In this opinion piece, Rohan Lock (pictured below), regional director for the Asia Pacific at Dotmailer, discusses how CRM and email marketing can be key drivers for successful campaigns.
As the global marketplace becomes more competitive and fast-paced, businesses are rushing to compile as much customer information as possible into their database. What’s more, changing customer habits mean expectations are shifting, making genuine engagement a real challenge for marketers. Today’s consumer engages with brands through multiple channels, making it necessary for businesses to adopt a holistic approach to marketing. In doing so, they’ll better understand people’s shopping behaviour and ultimately improve the customer experience (CX).
As a marketer, a key way for you to drive brand advocacy is to deliver consistent, contextual and meaningful communications. By improving your understanding of customers, you’ll be far more equipped to optimize the CX and increase ROI.
The first step to profiling your customers is to start collecting, organising and analysing their data. An effective CRM (customer relationship management) that integrates with your email automation platform will help you build and leverage this customer insight, ensuring you deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
An integrated CRM drives powerful customer journeys by:
- Employing data discipline and improving customer insight
With fierce competition online, success boils down to a CX that’s smooth and memorable. A tried-and-tested way of building strong, long-lasting relationships with customers is by investing time and resources in consolidating and enriching your insight. Measuring people’s habits and engagement – such as purchase history and web behaviour – will enhance your understanding of customers, allowing you to better nurture them. Likewise, collating customer feedback is a best-practice approach to optimise the CX at every touchpoint.
CRM helps you to identify, document, and categorise implicit and explicit customer data; this information is bound into a single customer view and is widely available across departments. Subsequently, your teams will enjoy greater customer visibility. The shift from data silos to all-in-one data management has allowed marketers like yourselves to become more agile and effective, making timely and well-informed decisions.
- Leveraging customer data
Once your customers’ information is all pooled together, you can start to create filters and alerts for certain keywords and data fields, providing fresh up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. A powerful CRM system enables you to tap into these insights, and rather than employ spray-and-pray practices, you can differentiate your offering through data-driven methods. For example, enhanced customer data makes it easy to tailor email marketing campaigns and make them highly relevant to subscribers.
Segmenting your subscribers on the basis of suitability and engagement maximises the relevancy of email communications. It’s a simple but effective way to engage customers with content that marries perfectly to their interests and behaviours.
According to a recent email statistics report by The Radicati Group, there are currently over 6.32 billion email accounts in use. This figure is predicted to grow by 20 per cent, reaching a staggering 7.71 billion by 2021. Email continues to be the most powerful channel to engage with customers on a one-to-one basis, adding credibility to your brand’s image and reputation. Combining CRM and email lays the foundation for intelligent segmentation, integrated campaigns and personalised messages that’ll help you nurture leads and develop loyal customers.
- Automating marketing communications
Marketing automation is fundamental for you to connect with customers in a meaningful way. A core objective of personalising the customer journey is to streamline the sales cycle by sending super-relevant content at just the right time. This could include a welcome series or a replenishment program, for instance.
An integrated automation solution gathers all of the relevant customer information based on your pre-defined data fields as well your subscribers’ engagement metrics, such as opens, clicks and web page visits. What’s more, by collecting and storing customers’ preferences, you can further enrich the CX by pairing your communications to their interests.
Integrating CRM with your email automation platform also helps to fortify the strong relationship between sales and marketing, improving visibility across your business. By leveraging web data, demographics, and email campaign history, your sales representatives and marketers can employ one-to-one marketing tactics which make interactions much more personalised.
The key benefit of personalisation is that customers are recognised as individuals; messages are therefore contextualised and pinpointed to where people sit in their lifecycle. This ensures the customer journey isn’t disrupted by irrelevant messages, but rather made fluid by content that’s contextual.
To consistently generate sales, it’s essential you rouse customer engagement; this can no longer be achieved by batch-and-blast methods, but by sending intelligent communications that compel subscribers to act. Marketing automation practices enable you to profile individuals and tailor emails to them; by maximizing the relevancy of the message, you’ll encourage engagement throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
Brands are sending an unprecedented amount of emails to their customers on a daily basis; that’s 269 billion on average, according to The Radicati Group. To cut through the noise, you’ll need to combine your email marketing with your CRM, giving you access to all-important metrics that can be used to increase your email engagement and conversion. After all, by deepening your understanding of customers, you’ll be in a better position to strategise your communications and maximise ROI.