Life’s a Journey (And so is Marketing)

Both the customer life cycle and the customer lifetime journey are composed of major milestones. But aligning those two paths isn’t always easy. Kids furniture and toy retailer The Land of Nod combines data with content to do just that–and as a result deliver relevant experiences across both journeys.

Moms comprise the majority of the brand’s customers, says Joe Orlando, director of marketing for the Land of Nod and DMA 2013 presenter. And while new customers enter the Land of Nod’s market every day, existing customers also mature out of the brand’s target audience.

As our customers’ [children] are going from the crib to the big-kid bed,” Orlando says, “we’re constantly looking at ways to get in front of them and make sure they remember that we’re there for that life change.”

Find the social signals

One way the Land of Nod identifies where its customers are in the overall life cycle is by looking at their social signals. For example, the brand uses Facebook to find changes in customers’ relationship statuses, recently uploaded pictures of their kids, and posts about a child’s birthday, Orlando notes.

“Facebook is another great experience for us to see some of those signals that other data sources don’t get in that timely of a way,” he explains. “That consumer isn’t as actively posting that information out there to other data companies.”

The Land of Nod also uses Facebook custom audiences to deliver targeted messages to its customers. The brand identifies different segments within its email list, creates subgroups based on email activity, and then uses Facebook custom audiences to message those segments accordingly. In addition, the Land of Nod integrates ads into Facebook’s newsfeed. Orlando said Facebook gives the Land of Nod another outlet with which it can connect with customers who have been unresponsive to email.

“People are getting inundated, and more people are on the go on their phones when it comes to email. It’s easy to disregard what you’re seeing,” Orlando says “But now with Facebook, people are very engaged in their newsfeed.”

Keep them with content

Once customers enter its market, The Land of Nod wants to retain them for as long as it can. To keep its customers engaged, The Land of Nod relies on content marketing. For example, the brand sends out design tips and recipes in its email marketing messages; maintains a blog; and works with mommy bloggers and design bloggers. Orlando says the contributing bloggers provide customers with a word-of-mouth referral similar to that of a trusted friend.

“These bloggers have created these communities where they’re the real style makers for their communities,” Orlando says. “A lot of people look to them for advice in terms of decorating or great ideas for things to do with their kids. Being able to participate in that conversation is really important for us.”

Be customer-centric, not campaign-centric

These social and content initiatives are part of the brand’s effort to be more customer-centric, Orlando points out. However, he explains that this wasn’t always the brand’s mentality.

“As the e-commerce space has evolved and more data has become available, we’ve really pivoted our focus back to the consumer,” he says. “For a while we were very focused on the programs that were affecting our marketing.”

Taking a customer-centric approach, compared to a channel-centric or campaign-centric approach, has helped the brand streamline its messaging, Orlando says. In addition, he says sending targeted messages designed around the customer, versus generic messages centered on the channel, has made the dialogue more seamless. And the brand isn’t just listening to how customers want to communicate. The Land of Nod is also paying attention to how often customers want to communicate. For example, Orlando notes that the brand tailors how often it emails consumers based on their interactivity.

“We don’t want to be a bother and drive that unsubscribe,” Orlando says. “If we see that somebody is not engaging in that email, we will dial back that frequency.”

The never-ending journey

Although the Land of Nod is on the right path to aligning the customer life cycle with the lifetime journey, the brand still has a long way to go. One item on Orlando’s wish list is to deliver more personalized messaging. And while the brand already combines social, Web, historical, and third-party data to deliver targeted product recommendation emails, Orlando says he’d like to dive deeper. 

“We try to listen to the data as much as possible and make sure to personalize messaging where appropriate,” Orlando says. “As we move into the fourth quarter holiday season, we definitely are trying to listen to those signals and make sure that we’re putting the appropriate message in front of consumers.”

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