By Alexandra Larralde | Posted on October 23, 2014
As marketers, we all strive to to truly know and understand what motivates the people we want to reach, and construct an ideal end-to-end journey that puts the right message in front of the right customer at just the right time—every time. We know the importance of meeting customer demands and going above and beyond to “delight,” but for the sake of illustrating just how much opportunity lies in rethinking our approach to personalizing customer interactions, completely cease to think like a marketer for a moment, and think instead about the last time you had a marketing experience that left you truly impressed.
One comes to mind immediately, right? Probably several. Too many to count. Just kidding. You’re likely racking your brain, trying to recall one perfectly-timed and impossibly relevant message or offer that made you say, “Now that is a fine example of excellent marketing.” To be fair, truly effective marketing shouldn’t really feel like marketing, but rather, a natural extension of your relationship with that brand. When it is memorable, however, you know you’ve experienced something rare.
But let’s try the opposite. Think of the last time you received an email, saw an ad, or opened a piece of direct mail that was so completely off the mark, so sadly, hilariously mistargeted, that you took a picture of it and posted it to Instagram. Or, at least considered forwarding it to your colleagues for a good laugh. It’s probably much easier to recall that experience than the one that led you to reach for a particular brand of laundry detergent the last time you were at the store. You probably still talk about it as a shining example of “what not to do.”
Marketers have a little leeway on unremarkable marketing, but consumers are quick to notice and respond to the downright bad marketing they’re subjected to when companies don’t take the time and care to figure out who they are. I personally, have recently received several letters from a well-known satellite radio provider’s “Vice President of Hispanic Marketing”—in Spanish—since my last name might lead one to assume that I’m of hispanic descent (for the record, it’s French-Basque). Since they’re marketing to me based on a relationship I have with Honda (who made the car where said satellite radio is installed), it would have been relatively easy for this company to devise a strategy for ensuring that accurate customer data is procured from the vehicle manufacturer. At a minimum, they might have included a call to action when I purchased the car to register with the company on a website or mobile app—with some really cool bonus feature available, of course, to give me an incentive—where they would have discovered who I really was and had the opportunity to at least communicate with me in my native language.
Although we have the huge responsibility as marketers to create standout brand experiences that drive sales and our business’ bottom line, we can also get caught up in the challenges and limitations of our own data sets, technology infrastructures, and the tools available to us for deriving the customer insights we really need. With so much customer data available, and literally hundreds of technology vendors working on increasingly-innovative ways to turn that data into insight, the responsibility is also ours to change our approach to the way we think about, prioritize, and ultimately act on, customer data. The framework for building a customer-centric organization from the inside out exists—as do the tools and technologies to support it.
Download our newest white paper, “Marketing Continuity: A Strategic Framework for Creating Connected Customer Experiences,” to learn more about what marketing continuity means for your business, how to centralize and leverage customer data across your marketing technology ecosystem, and strategies for ensuring that omnichannel marketing experiences are possible for your customers. And remember, that even though it’s your job to sell to customers, it’s also someone’s job to sell to you. Strive to deliver the kind of marketing experiences that don’t become someone else’s #marketingfail tweet.
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