You already know what works: technology that can target and customise ads, content and offers with unparalleled precision. And creative that grabs the attention of busy consumers by meeting them precisely when they’re ready to watch/read/listen.
It’s not the what of customer engagement that’s changing. It’s the how. Engaging with and converting today’s customer means changing the way we traditionally reach audiences and asking how we best provide services that are useful and relevant. For those of us steeped in years of marketing certainty, we’re entering a brave new world where the solutions that once worked are now only part of a canvas that’s suddenly much broader, whilst at the same time being far more detailed.
At the heart of all that’s new lies the key to developing creative solutions that are engaging, relevant, measurable and scalable: intelligence. Consumer Intelligence is the how.
Making Customer Engagement happen
Capabilities that were once distinct and separate processes must now work in collaboration. Results that were once obtained independently via the social, web, creative or data teams are now best achieved together, with cross-channel campaigns driving marketing departments to work cross-discipline.
- Consumer Data is used for more than broad, generalist understanding. It feeds our ability to target ever more narrowly defined segments, helping us get ever closer to that ‘segment of one’, ultra-personal approach. It enables us to target and then retarget. And it feeds the propensity models that enable us to predict the outcomes of campaign activity.
- If it is to build real relationships, creative needs to engage in a personal, interesting, relatable way. That means less room for blanket messaging from standard templates, and more need to match content to reader.
- Technology sits behind rewarding user experiences, being agile and responsive at an individual level, always on, making millions of engagements at a time. Yet it is also about enabling and empowering CRM and marketing managers to remain in control – of the process, the budget and the time-scales.
To unlock the true potential of this, data and creative need to be in sync and part of the same conversation from the get-go. They need to be communicating with each other much earlier in the game so that each element of the campaign is built with data fuelling the creative, not bolted on as an afterthought.
What’s holding you back?
There are lots of different barriers that often stop organisations from being able to harness the power of their consumer data and turn this into something relevant and engaging creatively. At a very top-level, we often come across three different types of issues:
1. Cultural barriers:
For data-driven marketing to become a reality, different business units and departments must be able to collaborate and share data – it needs to be a business-wide strategy, not just a marketing function.
2. Data barriers:
One of the biggest challenges is bringing together the many disparate sources of marketing and customer data – for example bridging the gap between online and offline data.
3. Resource barriers:
Data on its own isn’t valuable. The real value comes from the actionable insights gleaned from the data. Even when all the data is in one place and the organisation has brought into a data driven strategy – we often find that few have the necessary resources, processes or sheer willpower to wade through it all.
Finding insight and value in data is an iterative process. The quick wins are there (and range from immediate uplifts in commercials to improved customer visibility), but the real power of data is to inform successive campaigns and build long term relationships. For success, businesses need to ensure they are investing in people (training, skills and development), planning (strategy, comms and brand), and have the processes in place to implement marketing programmes that drive customer engagement.
Insight can tell us who customers are, what they like, when they like it and how they like it. But it is only when insight, technology and creativity are fully aligned that true personalisation – and true consumer intelligence – can occur.
1. Without data, marketers will second-guess their customers, feeling forever exposed by that lack of certainty.
2. Without creativity, brands will become commodities in the product experience.
3. Without technology, brands won’t be able to keep up with their customers, and marketers won’t be able to take full advantage of the insight they hold.
Consumer Intelligence opens a new world of opportunities for brands and the people responsible for marketing them. Those best able to match their data with the creative that drives deeper customer engagement will reap the benefits.