We are all part of the digital marketing world, where customers expect brands to anticipate and exceed their needs in real time. For marketers, this means that customer experience is about more than just the customer transaction — it’s about providing answers to questions, resolving problems, and ensuring exceptional, and relevant, customer engagement with your brand.
Engaged customers are loyal and excited to buy more products and services. For your brand to be successful, your organization needs to embrace a model of continuous engagement, in which you proactively leverage consumer data to better understand your customers, optimize your engagement strategies and build a better and stronger customer relationship.
Businesses that focus on customer engagement are focused on value creation, not revenue extraction. The key is building an end-to-end customer experience, that includes great products, personalized interaction and, real-time customer support.This was the focus of discussion during the session,“Continuous Engagement – Designing you Strategy for the Entire Journey,” at Journey Summit 2017.
Doug Weiss, Product Growth Manager at Facebook, Yvette Hatton, Project Management Manager at Wells Fargo, and Eric Sidelman, VP Performance, Digital at Universal McCann, shared their perspectives on the changes that they have seen over the past few years and the impact that it has on their marketing and engagement strategies.
As Doug Weiss said: “The way that businesses and consumers existed, even five years ago, has changed considerably. You see different channels, different ways of interacting.” And while change is certainly something that Facebook has helped to accelerate through their social platform and advertising products, it has also been something which has impacted their marketing programs. The key, as Doug shared is, “… being able to use data in an intelligent way, where it does seem personalized.”
Understanding Behavior & Intent
In order to deliver personalized engagement and experiences, in context, marketers need to understand their customers behavior and intent.“We really wanna make sure that we have a seamless end-to-end experience on mobile or any other digital platform, with great off-ramps and choices for customers to work in any channel,” shared Yvette Hatton.
But understanding customers behavior and intent, requires having the right data. It starts by understanding who your ideal customers are. Ideal customer profiles take time and data to define and refine as businesses evolve. Just as customer behavior and intent data should influence engagement strategies, they can also help to refine ideal customer profiles.
As Eric Sidelman shared, this requires integration of both first and third party data to “… identify what that profitable consumer is … through first-party data, is kind of like the step one. Step two is bringing in other second- and third-party pieces of data to really identify who those people are and target them out there in the media world.”Working with Nationwide Insurance, Eric’s team is challenged with integrating data from multiple systems of record with new and evolving sources of new data – a challenge that many established brands face.
The next step is to integrate your customer acquisition, advertising and contact strategies. Using behavior and intent data will enable you to determine when these customers are in market and further optimize the timing, content and platform used to engage them throughout their customer journey. Doing this will helping you to retain and realize your customer’s lifetime value by optimizing their journey and enabling you to cross-sell and upsell other products and services in context.
In the end, if you don’t evolve your engagement model, you run the risk of losing customers to other brands and startups.“The insurance space has been pretty much the same for a very, very long time. And now you have all of these small start-ups coming up into the space over the last few years…”offered Eric Sidelman.“…what will (these) do moving forward to big companies like Nationwide, Progressive, GEICO, all those types of guys? How that will impact the space and how it will look differently in a few years?”
Leveraging the Right Data
For performance marketers, being able to leverage the right data, from the right sources at the right time is critical to successfully implement a continuous engagement strategy. As Yvette Hatton summarized,“there’s no point in getting a lot of upper funnel activity if you disappoint the customer farther down the line. Whether that’s year one of their 30-year relationship with an existing customer, or just during the apply cycle, we’ve gotta nail it throughout.”