. Depending on how, when and where they interact with your emails or social messaging can help carve out their specific journey with your brand.
Mobile tied to loyalty means not only collecting geo-location data on how a member travels through a store, but triggered pushes can survey customers immediately about their experience to further define your customer experience. And geo-targeted messaging has shown to be highly influential for customer behavior. American Eagle Outfitters Outlet stores used location-based messaging to drive foot traffic to stores and triple sales.
Marketing isn’t the only part of your business benefiting from this. Operationally, in-store experiences can improve as sales associates can see at a glance what we know about that customer, and what they want or need to better serve them.
Marketers consistently struggle to attribute their data to justify campaign and experience ROI. This is an easy challenge to meet, through loyalty fundamentals, and one that can unlock endless opportunity at every brand touchpoint.