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Posts Tagged ‘personalisation’

CRMI recently read an interesting article on how Apple’s iPad was changing the way we build business relationships and have conversations.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be another article talking about the iPad …there have been a few of those already and I already own that T-shirt.

I was intrigued by the logical progression in which it was said that this new piece of technology could open up the conversation with customers. It flowed something like this (with my own little tweaks)

New Technology = Superior user experience

Superior user experience = Easier consumption

Easier consumption = more consumption

More consumption = more chances to connect

More chances to connect = and do what?

Now there’s the $million question – we often forget that ultimately it’s not about the technology but about the customer, and what we do with that connection when we have it.

Even wikipedia’s definition for CRM now includes the phrase ‘Once simply a label for a category of software tools, today, it generally denotes a company-wide business strategy embracing all client-facing departments and even beyond’

Technology allows us to do many things bigger and faster but not always better – the better only comes together when we put the customer at the heart of what we do. What we do might include email marketing, it might be social, it might be old fashioned in-store activity but whatever we do, we have to ask ourselves ‘‘what’s in it for the customer?’’

I recently sat with a client where we reviewed the ‘point’ of one of their communications. The round table brought forward 5 different USPs that were related to business needs – not one of them put the customer’s needs at the forefront.

At this point I’m going to borrow from Joseph Jaffe’s book, ‘Flip the Funnel’ where he describes ways to turn technology to your advantage. I’ll borrow just 5:

1.    Technology should bring out the humanity in your company, not mask it – don’t pretend you’re something that you’re not. Ryanair are a no frills airline – the way they use their website and email programme reflect that.

2.    Adopt a multi channel approach to building relationships. The easier you make it for customers, the more they will engage – using email as a case in point, don’t let it work in isolation of all the other channels you use but rather use it to support or initiate those conversations you are having.

3.    Consider tiered systems for different segments – don’t talk to all your customers in the same way: is it really a surprise when your engagement levels drop because your newsletter is a ‘one for all’?. Segmentation doesn’t have to clever, in fact it’s often how unclever you are that really counts

4.    Automation is not always the answer. In email marketing the more you can automate towards ‘lights out marketing’ then the more efficient you can become. But your CRM strategy needs to have that human touch sometimes
And last but not least….

5.    Personalisation is the gift of technology, intimacy is the gift of humanity. Email is great..but don’t forget the bunch of flowers.

So whatever we do to instigate, facilitate or react to conversations (the whole point of technology) let’s not forget that the ‘C’ in CRM is for ‘Customer’…and not for ‘Computer’.

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Tiger Woods. How many column inches have been devoted to the famed golfer and his alleged infidelities?  It’s been several weeks since the news first broke, and yet we’re still reading about his decline in popularity.  Tiger has spent his entire professional career building up an image of himself being a straight, honest family man with integrity and values, but thanks to several alleged errors of judgment with – apparently – a multitude of young women, this image has been smashed to smithereens and his poor family has been blown apart.  Whilst these reported affair(s) have probably not affected his pocket (yet), his brand influence and standing with the general public has taken a massive nose dive and the general public’s memory is long.  Basically he’s going to have to do a hell of a lot to make himself popular again.

Don’t make Tiger’s alleged mistake.  This very public slide from grace by Mr Woods highlighted to me the importance of getting things absolutely right from the outset.  You invest valuable time and money marketing and promoting your brand / product so it’s absolutely imperative that you set customer expectations from the start and ensure that you always deliver what you promise you’re going to, sticking as closely to your brand values as possible and only send targeted, relevant content.  All of the time. 

Avoid the Spam Button

As email marketing has grown in prominence, consumers are receiving more and more emails and subsequently their patience is being tested and they are getting fed up with receiving irrelevant content.  The way they behave when receiving unwanted emails can vary dramatically from simply deleting your message outright, unsubscribing from your newsletter, or, at worst, clicking on the ‘report as spam’ button. 

Data Capture

Consumers expect content to be tailored to them but in order to this, they need to be willing to give you some information about themselves and in turn, you need to capture this information and use it intelligently, remembering that relevant messages can lead to just as many sales as offers or discounts.  Having a simple data capture form on your website on subscription can help you gather important quantifiable customer characteristics including age, income, location, number of children etc.  Alternatively think about sending a ‘welcome’ email after the initial basic subscription taking them to an incentive-based preference centre where they can indicate further information and interests which you can then use for more sophisticated segmentation.         

Segmentation

An understanding of different customer segments allows you to tailor your offer to individuals making your email stand out and capture the attention of your customers. According to Forrester  those who test, integrate web analytics and humanise content are four to six times more effective than those who blast out the same content to their entire database.  MarketingSherpa’s benchmark guide shows that segmented campaigns produce at least 30% more opens and 50% higher CTR than undifferentiated campaigns. (Source: MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Guide, 2009).

Personalisation

Think about intelligent personalisation.  This isn’t simply a case of saying ‘Dear Joe’. Try personalising your subject line, content blocks within the text or even images. Test the extent of how the performance of your newsletter can be increased with an individual customer approach.

Testing

To make your email campaign as relevant as possible, don’t be afraid to look at all potential areas including subject lines, from address, content, images, landing pages and design  and repeat the age-old mantra TEST, TEST, TEST!

In short, get to know your customer.  If you listen to them and only deliver targeted, relevant content, you won’t go far wrong and will hopefully avoid being found by the paparazzi quivering underneath a windscreen shattered by a golf club brandished by a woman scorned. Sound advice I feel!

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