Apr 11, 2014
By Ivy Wright
Email Marketing

Following is a reprint of an article by ExactTarget Marketing Cloud Vice President of Predictive and Web Products Eric Tobias. The post was originally published on Journal du Net.

Imagine a world where every advertisement displayed, email sent, store entered, mobile offer viewed and website visited was personalized just for you. This might seem like an unreachable goal, but this is the future of the customer experience, and what customers are already starting to expect.

Innovative brands are leading the way in defining the next generation of customer experience with rich personalization, delivering more accurate, relevant and personalized touchpoints both in store and online. These companies are incorporating retail fundamentals, like optimizing customer interactions over mobile devices, building brand loyalty by giving each customer a voice and creating unique customer experiences as part of a customized journey to increase engagement and drive sales.

Rise of Mobile
Today’s customers expect information to be available at their fingertips, relying on quick responses from brands, and instant feedback. To create a seamless customer experience across devices, optimize experiences for mobile by sending location-based SMS and push messages.

In our 2014 Mobile Behavior Report, we saw that:

  • 32 percent of consumers said they associate mobile with ease of use on the go
  • 41 percent of tablet owners say they use their smartphone and tablet simultaneously at least once a day
  • 91 percent of smartphone users say they check email at least once a day, 90 percent text, 76 percent use search, and 75 percent use social

As smartphone adoption grows at an unparalleled rate, brands that create the most interactive, personalized experiences for apps and overall mobile campaigns will capture consumer attention and secure a prominent place in consumers’ everyday lives.

Voice of Customer
Today, marketers are taking personalization one step further to deliver personalized communications to customers based on real-time behavior, interests, preferences and customer data. The technology that supports this highly personalized marketing is not only here, it’s pervasive.

In the past, marketers had to apply broad macro categories to customers to create customer segments for campaigns. Now, the explosive growth of customer interaction data from a myriad of channels, sophisticated analytics and a healthy dose of creativity has converged to make advanced personalized marketing a reality.

One way to capture the voice of the customer is by talking to them directly to find out what they are looking for and determining how your brand can offer assistance. Think of this as predictive intelligence – a way to predict customer interests and needs based on real-time intelligence.

Optimized Customer Journey
Based on observation and conversation with customers, brands can compile customer profiles with unique identifiers that can guide content, offers, interactions and recommendations across every department of the brand, giving each individual customer a unique journey.

Each profile becomes richer from every interaction the customer has with the brand, adding as it learns each customer’s wants, needs and preferences. Optimizing the customer journey will ensure that a customer thinks of your brand for all their needs.

Here are just a few ideas to add to your brand’s customer journey strategy:

  • Send an Abandoned Cart Message – Create a remarketing message to encourage a customer to return to your site to purchase the items they left in their cart
  • Recommend Products on your Website – Before and after a purchase, recommend similar or complimentary products based on customer selections while on site
  • Emulate a Conversation with a Product Expert – Ask a set of questions that reveal valuable insights for future marketing and immediate use in the form of personalized recommendations
  • Transactional Emails – Thank customers for purchasing and include personalized product recommendations based on their transaction. According to ExactTarget’s recent Retail Touchpoints Optimized report, typical transactional emails are opened 70-80% of the time, and sales conversion rates can increase up to 25% when these messages are personalized

Brands that focus on optimizing customer interactions over mobile devices, building brand loyalty by giving each customer a voice, and creating unique customer experiences as part of a customized journey will win over customers every time. These companies represent the near future of the customer experience, one that customers are already starting to seek out and expect. This approach of predictive intelligence and customized customer journeys will increase engagement and drive sales, making brands industry leaders.

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