With the success of our 2018 Innovation Series in New York, we welcomed our very first Los Angeles Techfluence event in June, “Relationship Marketing – Better Managing Today’s Customer Journey.” The panel, made up of experts from ShoeDazzle, Lime Crime, Optimove, and 7 For All Mankind, and moderated by the CEO and Founder of Trendseeder, focused on the customer journey, personalization, and staying true to your brand through it all.
Today it’s more critical than ever for marketers to speak directly to customers. But delivering the best option to each individual consumer requires flexibility and scalability. Isamar Batista, the Director of Marketing and CRM at ShoeDazzle, noted that the average attention span for consumers is 8 seconds, so it is a necessity to remove friction and shorten the path to purchase. In addition, as Greg Adams, Marketing Consultant at 7 For All Mankind, and Kim Walls, CPG Executive and Former GM at Lime Crime, brought up, Amazon has completely changed consumer tolerance. Agathe Westad, New Business Manager, noted that brands such as StitchFix, Dollar Shave Club, and Glossier, have set the bar high, shaping the new customer journey and are truly honing in on customer personalization.
Using customer data to understand the right actions to take
The customer journey starts with making a meaningful connection between the brand or product and the consumer. If the consumer sees the product as meaningful, as a marketer you can shorten the path to purchase and incorporate personalization in order to better speak to the individual. Westad noted that personalization doesn’t just mean sending an email using the customer’s first name, but should incorporate when you’re reaching them (day and time), the channel you use, the platform, the design etc.
A big theme of the evening was the role of analytics and knowing what to test and how to use the findings. In today’s technology enabled world, data can become overwhelming, and it is definitely not necessary to use it all. Walls noted the success she had utilizing recent technology to test customer trends, and the accuracy with which we can now predict consumer behavior. Batista provided a specific use case at ShoeDazzle, when revenue was down her team was able to pinpoint that exact point in the buying process when customers we falling off (checkout). By pinpointing the drop-off, her team was able to make some small tweaks to their site and increase conversion by 10%. Adams noted that the ultimate goal is to stay true to the brand and develop a meaningful relationship with the consumer. He spoke to the potential threat technology can cause to brands, and that it brands can’t solely rely on technology for all the answers.
The role of iteration and negotiating between speed and accuracy comes back to consistency and credibility. Brand loyalty is key. Walls noted that personalization has the ability to make or break your brand. You have to remain authentic to your voice and story, otherwise there will be no underlying base for the customer to trust. The key to successful personalization is to personalize so consumers don’t know it’s personalized. That means avoiding re-targeting ads sometimes, and personalizing the full journey in such a way that it lures the customer in, rather than pushes them away . This is where creative comes into play. It allows for subtle personalization, whether it is based on the consumer’s industry, previous purchase history, or location data.
Measuring what really works
So how do you measure what really works? Our panelists all agreed that it comes down to consistency and defining the end goal. They recommended holding a control group to test if your campaign truly had an impact on consumer behavior vs. the alternative (no campaign at all).
And when asked “what hasn’t changed?” All panelists agreed that at the heart of relationship marketing is the emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. What is going to drive a customer to 7 For All Mankind over another denim company? It’s the consumer’s perception of the brand, and the feeling they get when they think about it. A great product, and good customer service are also key!
Photos: Jenn Ashley Photography