When you market to potential customers what do you think of first? The individual or the channel you are using to reach him or her? Are you so focused on all the tools available and the metrics you are tracking that you forget you are attempting to influence an actual person?
Yes, you feel proud and see good results when you deliver a targeted ad to someone who visited your website. You have perfectly timed email campaigns that have improving open rates. Your paid-search keywords are cultivated and your bidding is efficient.
This is wonderful, and it would stop there if your customers interacted with one channel alone or if your customers stayed on a single device. But the truth is, your customers are not just about the marketing channels; they are individuals.
And individuals are tricky. They use different devices. They interact with and are influenced by different media. They can be difficult to please and often dislike advertising. But the important thing to note is that they dislike advertising only when it adds no value, is misdirected or is ill-timed.
It is time for marketers to understand these customers as the individuals they are by leveraging available data, by delivering relevant messages and interactions and by adding value to engage them and drive them to convert.
Focusing on the individual allows you to benefit from a customer-centric approach that can improve the experience and your results.
Connect the dots, device to device: When a customer browses the brand site on his laptop, searches your brand terms on his tablet and finally checks out a dealership site on his phone, marketers need to understand this is the same person – and an extremely motivated person who is likely to buy. Making that connection is possible with centralized cross-device data and allows a marketer to treat this customer with the experience he deserves and most likely will get him to close the deal.
Understand your customers: Data never should be in silos if you want to really understand who your customers are. Understanding that based on her browsing, the visitor to your website is most interested in the latest crossover is useful. Connecting that info with third-party data to glean that she also has a high household income is even better. But when you take it even further and connect the dots to your own CRM data you can get a strong picture of who this person is and how to communicate to her.
Customer Journey is Key: Besides beautiful photos and detailed specs your websites can offer a positive, individualized customer-centric experience. If a visitor consistently is checking out your 2-seater roadster, why would you show him a pickup truck on the homepage next time they show up? If someone has been on the site for five seconds, would you show them a pop-up promotion? You never would settle for real-life salespeople who present unwanted information to a customer or jump all over them before they had a chance to even understand what they want.
The same goes for your site. By understanding not just who your customers are as individuals but also where they are in the journey and what they really are interested in allows you to do things such as deliver tailored content or deliver a voucher at the right moment that not only drives a conversion but also allows you to simply connect online and offline.
In the end it comes down to the basics that every salesperson knows: Treat a customer like a person and provide them a positive experience.
Jay Roby is the director-Strategic Accounts at IgnitionOne, where he is responsible for increasing clients’ conversions to leads and sales utilizing the Website Personalization solutions within the company’s Digital Marketing Suite. Jay is based in Atlanta and has worked in digital advertising and marketing for more than 10 years.