Right Customer. Right Message. Right Channel. Right Time. Of all the potential, new-age replacements for the four P’s of marketing, this set of “rights,” in my opinion, is the most accurate.
Consider: Every morning I walk into Starbucks and hear a welcoming phrase: “Nick, grande Americano?” Simple, yet effective. My experience is personalized.
Now, if all personalization was that easy.
Personalizing customers’ experiences, in accordance with their purchase journey, is becoming a necessity, and without a doubt, a challenge. The way we do business with our customers has drastically changed within the past 20 years. Emerging channels and new technology have had a substantial impact on the needs and behaviors of most, if not all, consumers. It’s safe to say that all of us are constantly exposed to countless messages, ads, and offers, through TV, email, Web, and mobile channels, just to name a few. As a result, customer shopping journeys have significantly expanded.
Christina Parisi, director of digital content for the American Management Association, noted six major trends changing the customer’s expectations. I strongly agree with the following three:
- Customers expect instant gratification.
- Customer want to feel empowered.
- Customers desire self-service.
What can we do?
Now, more than ever before, we as analysts and marketers need to shift our attention to learning mode. We have to gain as many insights as possible on the needs and behaviors of our customers. We need to ask relevant questions about who consumers really are, what they need, what they do, how they interact, and how profitable they are or could be.
Below are four key questions that should reveal a wealth of information about your customers.
- How profitable are each of your customers?
- What is each of your customers’ specific needs?
- What life stage and demographic groups do your customers belong to?
- Through which channels are each of your customers interacting and purchasing?
Being able to successfully answer these questions at a customer level will allow organizations to:
- Determine if a customer should be targeted with an offer
- Create the appropriate message for that offer
- Ensure that the timing of the offer is aligned to the customer’s needs
- Deliver the offer through the customer’s preferred channel
Are we ready?
Marketing organizations need to devote a significant amount of time and money to embark on this inquisitive and analytical journey. Ultimately, for customer personalization to be possible, marketers need, at a minimum, robust customer segmentation and customer lifetime value models along with CRM or CEM solution. The journey will be a demanding one. Then again, our customers’ expectations are high and will only continue to rise. There doesn’t seem to be much of a choice, except to adopt the four R’s: target the right customer, with the right message, at the right time, through the right channel.
About the author:
Nick Necsulescu is currently the senior manager of customer segmentation at TD Bank Group, responsible for interpreting data and converting insights into customer-centric solutions aligned with customer profitability & needs. He has more than 10 years of business performance measurement experience spanning both digital analytics, as well as traditional database marketing. Nick is a frequent speaker at marketing and analytics events and also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of B2C Marketing for Henry Stewart publications.