How to Leverage Your Data, Part 1: Using Data to Increase Customer Engagement

robert-mcclarin_400x400.jpegRobert McClarin, Customer Engagement Partner, Brierley
To increase customer engagement, brands must evolve towards leveraging data to Recognize, Reward, and React to their consumers in real-time across multiple channels. Brierley’s Customer Engagement practice guides our clients through the process of stepping up to higher levels of personalization maturity, and each brand should move at their own pace. To better leverage data brands must consolidate and enrich their customer data—bringing together account profiles, self-reported preferences or life events, transaction, device, site visits, and emotional loyalty scoring.

For example, our Customer Engagement practice teaches the importance of the Onboarding engagement loop. Brands that enrich their customer data to show which activities and events lead to high-value repeat buyers begins to identify optimal engagement loops. As new consumers enter the Onboarding flow, the brand can funnel consumers attention towards these activities, while identifying and motivating those that fall behind.

Brands must liberate that enriched data making it accessible at every consumer interaction—mobile, web, customer care, communications, front-line associates, and point of sale. For example, brands that empower front-line associates with basic information about the consumers standing in front of them—recent purchases, sentiment, customer care cases—arm them with the knowledge to recognize and react with a level of care that differentiates them from their competition.

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Bosco_Chris-2-(1).jpgChris Bosco, VP and GM of Digital, SMG
Amassing large amounts of data in today’s digitally enabled world is easy. Information is being presented by customers at every touchpoint with or without their knowledge. The winners are the brands who know how to plow through the mountains of data to find and interpret the hidden signals customers are leaving them. The marriage between observed and behavioral data is key to identifying points of erosion in the customer experience. 

However, the first step is not to dive head-first into the data, but instead it is to understand the customer engagement model as defined by the customer themselves. Customer engagement is a two-way street. A company offers a series of interaction channels by which the customer can engage, but ultimately it’s the customer who determines where and how they wish to engage.

Once this interaction path is understood, the data can be aligned to clarify how a brand is executing against the chosen path. Brands can place signposts, triggers, events and funnels to help pick up the customer’s sentiment and behavior. From this data, improvement areas can come to light with vivid actions tied directly to increasing engagement as opposed to guessing and measuring on the back-end.

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M-West-HS-2-(1).jpgMelissa West, Director, Product Solutions, PDI Marketing Cloud Solutions
Retail brands live or die by data. Segmentation is the simplest mechanism for parsing data to understand customer behavior. Individual shoppers are segmented into groups based on shared characteristics, such as how recently they shopped, how often they shop, and how much they spend. With just these three data points, brands can construct a meaningful set of segments defined by customer value.

Segmentation improves connection with customers: when we understand someone is an “at risk” customer, someone who once shopped frequently but no longer does, we can develop messaging, outreach and offers based on his/her specific characteristics. “We miss you!” campaigns can be incredibly successful in reactivating customers.

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Susan-Frech_Headshot.jpgSusan Frech, Founder and CEO, Vesta
Marketers face two distinct challenges when it comes to data and consumers. First, while data seems limitless today, marketers must prepare for a future when the fire hose of data that they are accustomed to dries up. 

With the sunsetting of third-party cookies and dawn of new governmental regulations, consumers are increasingly aware of the value their data holds. Data collection will no longer be a passive activity happening in the background, but an active expression of brand preference and loyalty. Building a first-party data engine will be critical, but it must go beyond email lists or transactional loyalty programs. For many marketers, building an online brand community creates a dynamic and “living” environment for data collection that aligns with the brand’s benefits and core values. 

The second challenge is creating data-driven engagement that powers incremental sales, brand loyalty, and improved market positioning. Research consistently shows that personalized marketing is effective and consumers are more loyal to brands that align with their values. 

Engagement efforts should be geared toward facilitating emotional connections. Data shouldn’t be limited to demo/psycho/geo attributes, but asking consumers what are their personal values? What’s most important in their lives? What do they want to change about the world? This type of data will help deliver more meaningful interactions with consumers that cut through the clutter and solidify long-term loyalty.

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Guy-Cierzan_1.jpgGuy Cierzan, Managing Partner, ICF Next
Customer data is critically important for brands to use as they map out the customer journey lifecycle and as they identify the different opportunity segments based on customer profiles and behaviors/purchase habits, allowing brands to effectively present content that is personalized and relevant to each customer.

This builds trust with new customers and strengthens the connection and engagement with existing customers. When a segmented customer is served a communication that is timed and tailored to their individual needs and their individual place in the customer journey (for example: before purchase, during purchase, or after-purchase) the message feels more relevant, the customer recognizes that the brand understands them and can anticipate their needs, which in turn deepens their emotional connection, engagement and loyalty to the brand.

According to Yotpo, 67.6% of consumers would be willing to join the loyalty or VIP program of a brand they’re loyal to and 56% are willing to spend more on a brand they are loyal to, even if cheaper options exist.

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