We have spent far too many years as businesses in Asia viewing our customers through a stark, numbers-driven, purely data filter – what I call a ‘channel-centric’ approach.
When it comes to marketing, sales, segmentation and promotional decisions – we often treat our data as if it is our actual customer.
We analyze insights into email open rates, calls-to-action, subscriber numbers, website visitors, bounce rates, orders and conversions. We use this data as if it actually represents our unique customers – and we make poor business decisions as a result.
In effect – we end up tailoring our businesses, making crucial decisions and speaking to ‘website users’, ‘email recipients’, ‘orders’ and ‘subscribers’ to try and get results. We speak to bounce rates – but not to people.
Data is not a person. Metrics do not represent unique people. Improving analytics does not always improve the customer experience.
If there is one thing businesses across Asia need to get right for 2019 – it’s shifting from a channel-centric approach to a customer-centred approach.
Your customers are unique – with personalized behaviors, wants, needs, touchpoints and experiences. Businesses greatly lose out if they are simply speaking to pools of data, and not to the customer individually.
Placing the customer at the center of a business’s core activities drives the emphasis away from company decisions based on siloed channels of data (like email providers, website analytics and shopfronts) and onto customer needs, behaviors, wants and actions.
Take email marketing as an easy example. Our strategies shouldn’t be based only on data from our email provider showcasing our need to improve open rates. Our first question should be about what our customers need and will respond to – not what logistic, technical changes will improve our data reports.
As businesses, we should move away from channels dictating our decisions. Instead of scheduling our email marketing campaigns around our own new products, need to shift stock, holidays, events or shock sales to quickly drive revenue – we should examine the activities of our customers.
What products or services are most appealing to the customer? When is it most convenient for our users to shop or engage in a promotion? What price point will benefit my customers the most (not just improve my business bottom line and make the numbers look good)?
Businesses across Asia have a significant opportunity to improve their user experience and boost their reputation in 2019 – by simply valuing and getting to know their customers.
Taking the time to engage with your customers – to ask questions, to genuinely care about their needs and experience, to research how they interact with your brand, business, platforms and services – will reap greater rewards than simply trying to improve data and metrics.
Data is crucial in understanding your customer. Data is key. We must gather it, understand it and use it to better our businesses. But we must move from channel-centric approaches to customer-centric approaches – placing the customer, their uniqueness, their journey and their experience at the center of everything we do. Because we exist for them.
In 2019, our priorities should be to personalize our businesses. Your customer is a unique person with unique cares, needs, motivations and behaviors – your customer is not a bounce rate.
When we get that right – everything we do in our companies can take on a new meaning, and serve our communities far better.
Jana Marle-Zizkova is CEO & co-founder of She Loves Data & Meiro.