How to Target Consumers at Moments of Influence Across the Purchase Journey
Today, the relationship customers build with a company is far from linear. They research and connect with your business many times, across different devices and touchpoints. Marketers must manage and automate engagement with consumers uniquely at every touch point, based on each individual’s behavior.
Each phase of the customer life cycle is unique and presents different challenges and choices. Winning new customers can take time as you build an affinity with them and engaging with lapsing customer before they leave can be difficult to predict. Delivering relevant content at the right time to create unique customer journeys is been a challenge for many marketers, especially as consumers move outside the purchasing funnel—changing the way they research and buy your products. If your marketing hasn’t changed in response, it should.
Here is a look at key strategies to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions.
Know Your Customers Better Than Ever
To target consumers with targeted offers and messaging at the right time and through the right channel, you have to know them better than ever. However, according to Experian’s 2016 Digital Marketing Report, an astounding 81% of marketers report having challenges achieving a single customer view. The top reasons cited include:
- 54% – Do not have the technology to integrate customer data in real time
- 49% – Inability to integrate multiple data sources and technologies
- 48% – Limited access to data from across the organization
Brands who have implemented strategies to successfully meet consumers’ expectations understand that fundamental to this success is data – the RIGHT data, integrated in real-time. Internal 1st party data sets must be enhanced with additional 3rd party demographics. However, basic characteristics such as age, income level, and occupation must be augmented with richer insights into needs, wants, and attitudes. Marketers still have a long way to go to get to this level of insights. Experian’s report revealed that knowing a customer’s needs, wants and attitudes ranked as one of the top three challenges for companies.
Deliver Relevant and Contextual Messages to Enhance the Customer Experience
Integrating the customer experience is increasingly growing in importance as companies of all sizes try to keep up in a competitive economy. By 2017, 95% of enterprise-level marketing teams will be responsible for ensuring their organization’s data is aligned and actionable and that they have the technology in place to effectively execute a seamless customer experience across channels.
Consumers are interacting with your brand across multiple channels – email, social, customer service departments, websites, and so forth, so you must also interact across multiple channels. The key word here is “interact” – rather than having a one-way conversation (you speaking to your customer), consumers seek a deeper level of engagement and great experiences (and they won’t settle for less.) Brands must implement strategies to personalize interactions and create real-time two-way communications to ensure consumers continue moving along the journey.
To react and engage with consumers this quickly and with relevant messaging however can prove challenging. 33% of marketers cite delivering relevant and contextual content as one of their top challenges to delivering great customer experiences. Marketers can overcome these challenges by implementing a technology platform to perform data integration, advanced analytics and real-time campaign deployment within a single platform. Rather than having separate solutions for data management, channel execution, analytics, and so on, a single platform can perform all these functions to help marketers get to the right insights faster to deliver automated and contextual messaging at the right time.
33% of marketers cite delivering relevant content as a top challenge to great customer experiences.
Automate the Customer Journey
Marketers need an adaptable and integrated way to automate the customer journey, one that’s personal and that can automatically be replicated thousands of times over. A study by Autopilot found that companies who stay in touch with customers every two to four weeks generate twice the leads of companies who touch base less frequently. By automating the customer journey with personalized content and messaging, you can ensure you automatically respond to behavior every time without missing a beat.
For example, using workflow designers, marketers can easily build customer journeys that contain a range of decision points for evaluation and execution of a next best action. With these all-in-one solutions, analytic tools can be used to create customer segments in the journey. Messages can be delivered automatically through email, mobile, phone, direct mail, social and targeted ads. Just as importantly, as marketing shifts from a real-time mode of thought to that of the RIGHT time, customer journey technologies can build in “pauses” to allow customers to evaluate your offers or just listen until an action is completed.
Marketers are certainly aware of the profound change in the way consumers research and buy products. Marketing strategies must also evolve to keep up and reach customers at the moments that most influence their purchases. In order to move beyond traditional funnel-based approaches, marketers must invest in technologies and platforms that allow the most relevant interactions with consumers at any given time. The epicenter of this type of consumer-driven marketing is data. With the right data, marketers can derive the right insights to automate the customer journey and encourage consumers to keep moving forward.