Using Customer Analytics to Enable a Synchronized Brand Experience

Using Customer Analytics to Enable a Synchronized Brand Experience

Intelligent marketing continues to evolve and relies more than ever on understanding your customers and what they expect when interacting with your brand. Conversion rates and revenue depend on whether or not you’re able to connect with your customers and provide them with something of value.

It’s common knowledge that customers look forward to a seamless experience when they interact with your brand. Whether they’re shopping in a retail store, browsing your website, watching a video on YouTube, or engaging with a representative via Twitter, they want to experience consistency across all channels.

Consistency doesn’t mean “exactly the same” in this case, but rather, it means that a brand will maximize each channel’s strengths and use each tool in the way that their customers are wanting, while presenting information within the voice and feel that customers have come to know and expect.

In his book, The Experience Effect, Jim Joseph discusses how the overall experience of the buying process, including the marketing message, advertising, sales approach, website, and interaction with company personnel, should all come together to form a seamless experience. When this happens the customer is left with a feeling of satisfaction that ultimately builds loyalty, and Joseph calls this ideal combination the “experience effect.”

Creating a synchronized brand experience, however, is not one of the easier tasks that marketing teams have been charged with in recent years. Two major challenges – customer analytics and marketing management – stand in the way of companies being able maintain a unified presence on their website, social media platforms, email blasts, in store ads, mobile apps, etc.

In RIS News’ April 2011 High-Stakes Customer Analytics survey*, 37 qualified retailers were questioned about their companies marketing strategies including their use, both current and planned, of customer analytics. Over 75% of respondents said they either have updated customer analytics tools already in place, or have plans to begin updating their systems by 2012. However, only 38% of respondents said they have cross-channel customer intelligence. And maybe even more telling, only 36% of respondents said they have cross-channel marketing management.

How can a marketing team be expected to maintain a fluid and reliable brand experience when they don’t have a strong strategy mapped out? Imagine a group of 10 people working at the same company, some maintain social media sites, some working to keep an online store running, and still others working to build a mobile app – how do you ensure consistency among these very unique parts that operate somewhat independently of one another?

Marketing Management

This is why having clear inter-brand guidelines and expectations is so important. Every moving part that makes up your brand universe must be monitored and managed to ensure that customers are seeing, hearing, and feeling the same things, regardless of where they encounter your brand.

Again, this doesn’t mean that every channel in your system must reproduce exactly the same content. In fact, that would be a mistake, because your customers visit different spaces to find different information and experience unique content.

They visit YouTube to watch videos, log into Facebook to share information, and read product reviews on your website to make informed decisions. Your marketing plan must involve providing the engaging content within the right channel. This is where customer analytics becomes very important in creating the right brand experience for each customer.

Customer Analytics

Being able to gather and analyze data in real time is the second major key for retailers who aim to provide the most synchronized brand experience for their customers. You must have the ability to observe your customers and then analyze that data in order to create an intelligent marketing strategy. In the very recent past, companies were beholden to site, conversion, and revenue data gathered after-the-fact and customer survey responses. This week- and sometimes month-old data is helpful for understanding the past, but it certainly does nothing to seize opportunity in the moment, while shoppers are actually shopping.

If you can understand the unique segments of shoppers who interact with your brand, and target them based on the behaviors and patterns they’re displaying in real time, you will be able to increase engagement levels by offering personalized and consistent brand experiences across all channels.

With the combination of both inter-brand guidelines and the use of customer analytics, marketers are not only ensured seamless user experiences, but also brand consistency.

*Source: RIS News April 2011 “High-Stakes Customer Analytics” survey

by Aubrey Beck, Content

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