It’s no secret that we’ve seen big changes in the way people interact with brands over the last few years, due largely to the proliferation of personal technology. This has put consumers firmly in control of what they see and when they see it.
Trying to engage with your customers and prospects today consists of a multitude of possibilities and the sheer range of options available can be intimidating to marketers looking to define their own strategies. I mean, where do you start?
The customer journey is flexible and fluid with consumers jumping across social networks, physical stores, websites and traditional media. People these days expect brands to keep up with them, tailor their offers to suit their individual needs and to treat them consistently, regardless of channel.
In order to meet the demands of the modern consumer – and to compete in a fast-paced digital world – we’ve defined the three key ingredients of effective and best practice digital marketing, Identity, Intelligence and Interactions. Once these ingredients are fully understood you can get deeper into the technicalities, taking on the further challenges associated with creating a fully rounded, effective and future-proofed campaign.
Before I go into any greater detail I have to remind readers that what follows is all about the customers. They are the heart and soul of everything we do in marketing. Whatever you, as a brand, decide to do, think, send or create, it has to be with the customer at the forefront of your mind and based on what you know about them.
Do you really know your customers?
Identity is being able to recognise your customer regardless of device or channel. This involves ensuring your data is good enough, developing cross-channel identity and device profiles and then being able to check that they are in fact who they say they are. Fraud prevention and customer identity go hand in hand.
Intelligence is learning more about your customers so that you know how to communicate with them effectively. This is what the ability to personalise customer experience relies on – a thorough understanding of individuals and customer types. Brands need to have the right data and they need to be capable of turning that data into actionable insights using strategic segmentation, precision audience creation or detailed customer personas.
Interactions is the final but most telling piece of the marketing puzzle. It’s the method and approach you use to actually communicate with people. As we know, modern customer journeys are fluid so brands need to drive intelligent interactions and engage with scale and flexibility. This requires brands to be able to integrate all their channels so that they can execute, manage and optimise seamlessly across email, web, mobile, social, display and print.
Each of the ingredients presented here come with hurdles that must be cleared before implementation. However, considering your marketing approach from the perspective of these three principles allows you to break down the requirements into more manageable chunks. But you do need to consider them all.
Regardless of current capabilities, considering how your current approach stack-up against these three ingredients will make it easier to understand where you are lacking and where you might need to invest in 2016.
Tom Blacksell is managing director of Experian Marketing Services in the UK