Every healthy relationship has one crucial element in common: trust. For brands, cultivating trust and authentic relationships with consumers is more important—and trickier—than ever.
“When marketing provides value, it doesn’t feel like marketing,” says Elizabeth Robillard, vice president of partnerships here at Lytics, in Chief Marketer’s latest Special Report, co-produced with our team.
The truth is you probably already know that. After all, who among us hasn’t felt the distinct difference between a brand that shows up to solve a problem we’ve been scratching our heads over vs. a brand that chases us around the internet with ads for things we really don’t need?
So, the question isn’t whether providing value is the best strategy. The question is how to do it.
How do we create marketing that provides value and, by extension, builds trust and drives revenue goals? It’s the core question we’ve addressed in the aforementioned Chief Marketer Special Report.
Data-Driven Marketing is the Foundation
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that data and personalization play a major role.
In fact, according to one survey, 83 percent of companies that exceeded revenue goals in 2017 were using personalization techniques. And according to Forbes, data-driven marketers are “over six times more likely to be profitable year-over-year.”
So, how do we use data and personalization to achieve those kinds of results? We believe it starts with these seven tools and strategies:
1. Take Your Cues From the Customer
These days, marketers have more data than ever before. But with a flood of data comes a new set of challenges:
How do we transform a mountain of data into profiles and insights that can inform our marketing campaigns? How do we take thousands of inputs and filter what’s meaningful? How do we provide real value when even sifting through the mountain of data seems daunting?
With data this big, the answer lies in smart tools—like CDPs—that automatically resolve identities, create profiles and filter through the data for insights not just based on demographics but on real-time behavior and content affinity.
Traditional marketing has suffered from its over-reliance on demographic data. Targeting all Millennials (and what even is a Millennial these days?) is a less efficient and less effective use of time and budget than targeting specific users who have engaged with your recipe for avocado toast. Targeting all men between 15 and 45 is less effective than targeting individual customers who’ve watched trailers for superhero movies.
Demographics, in other words, require assumptions. Behavioral data and insights based on the actual content your users engage with allow you to hone in on the right people no matter their demographics.
And it works. Just ask The Economist, who grew digital subscriptions by 300 percent with behavioral scoring and predictive modeling.
2. Focus on Removing Bad Customer Experiences
Over 50 percent of customers say bad user experiences are the top reason they lose faith in an app or service, according to a survey from the MEF.
Which is why focusing on positive experiences isn’t enough. Marketers also need to look at negative experiences—and do what they can to get rid of them.
In fact, in Forrester’s 2018 US Consumer Experience Index, the lowest ranked brands had two emotionally positive experiences for each negative interaction.
On first blush, that sounds okay, right? Two good experiences for every bad one. 66 percent of the time they’re getting it right.
But elite brands—brands that rank high for trust—have 22 emotionally positive experiences for each negative one.
It isn’t enough to just outweigh the bad with the good. If we want our brands to really build customer trust (and see the business results that come from that), we need to make sure customers aren’t being sent out-of-context articles or inappropriate communications.
3. Exceed Expectations
The beauty of good data is that it allows you to go beyond what your customer expects—to provide real value based on each person’s unique preferences.
One great example of this is Netflix. Instead of having home screens customized based on demographics or shared across user types, they use what they know about their customers to create unique home pages for each user. And not only are the suggestions tailored to each person’s tastes, but they even change the artwork used to promote each video based on what customers have responded to in the past.
4. Create Cross-Department and Cross-Channel Alignment
If customer trust relies on positive customer experiences and providing real value at every stage of the buying journey, every organizational department that touches that experience needs to be aligned—from the customer support team to product development to tech.
Why? Because internal breakdowns create external breakdowns. If a customer just opened a support ticket, they probably don’t want a coupon or offer until the problem is resolved. If a customer just made a purchase by phone, they don’t want ads for that same product following them around the web.
If one team provides an incredible customer experience but the very next touch point doesn’t, it’s easy to lose customer trust and goodwill.
5. Smash the Silos
If internal communication is vital, so is data sharing.
For most organizations, this is a huge challenge. Marketing has one set of data. Sales has another. The support team has still another. And there’s no central place to track a customer’s journey across channels and teams.
The fix here is a centralized tool and team—a CDP and a team devoted to getting the most out of it—one place where data is unified and accessible throughout the organization.
6. Choose the Right Tools
There’s a reason our data is so fragmented.
Tools forced marketers to operate in silos—one tool for email, another for website personalization, still another for sales data.
Some of those tools had built-in intelligence and decisioning capabilities, but each operated individually—and so did the people using them.
The good news is that this isn’t the case today.
A good Customer Data Platform can centralize the data, intelligence, and decision-making while still connecting seamlessly and in real-time with existing tools like email marketing systems and Facebook ads.
Instead of storing copies of your data—each becoming more and more out-of-date and out-of-touch with each other—in every tool, having one centralized data and intelligence source that feeds into our tools means less inappropriate customer interactions, more efficient use of our budgets and stronger, more accurate data.
7. Keep the Goal in Mind
Don’t forget that data alignment isn’t the end goal in and of itself. Putting that data into action is the goal, in an effort to support customer needs and business goals. It’s there to give customers the personalized experiences they crave, to create strong brand trust, and—ultimately—to drive business results.
Yamaha’s Data Transformation
One brand that’s taking its data seriously these days is Yamaha.
On a mission to become a more data-driven company, about 18 months ago, Yamaha started using Lytics CDP to integrate with its MarTech stack.
In the past, they were a channel-driven company, but now everything is omni-channel. When customers come to the website expecting messages customized to their own interests, Yamaha is dedicated to delivering them—with the help of their CDP.
“The customer data platform is essential to driving [personalized] messages,” says Athan Billias, director of strategic product planning.
The company is also using their CDP to better target website visitors, to get a richer view of each customer, to shift toward customer-centric messaging across all channels and to drive users to the best content for their specific interests based on the content they’ve already viewed or engaged with.
To learn more about what Yamaha is doing or dive deeper into our seven steps and the logic behind them, download the full whitepaper.
If you’d like to see Lytics in action and talk about how we support the strategies above, schedule a demo. We’d love to dig deeper with you.