Creating an Emotional Bond
One of the most powerful techniques a marketer can use to create strong connections and build brand loyalty is personalized marketing pieces. But finding the right tools and platforms for a true personalized experience can be difficult. Simple personalization tools may be easy to find, but enhanced tools that collect and analyze data to create a 360° customer view, drive retention, and enable uniform brand experience oftentimes aren’t readily available.
And that’s the problem. Developing long lasting brand loyalty requires you to create an emotional connection with your customers, not just superficial brand awareness. Simply adding the customer’s name to your greeting line doesn’t accomplish this.
Connecting with your customers on an emotional level means you need more information than simply the customer’s name, location, and email address. You need the ability to consolidate and analyze data at a much deeper level to achieve this level of emotional connection. In other words, what you need is a 360° customer view, and you get this through the use of software that can produce a Golden Record.
Use of a true Golden Record allows you to really know your customer. By integrating data from a variety of interactions and channels, you can analyze behaviors, habits, and preferences at a level of high detail. This allows you to develop optimized profiles that can be used for personalized engagement, detailed acquisition, and segmentation strategies.
What this means is that you can take data that you’ve obtained online, in-store, on a social network, through loyalty programs, through customer service, or from any other customer contact portal and store it in a single location. You can then analyze the complete data and extract insights that allow for personalized engagement.
Creating a personal partnership with a customer is not difficult when you have the right data. By analyzing the data you have, you can determine the customers buying habits and preferences. Does your customer purchase on a regular schedule, or do the restrict purchases to sale items? Does the customer participate in and take advantage of offers through a loyalty program? How does the customer respond to emails and social media? These are the sort of questions you’ll need to answer in order to build emotional connections with your customers.
Making the Connection
So how do you use this data? It depends on the customer. For example, let’s say you’ve identified a group of customers who are regular users of your loyalty program. You can target this group with communications that thank them for using the program. But beyond that you can personalize the communication with recent purchases, what rewards are currently available to them through the loyalty program, and a reminder on ways that they can generate more points—perhaps through referring another customer, or engaging on social media.
As another example, let’s imagine a customer of an automobile dealership who purchases a new vehicle every four years and has his car serviced regularly at the dealership. The simplest thing to do is simply send the customer a regular reminder that they are due for service. But having the purchase information available, you can target the customer in other ways. You can send the yearly or bi-yearly information with updates on the types of car they like to purchase, catalogs of aftermarket gear related to that type of car, or even promotional material (newsletters, calendars, etc.) that feature their favorite type of car. When it’s time for the customer to purchase again, you can have a sales package ready and know the perfect time for a salesman to contact them.
These are just two examples. Depending on your industry, customer base, and how many touch-points you have with your customers you may have any number of options for communicating with your customers.
So how does using highly focused targeting and personalized communication create an emotional bond? By using targeted and personalized marketing such as the previous examples, you give the customer the impression that you're concerned about their interests. You've taken the time to pay attention to how they interact with your organization, and you're communicating with them in a way that emphasizes their interests. And because you've taken the time to address what the customer is concerned about, they begin to develop a positive emotion based response when they hear from you.
You're also not sending your customers information that they don't care about or that doesn't apply to them. If you bombard people with too much irrelevant information, you just become noise. Even worse, if the customer or potential customer becomes annoyed at intrusive marketing, they may decide to actively prevent communications by blocking emails and phone numbers, returning mail, or making negative comments on social media. At that point, they aren't simply annoying you--they're actively costing you money.
Tying it All Together
The theory of using personalized communications is a simple one, but the mechanics of actually implementing such a plan can be daunting. You'll need a well-planned strategic roadmap, as well as the right tools if you're going to successfully implement your plan. You'll need to know how how big your contact base is, where you're collecting your information from, and which data points are important. Beyond a simple customer record, you'll need to know whether you're tracking purchases, and where that purchase was made. In most cases you'll need to track both incoming and outgoing communication, whether by mail, phone, or email. You might need to track customer service interactions, or the use of loyalty programs or discounts. You may also want to include information from social media, or any other information you think is important such as event attendance, demographics, etc.
Once you've determined what information you're going to be tracking, you need to determine which tools you're going to use. For smaller customer bases with one or two touch points, and identity resolution solution such as MaxDup OS can often suffice. For large organizations with large customer bases and multiple sources of data, you'll need a more robust and scalable solution. For situations like these, large scale master data management (MDM) solutions such as Anchor's Customer Data Hub are the answer.
For more information about using Anchor products to develop personalized customer communication and loyalty programs email us here or fill out the form below.