Have a moment? That’s exactly what your customers want. Customers expect companies with which they do business to be quick, timely, and helpful in the precise moment of interaction. Your ability to make that happen relies on identifying and understanding individual customers to provide well-timed, relevant value across any channel, device, or touchpoints to the consumer.
Curious to know more? I was. So I interviewed Joe Stanhope, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester. His research focuses on exploring strategies for leveraging technology to deliver relevant and engaging customer experiences.
Joe answered questions about the importance of hyper-personalization, digital transformation, and customer data to delivering what Forrester calls “moments-based marketing.” This is a new approach to marketing that recognizes the real-time nature of customer engagement.
“Marketers’ attempts to profile, segment, and model customers implies that consumers are static and can be fully defined, but they are anything but. Consumers are in constant motion, evolving their brand affinities, lifestyle choices, technology usage, and emotional responses to the world around them,” observed Joe and two colleagues in the blog, “Marketing Is All About Moments; Don’t Wait For Them, Create Them.”
Makes sense to me. Sure, there’s still a need for long-range planning, but just be responsive to change. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that change can come fast and hit hard.
The physical distance between businesses and customers necessitated by the pandemic presents a challenge to identifying and capturing those moments. Customers are hunkered down at home or severely limiting out and about time, and the latter are closed or operating under capacity restrictions. This situation is not going to change any time soon, if at all. Adaptation and creativity are critical, of course, but technology is required to pivot in the new contact-less, or less contact, economy.
High Tech, High Touch is not an Oxymoron
“To bring moments-based engagement to life, marketers will need a new approach to recognize and act on moments and new planning techniques to establish balance between moments and campaigns,” Joe wrote in a recent blog. “To pull it off, they’ll need the data and technologies that can turn signals into insights, in real-time, and to identify the moments that matter and deliver interactions precisely at the right time.”
Digital transformation is absolutely essential to making this happen. The shift to online commerce since the start of the pandemic in the US - both in B2C and B2B - has been dizzying. Merging separate brick-and-mortar and online customer data can be daunting. Omnichannel adds complexity.
Consumers expect a seamless experience regardless of how they are shopping. This requires insights and intelligent recommendations derived from data. Transaction data such as what they purchased over the last three months. Interaction data such as customer service contact and web browsing or store visits. And an understanding of relationships and households. Operational and third-party data, including credit reports and payment history, are important to your business and should also be part of the customer profile.
I read a CNBC interview last Monday with fashion designer and retail executive, Tory Burch. When asked how she thought that the COVID-19 pandemic will change retail, Burch responded, “The relationship with the customer will remain paramount. I believe in stores and the in-store experience, but the industry will certainly evolve. We are already seeing an acceleration of e-commerce; what started as two distinct channels — in-store and e-commerce — is now truly becoming one global omnichannel.”
Staying on fashion for a moment, retailers and luxury brands that invest in connected customer 360 profiles are achieving substantial returns: $2.2 million in cost, productivity and revenue improvements per year. A $560,000 lift in profitability per year can be achieved by simply improving consumer identification. This and other data and recommendations can be found in “Connected Customer 360 Profiles for Retail & Luxury Brands,” by Reltio CMO, Jakki Geiger.
Reltio counts several luxury retailers, fashion labels, and premium cosmetics brands among our customers. Tory Burch is not one, but Tory, if you’re reading this, I know some people…
Customer Intimacy is Critical
I wrote earlier this year that there is no way to fully satisfy customers unless you know who they are. And who they are goes far beyond name, address, gender, a phone number and email address. Useful customer profiles are holistic, accurate, up-to-date, and actionable. They provide historical perspective, current status, behavior, preferences, and a preview of future intent. Connected customer data from many sources is required to make this happen. I also explore options for achieving a holistic customer view, including master data management (MDM) products and customer data platforms (CDP).
Thanks for reading. Until next time, keep the customer at the center of your business and download my Q&A with a Forrester customer experience expert. This content is only available through Reltio.
Q&A with Joe Stanhope, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester
- What are the distinctions between campaign and relevant engagement marketing approaches?
- What is “moments-based marketing”?
- How can marketing professionals and others make better use of customer data across the enterprise?
- What role does data have in propelling marketing into the future?
- Why is it important to bring together and organize master data, transaction and relationship data in real-time and at-scale?
His responses - nicely formatted on one page for easy sharing with your colleagues - are available for download, compliments of Reltio, here.