With consumers increasingly demanding improved brand experiences in return for their data, Carat Australia’s Brendon Cropper (pictured below) explains how businesses can not only address the shift, but capitalise on it.
Today’s world is made from digital-everything. Now utterly inundated with choice, customers are getting far better at finding what they want, when they want it. They know what a good experience looks and feels like. Most importantly, they’re figuring out that the trade-off they make for sharing their data is not only valuable to businesses; it’s improving the quality of their experience, too.
No one trades data for experience better than the FANG heavyweights – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. The latter, built on a foundational obsession with automating relevance, has always challenged the incumbent philosophy that longer session times trumped the frequency of those sessions. When they proved that short, regular sessions showed getting the right answer quickly was what users really wanted all along, the rest of us caught up. Today, Netflix continues to pioneer direct consumer relationships in video content. Every interaction is logged, analysed, and actioned – as relevant recommendations, feed curation, and even their own creative direction as a studio.
Best practices make for best expectations, it seems, and now customers are demanding improvements in experiences at least at the pace of Moore’s law. Keeping up can feel overwhelming for businesses conceived in an earlier era of product-first design. These five key strategies not only address the shift, but leverage its potential into fertile opportunities for business value:
- Treat customers as real people
Though they help us understand them, customers are more than numbers, and they don’t want to be broadcast at en masse. They want to talk and exchange with real people, and to be treated as real people themselves. Digital communities and social media have enabled unprecedented space for two-way dialogue; true communication with brands and with each other. It is essential brands participate in this conversation.
- Experience segments trump target audiences
Product-led target audiences obscure the customer as a real person. Understanding that each consumer is on a unique journey with your brand empowers you to tailor the experience they receive. Age-old A/B test-and-learn techniques improve experiences with every iteration, until 20-plus segments down the track you’ve created a messaging platform rich enough to resemble a true conversation with the customer.
- Capture and control a single customer view
Customer data platforms (CDPs) are designed to help you do just that by creating a persistent ID for your customers, linking your CRM with online behaviour data from a digital analytics platform, DMP or both. This is the science underpinning the authenticity and art of numbers one and two.
- Maximise your content
Creating unique experiences is as much about sweating your content assets as it is about creating unique and compelling content. Adopting a segment level approach to the customer enables the identification of content recycling opportunities, as consumers repeatedly travel along and back around their journey with your brand.
Your customers are experience experts. Observe and ask them what you need to know when planning your product calendar into the future. Set up appropriate analytics throughout the customer journey that can be mined for insight into what’s next. Insights-led product development generated from real customer data completes the digital circle-of-life with your segment.
Of course, managing the organisational activation of these strategies is often the biggest challenge of all. Trusting key partners empowers them to help you build, own, and implement a robust and valuable data-led strategy. Start with internal alignment, follow it with action, and don’t try to load a silver bullet in the chamber.