Recently RedPoint attended the directXchange by NEMOA (National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America) conference. Over the three days of the conference, speakers engaged a mixed crowd of catalogers, etail marketers and the companies that support them in a broad conversation around the theme: Cracking the Customer Code. What a concept! And how timely when retailers are evolving back to a time when knowing your customer was the touchstone of a successful business.
This topic was pursued in nearly 20 sessions ranging from the telling of brand stories, to discussing how the consumer brain works in relation to product assortment, online placement, content and to the importance of getting to know your customer. In retrospect, our time was spent learning about Customer-focused Marketing – what it means and how to achieve it.
To summarize the key learnings, I’ve come up with the 7 questions that put the customer front and center in your marketing, as follows:
It’s simple, if you want to focus on your customer, you have to both identify and understand her. This means you must collect and interpret data about her and continuously apply and re-apply this insight in any channel. That’s how you enable intelligent engagement to enrich her experiences with your brand.
Customers and prospective customers want you to use what you know about them to create interesting experiences for them in the channels of their choice. That’s why they agree to provide information in the first place. They want offers that resonate and your challenge is to optimize selection and price based on their last purchases. That takes most current customer data and the capability to deliver the offers in real-time.
As successful retailers you know how product placement can impact purchase. Do you also know that the number of items and even their color affect your customers’ buying behavior? As eTailers you probably understand website and landing page design, but it’s worth noting that any number of visual and written cues can improve or reduce conversions and revenues.
The path to purchase has a number of facets. On the surface leveraging the customer knowledge you’ve obtained and delivering right engagements will speed the process with your existing customers. What about prospects who begin their engagement as unknown, i.e., site IDs or cookies? They, too, are on a path to purchase and are valuable acquisition targets. With the right marketing technology the unknown or anonymous consumer can evolve into a known profile with unlimited potential for a rich LTV.
Superior consumer experience has always been a goal in retail. It goes beyond product, price and place. Mostly it is tied to the purchase process – a seamless experience in which a customer can experience consistency in every channel across research, selection and fulfillment of their purchase. Do that right and her loyalty is nearly a given!
Retail is part right product, right price, and right place but is also the product of emotional investment. It touches on image and perception. Your customer wants her purchases to reflect who she is and make her feel good.
The customer wants to feel like she is part of the brand. One of best ways to engage her is by involving her in primary research. Some of the largest brands regularly test brand positioning or advertising, as well as using interactive surveys with customers to select or vet product. Some brands also engage the customer in UI testing on site or testing of product placement or navigation. In this process the customer is engaged and the brand benefits in revenues and profits – and a deeper understanding of the customer.
Whether naming it customer-focused or data-driven marketing, the active collection and interpretation of deep customer knowledge is both a requirement and a benefit to retailers aiming to move closer to a true omni-channel experience for their customers. This goal is achievable for the saavy retailer who chooses to craft engagements the way the customer wants them.