About the author: Tamara Gruzbarg is Head of Industry Insights at ActionIQ. Prior to joining ActionIQ, Tamara served as SVP of Data, Analytics, and Consumer Insight at Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.) and VP of CRM and Analytics at Stuart Weitzman (acquired by Coach Inc.).
Every day, consumers are bombarded with totally irrelevant marketing messages—even from brands they love. Customers are practically begging brands to cut it out. Not surprisingly, the number of people using ad-blocking software has doubled in the last four years, reaching just over 3 in 10 users in 2018, according to an eMarketer survey.
Customers want brands to guide them quickly to products and offers that are truly relevant, instead of overwhelming them with meaningless messages.
And they are right to expect that. After all, customers are constantly telling brands what they want, and what they don’t; what motivates them, and what turns them off– from the purchases they make and the channels they shop in, to the ads, offers, and emails, they ignore.
Now, it’s up to brands to find a way to hear everything their customers are saying, and use this knowledge to respond in radically relevant ways to every individual customer. Here are three things you can be sure all your customers are trying to tell you:
1) Stop overwhelming my brain’s inbox!
Have you ever shopped for a hotel online, and then canceled the trip before ever making a booking—only to be haunted for months with deals on accommodations in a town you never really wanted to visit in the first place? Soon, they are overwhelming you with every single product and service in their portfolio—including those you have never shown interest in at all.
Maybe you had good experiences with this brand in the past, but now you are so numb to their messages that you automatically skip over the fantastic travel offer to a city you’ve long wanted to visit.
Know the feeling? Here’s what your own customers are saying:
- If you don’t stop: You will lose my trust in any offer you make, even the good ones. All things being equal, I may choose another service in the future, because you have gradually turned me off of yours.
- What I really want is: Fewer messages, and only ones with real potential value to me—even if I don’t act on them every single time. Observe what appeals to me and build on that. Then, I will really pay attention when you reach out.
2) Stop acting like you don’t know me!
Have you ever browsed for clothing online, then bought it in-store—only to receive an onslaught of ads and emails touting the item you literally just purchased?
A brand’s marketing organization may be divided into channel-specific teams, each operating with siloed data and a separate P&L sheet. But what do you care? From your perspective, you’ve spoken with great clarity, but no one is listening. In fact, they seem not to recognize you at all—even though you are a loyal customer.
Sound familiar? Here’s what your own customers are asking:
- If you don’t stop: I am going to feel alienated by your brand. I am going to question, or simply ignore, any messages you send in the future—no matter how much you try to say the offer is “exclusively” for me. It’s obviously not.
- What I really want is: Recognition of my value as a customer, regardless of how you are reaching out to me. I like what you offer, but you aren’t going to win my next purchase by forgetting that we already have a relationship.
3) Stop coming at me from every angle!
Let’s say you clicked on an offer from your bank to refinance your mortgage. Suddenly, everywhere you turn, you are being harried to follow up “before this offer, designed especially for you, ends”—via SMS, email, phone, and even in your social media feed.
The original refinance offer was interesting. You would have been happy to come into a branch at a fixed time and speak with a banker—as you do when considering retirement options. But you hate all of these robocalls and would never click an ad on social, lest you be bombarded by yet more irrelevant messages. Suddenly, your potential interest turns to annoyance, and when you finally get an invite to a meeting with a banker, you are tired of the whole subject and move on.
Been there? Here’s what your customers are demanding:
- If you don’t stop: I will continue to ignore you. Even when you do reach out in the way that I prefer, I am going to be less willing to respond, because you have already shown you don’t “get” me.
- What I really want is: For you to notice how, over the history of our relationship, I have preferred to communicate through certain channels—and respect that. If you do, I will have more confidence in our relationship, and am much more likely to pay close attention to the offers you make.
In short, customers want you to speak to them in highly-relevant ways—and leave them in peace until you can do so. No more batch-and-blast campaigns. A Customer Data Platform can help you draw on every bit of relevant data your customers provide—and empower your marketing team to act on that information in intelligent ways— from channel preferences, to timely, highly-relevant, AI-driven, offers.