Innovative technology must be deployed in the digital age to enable an efficient and effective relationship marketing strategy. Cheetah Digital content and data vice president Tim Glomb and PepsiCo MarTech head Chris Muscutt recently discussed the ins and outs of relationship marketing. They shared their view on using zero- and first-party data and technology to drive effective strategies.
Harnessing intelligence in a world without cookies
For years, brands have perfected personalization strategies that resonate with consumers and make them feel like individuals. For many B2C brands like PepsiCo, classic personalization has meant plugging simple forms of data like email, names, addresses, or recent purchases into outgoing channel communications to ensure touchpoints are perceived as current, relevant, and contextual.
Marketing tools for personalization emerged more than 15 years ago to help marketers connect more effectively with consumers across digital channels such as the web, social media, and mobile. These tools help marketers test different colors, icons, images, and offers on websites to optimize the customer journey.
However, they rarely provided meaningful psychographic information about visitors, such as their interests, expectations, or needs. The cookie apocalypse and browser-based targeting solutions further add to the customer-learning challenge, with Google announcing its plans to phase out third-party cookies entirely.
“Marketers need to look at all the different signals they receive from consumers, even the more subtle ones, as the third-party cookie crumbles,” Chris says. “They should prioritize the useful data in their marketing strategies and then focus on developing those data collection capabilities. With that, marketers can build impactful strategies to improve the customer journey.”
For maximum impact, brands must invest in and bring together three breakthrough marketing technologies, including:
1. Real-time Personalization: This allows brands to learn more about consumers to deliver a better experience every time. It’s about understanding what the consumer plans to do at that moment and includes monitoring web interactions and mobile SMS, web, app, social, point of sale, etc. This personalization strategy ensures that real-time data is captured from these touchpoints and returned to the platform to be added to the consumer’s profile.
2. Journey orchestration: Journeys should be simple, think-triggered events or multiple approaches that unfold over time based on consumer behavior and preferences. Personalized customer journeys increase interaction growth, increasing the likelihood of purchases and conversions.
3. Intelligent offers: Offer management is being redefined by modern marketers. Harnessing the power of machine learning and analytics to score content and determine not only the right suggestion but also the best order of offers, time, optimal context, and channel can be highly automated at scale. This can boost efficiency and efficacy.
The “buzz” about personalization
Marketers must deliver relevant, personalized content throughout the customer journey to stay competitive in today’s signal-saturated world. According to a new eConsultancy report, in partnership with Cheetah Digital, titled “2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index: Consumer Attitudes and Trends in Personalization, Privacy, Messaging, Advertising, and Brand Loyalty,” Australian consumers are rewarding brands that make personalization a priority. More than half of respondents said they would trade personal and preferred data to feel part of a brand’s community.
At the same time, there has been an almost 50% increase in Australian consumers who are frustrated with a brand not recognizing its unique wants and needs in its personalization strategies. In addition, real-time offers and content can be ten times more effective than traditional outbound marketing campaigns.
With all the “buzz,” Tim says the term personalization is used often, especially now that consumers are more aware of privacy than ever before. However, he is not convinced that marketers understand personalization’s meaning. And Chris agrees.
“There’s room for marketers to improve their efforts,” Chris says. “Making things relevant is one thing, but true personalization is another journey. That’s where the gaps come – personalization, contextualized marketing, or travel planning. There may be pockets of both, but they are not the same. Many brands still have a long way to go before they achieve true personalization.”
Solving data dilemmas
Large organizations like PepsiCo have mountains of data, making it difficult to find and understand everything. While the process is improving as technology advances, Chris says, gaining insights is still a struggle.
And he’s not alone. According to a CDP Institute member survey, 63% of marketers cannot collect unified customer data. Research from Gartner shows that 58% of marketers say integrating customer data is a major obstacle in their multi-channel strategy.
And that’s a problem. Now that consumers can engage with a brand whenever and however they want—and often unpredictably—marketers must understand them to build a personal connection. Why? Because personalized links lead to better outcomes, such as increased engagement, customer loyalty, and brand advocacy.
However, the solution is very simple. Brands must have one accessible image of the consumer. Customer data resides in systems such as analytics, email, mobile, campaign management, point of sale, and social areas not designed to be integrated.
And while there’s certainly a lot of buzz around relationship marketing and personalization, marketers need to cut through the noise, harness technology, and get to the heart of what matters: connecting and delighting consumers.