In the movie Minority Report, while the leading actor walks through the mall and experiences personalized greetings all around him, there is a clear flash of how the future of marketing may look: a customer journey marked by relevant and personalized experiences.
Getting back to the reality of today, the typical customer journey represents various customer interactions with your brand over time across all the digital and offline channels. When they are done right, each of these touch points builds on the others to play an important role in bringing your customer closer to choosing your brand over others.
The customer journey: what it takes
It’s the “when they are done right” part of that scenario that requires a great deal of effort, particularly with regard to:
- Personalization: Increasing response rates with uniquely tailored content, delivered instantly.
- Automation: leveraging content across channels and doing it consistently.
- Optimization: using real-time analytics to drive the best possible outcomes for each customer and for your organization every time.
- Innovation: Finding ways to rise above the noise by promising – and delivering - compelling user experiences.
Customers’ Digital Footprint
Luckily, consumers today are always connected, leaving their digital footprint everywhere, and generating a phenomenal amount of data as a result. Marketers can use this data to map customer journey and deliver value, in particular to those more willing to interact with the brand. Customers are constantly sharing and exposing important data, such as:
- Content viewed
Companies that are able to use this information to cater to customers’ needs and desires will earn their loyalty by fulfilling a promise. Doing that over and over again cultivates the loyalty and turns those customers into new brand ambassadors.
The Importance of Context
Contextual understanding of consumers, combined with the ability to engage constantly with them on their own terms, enables companies to deliver the promise of customer-centricity. With no understanding of what “context” truly means, it is impossible to understand how it will affect your marketing, your customer relationships, and the larger opportunity for your brand. Knowing the balance of customer and business circumstances, and beginning to gather and leverage the right data to expose each, gives marketers the opportunity to rethink customer interactions, to be more personal and relevant, and to engage customers with highly targeted, relevant and timely messages that convert.
Real-Time Contextual Marketing
The real power of context comes to bear when it can be leveraged in real-time, and there are a few key elements to make it happen:
- Harnessing Big Data: Capture any data (Identity data, Quantitative data, Descriptive data and Qualitative data) in real-time from any touchpoint. Collecting data in real-time is important, but it’s not enough. You also need to combine it with data from historical context to ensure a consistent customer experience.
- Real-Time Big Data Analytics: Gain immediate insights into contextual and historical data, providing fast and flexible analytics to make better, faster business decisions to anticipate customer needs
- The Cross-Channel Experience: Customers expect services to be available when and where they want, contacting you in the channel of their choice, separately or in parallel. With every single customer interaction directly linked to your customer record, it’s possible to grant your customers an excellent cross-channel experience.
Want to learn more about how unique and superior customer experiences can make a difference? A great next step is to read a research report created by Harvard Business Review that examines these very issues: Lessons from the Leading Edge of Customer Experience Management. I promise it’s worth downloading.