Customer loyalty and shopper data are not always one in the same in the world of loyalty marketing. Capturing and deciphering that data can be challenging, but when executed correctly, can deliver significant results.

Loyalty360 caught up with Dafna Gabel, head of U.S. Analytics for emnos; and Patti Marshman-Goldblatt, director of new business development for emnos, to find out more about this intriguing and potentially powerful topic.

Data holds the key to so many pieces of the customer loyalty puzzle. Can you talk about how customer loyalty and shopper data can spark customer engagement and personalization?

Marshman-Goldblatt: Customers engage when they think or feel their needs will be met or solved. It can be as ‘simple’ as making a product more affordable, providing recipes that can help plan the week better, or offering a technology that will make their life simpler. What is common to these efforts is that they must be relevant and that means personalized. Customer and/or shopper data are not always the same. Knowing what a customer has purchased, or how he/she may have engaged in the past are powerful predictors of choices they may make in the future.

At emnos, we believe that customers do and can change their behaviors and that data, in the right combinations and with today’s technology and predictive analytics can unlock many secrets. In addition, customers are making decisions quicker than ever, so to drive engagement and sales, we must be able to leverage the data as close as possible to that critical action moment. Putting the two data sets together in a personalized manner, are key ingredients to engagement and conversion.

Many brands talk about having too much data and it’s a challenge to digest it all, refine it, and leverage it to its fullest impact as it relates to customer loyalty. What would you say to these brands challenged by this?

Marshman-Goldblatt: Indeed, data overload can be a challenge, but one with dividends when successfully addressed. There is no question that not solving this challenge could have adverse effects on one’s ability to drive customer loyalty and ultimately profitable growth. The industry has evolved to where spreadsheets and many hands touching data are no longer necessary. These have been replaced with computing power, data mining, and visualization tools to name a few, often with a hefty investment.

So, what to do? At emnos, our approach is to: Identify what we absolutely must know, how frequently, and what decisions we want to affect.  We solve this challenge through a suite of tools and intelligent dashboards. The latter, in particular, helps us put our fingers on the pulse more quickly, and weed out information and data that are not important to the particular decisions we must make. Other times, there is no way around it; machines cannot solve it all, and surrounding oneself with those who are skilled at uncovering insights is the gem you may be seeking.     

Personalization is another huge buzzword in the loyalty industry. What are brands doing well with personalization and where do the challenges lie?

Marshman-Goldblatt: Personalization is a buzzword because consumers and shoppers demand it, even if they do not use the same term. What do brands do well with personalization? The plethora of approaches is wide, but not universal; some are more advanced, others are just starting. The first key decision is whether to personalize through one channel like email or to leverage omni.

At emnos, we believe omnichannel is most effective when enabled not only by technology, but also coupled with rich data, such as: CRM data, or 1st party data, all customer opt-ins which may include information on how they prefer to be contacted, responsiveness to previous outbound initiatives, transaction history & details, etc. In addition, digital media cannot be a tag-along to mainstream media, e.g., TV, but a key cornerstone of communication strategy. Digital provides several advantages: customers are there, interactions are in-the-moment and personalized, and marketers have the ability to experiment and course-correct as necessary.

All the above enablers are powerful when used to ensure that we the right content it matched to each customer, in effect, answering a customer’s wish list and delivering the relevant content to him or her. Industry and technology are progressing so brands that continue to deliver value, will be able to benefit from customers opting-in and responding to relevant personalized offers and content.  

What does a brand have to do to make personalization a bigger piece of its ongoing business strategy?

Marshman-Goldblatt: One typically must demonstrate value to make something a bigger piece of a strategy. Value, of course, can be defined in many ways, but when it comes to personalization at emnos, we think about recruitment or opting-in, engagement and participation, and increase in sales and loyalty. But first, one must start somewhere.

Start by laying the foundation for success: Know your customers and what motivates them, leverage behavioral data to better understand their actions and their drivers, understand your customers’ affinities, experiment while in-market, and learn from your experiences. Create the foundation for developing the right personalization strategy, try different approaches and tools building on what already works, and measure your impact. The latter is the ‘proof in the pudding’, and a key mechanism to helping you improve over time. If you do so, you’d be able to make personalization a bigger piece of your strategy.

What do you think is the most effective way a brand can leverage customer loyalty insights and shopper data to affect brand loyalty/advocacy?

Marshman-Goldblatt: The ultimate expression of loyalty is when a customer actually becomes an advocate and uses word-of-mouth or social media to “shout out” to the world about their positive views and experiences with your brand. Getting to that point means continuous delivery of value over time. Leveraging data and insights will provide the ingredients to help understand what will be relevant and of value to individual customers, but it also requires excellence in the execution, timing, consistency and the customer’s experience across their entire journey with the brand. The data will inform many aspects of this, but there are also operational aspects that are equally important.

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