Authored by Roy Jugessur, Vice President, UK and Northern Europe at Selligent
Consumer-First, no more Channel-First
Today’s consumers have unparalleled choice and control. They are hyper-connected, hyper-mobile and hold the power when it comes to how, when and where they choose to consume content, products and services. Consumers now research, review and consume anywhere and everywhere – at lightning speed. Richard White categorised this new type of consumer as the ‘entitled consumer’, who is living in an “era where users, not brands wield unprecedented power.”
Marketers often find themselves stuck in archaic channel-first ways of working. Across the industry, departments are arranged into siloed teams working with separate datasets on separate initiatives across separate channels. This can create disjointed and unintuitive customer experiences. After all, if today’s consumers are channel-agnostic, why shouldn’t marketing be too?
Marketers must adapt the way they engage with consumers, otherwise they risk losing them to competitors and new disrupters. Customer journeys are no longer simple, linear paths. A plethora of technology and changing consumer behaviours has drastically altered the world we live and, market in. Loyalty, lifetime value and revenue lie in customer relationships which are built on experiences that are relevant, contextual, consistent and personal.
The Power of Data:
Marketers need to focus on the consumers whose expectations they can meet, bringing their empathetic understanding of those individuals to bear. Today’s entitled consumers expect relevant communications that speak directly to their needs in any given moment. To be able to cater to this, retailers need to utilise the data amassed by consumers every day.
In marketing departments worldwide, organisations are collecting consumer data from email data; transactional information; customer service enquiries…but in siloes. This data is valuable, but more so when connected. By uniting all data to form a 360-degree profile, marketers gain insight into consumers’ lives. This unified profile allows for sophisticated segmentation and an approach to marketing that focuses on individual preferences.
Clearly, the rules have changed. Traditional marketing models don’t work – higher unsubscription rates and lower levels of engagement are signs that channel-focussed marketing is no longer sufficient for engaging customers. The key to winning ‘entitled consumers’, is to understand and act on personal data; using it to build marketing initiatives that deliver winning experiences. A consumer-first approach to marketing is required. Contextual understanding of desires and preferences is key to consumer-first marketing. It offers new possibilities for merchants to meet needs by using data more intelligently. Despite the obvious benefits, marketers are resisting change.
According to research recently carried out by Selligent, which involved canvassing the views of 108 senior marketing executives, 67% of CMOs admitted to not taking advantage of contextual data and the technologies available. Our work with ASDA and Ocado are prime examples of why a contextualised approach is key , from both an engagement and loyalty perspective.
The aim is to continuously build a profile of your customer to create and offer content that is relevant and valuable – if you can’t do that, put quite simply, it’s best for marketers not to communicate. It’s better to be mindful, than to be irrelevant.