With our sixth annual Digital Marketer Report coming out soon, we wanted to preview some of the content with our blog readers. Here’s an excerpt that focuses on grabbing the attention of a brand’s most coveted consumers.
What’s the best way to get your best customer’s attention? It could be a recommendation from a friend, a positive review on a shopping Website, a beautiful ad in her favorite magazine or the tactile experience of shopping in a store. Actually, getting your best customer to engage with your brand likely requires an integrated approach that taps into all of these consumer touch-points. Here we examine some areas that marketers should be thinking about as they tailor their strategies in 2014.
What makes consumers buy from one brand when they can instantly use their mobile phone to find the lowest price and an infinite assortment of products to choose from with free shipping? It’s the brand experience — things like service, convenience, expertise, exclusivity, attitude and culture. A marketer knows what their brand stands for, but the reason people become, and stay, customers can vary widely. A good segmentation scheme can help marketers determine how to deliver an even better customer experience — and build profitable loyal customers — by understanding what motivates customers, what’s important to them, how they view themselves and what a brand brings to their lives.
At a recent industry event, Walgreen’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gregory Wasson, highlighted the fact that convenience has always been a key brand experience of the retail pharmacy, which is why there is a Walgreen’s within a mile of nearly every person in the U.S. It’s also the reason that Walgreens is a pioneer in integrating online and mobile technology into the brand experience by being the first with mobile prescription renewal, an integrated rewards program, coupons, pick-up at the store and home delivery. So what marketers can learn from companies like Walgreen’s — or Starbucks or Apple — is that building a brand experience that aligns customers’ needs and desires, and delivers what they value is a key function of a well-defined customer segmentation.
Consumers no longer shop in a linear progression of awareness, consideration, purchase and service, defined and controlled by the marketer. Today’s consumer is in a constant state of discovery, driven by digital connections and characterized by immediacy, convenience and context. How easy is it, for example, to look-up a disputed fact during a dinner conversation with friends? This constant state of discovery has traditionally been the purview of search marketing, affiliate marketing, social media marketing and more recently native advertising. Because media is fragmented across platforms and every person is a point of distribution, having the right content in the right place when a target customer needs it is a key outcome of a strong customer segmentation scheme.
Consumer data insight for an Experian Marketing Services’ client recently identified two highly valued customer segments that have very different content needs. One segment values expert opinions and wants to see endorsements from established and trusted individuals. The other segment wants all the facts in order to make the best-informed purchase decision. Based on this insight, the client’s strategy for engaging the first segment highlights endorsements by known experts, “meet the expert” blogs and in-person events, while the second segment receives rich product descriptions with technical specifications, ratings and reviews and how-to video. Using the customer segmentation to drive content strategy helped the client focus on what matters most to their different customer segments and engage them more effectively.
The complexity of the customer experience, media fragmentation and the consumers’ constant state of discovery has made effective ad targeting — the traditional use of customer segmentation — more challenging. While most marketers recognize that a lot of technology has been applied to this challenge, be it retargeting, behavioral targeting, paid search or social advertising, the fact remains that a lot of online advertising spend is not delivering. A good segmentation must be actionable, connecting the customer profile with predictable media behavior. Marrying online behavior with traditional media behavior helps marketers determine what media to use to deliver their messages and content.
For more, pre-order The 2014 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report and be one of the first to get this highly-anticipated report.