If You Don’t Know, Get to Know: How Retail Marketers Can Get to Know Their Customers Better
As consumers flocked to the internet during COVID, many businesses were totally unprepared, and retail marketers often took the hit. Their work quickly expanded to include customer experience, brand, digital marketing, CRM, customer retention, and more.
These extended responsibilities paired with the fact marketing is now being looked at as a revenue-driving department means marketers have to make far more effort to proving their value.
This increased workload meant that retailers lost some of their power. To win it back, marketers need to prioritize their customer relationships. Simply put, they get to know their customer better to save time and prove their revenue-driving status.
Emarsys’ 2022 unPredictions report, which surveyed over 500 retail marketers, retailers, and their marketing teams, demonstrates this. Getting to know customers was the No. 1 priority of retail marketers, with almost half (45 percent) making it their main priority for the year.
So where, and how, do they spend that time? Let’s take a closer look at how investing in customer understanding will not only save marketers time, but win their reputation back.
A More Personalized Approach
The first step is to prioritize personalization. Meaningful content makes customers feel appreciated, valued, and excited to engage with your brand, as well as building customer lifetime value (CLTV).
This won’t happen with the dated "one size fits all" batch-and-blast approach — which makes it all the more concerning that 93 percent of consumers have received marketing communications that are totally irrelevant to them. Resolving this issue is one of the most important steps for retail marketers to convince customers that they care.
Of course, personalization can be difficult to achieve, particularly when you need to do it at scale. It requires an investment in the right technology to connect all the data fully, giving marketers this insight into their customer. Fortunately for retailers, the technology already exists to make this real-time personalization possible. But it’s on marketers to equip their team with the right tech to do this.
While highly targeted personalization seems like it could take up even more time, that’s not the case. In fact, the frequency and amount of interaction needed per customer will actually decrease. With relevant marketing communications generating actual cut through, there’s no need to continually chase customers — and the right personalization tools can automate these personalized interactions, drastically reducing man hours.
Ultimately, the right email at the right time will lead to the right result. With the right analytics, retail marketers can even identify the best times to deliver personalized communications, giving them a chance to sit back and properly plan their next move … rather than blasting out yet another irrelevant chaser.
A Truly Great Customer Experience (CX)
Once your brand is in the position to get to know your customer better, the next step is cultivating that new relationship. Good customer experiences make the bones of a business: 92 percent of customers will give up on a brand after two or three negative interactions.
Retail marketers need to understand what good CX looks like to each customer, ensuring each individual journey is a positive one. The focus needs to be on developing meaningful experiences for individual customers that are paramount to retaining them, rather than hammering out generic messaging and hoping to make a sale.
By using analytics to establish what makes a sale for each customer — e.g., their favorite site sections, the amount of time on each page, the products that they tend to buy, etc. — retailers can understand what shapes a good customer experience for that individual.
Not only does that demonstrate to the individual consumer that they're recognized and cared about, offering the best chance of retaining customers and driving repeat purchases, but it also saves marketers time wasted on generic changes that don’t make a meaningful impact.
So, personalization, customer experience and now "omnichannel marketing" — a dreaded buzzword, but vital for retailers to get right. The modern consumer wants their curated experience to follow them from device to device, and successful retailers must meet customers where they want to be met.
Take, for example, Adidas’ Runtastic mobile fitness app. Despite its huge pool of email customers, Adidas chose to prioritize marketing over mobile channels to Runtastic customers. This resulted in over 8 million additional app opens — incomparable to launching promotional emails into the void.
That doesn’t mean that Adidas’ huge email list is of little value; the potential is clearly huge. Rather, it shows how important it is for marketing teams to understand what channels work best for which brands, and which customers. It met customers in their preferred channel, and reaped the rewards in record time.
Learning to use each channel at your disposal in the most efficient way possible will not only drastically improve a customer’s experience, showing that your brand respects their preferences and individuality, but also cuts down the hours wasted on ineffective channel campaigns dramatically.
What Does This Mean for Marketers?
With technology on marketers’ side there’s no better time to re-engage customers and make CX the top priority again. By getting to know your customer and ensuring each campaign is targeted and relevant, marketers can rightfully take back their marketing power.
Meghann York is the global head of product marketing at Emarsys, an omnichannel customer engagement platform.
Meghann York, global head of product marketing at Emarsys, is a dynamic marketing leader who specializes in sales and strategy development, organization design and resourcing, and market development. As a thought leader in her field, Meghann applies creative thinking to solve big marketing challenges.