Customer Retention Strategies: Why it’s time to get Personal
Posted by Julian Diaz
September 21, 2015
I don’t think any of us like it when someone forgets our name. Although anonymity might be the companion of choice for the most socially averse, for the rest of us, the feeling that we matter as individuals carries with it a sense of identity. Marketers who bear this fundamental human attribute in mind are already halfway to creating customer retention strategies that pay dividends. Don’t believe me? Then it might be worth mentioning the Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” campaign which replaced Coke’s universally recognised branding with the personal names of consumers. The result was almost 1 billion impressions on Twitter and over 150 million personalised bottles sold world-wide.
Personalisation of your brand makes it more accessible
Before the internet, there were very few options for consumers to voice their opinions about, or engage with, their brands. This often led to the impression that companies were inaccessible, monolithic entities with no human quality to speak of. But times have changed. Today, companies are forced to step out of the shadows and get involved in online consumer conversations and unlearn the dirty habit of using generic company lines to promote or defend their reputations. As Forrester Research aptly observes, “The only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fuelled disruption — an obsession with understanding, connecting with, and serving customers.” And that level of differentiation in a world where almost every product or service has been sufficiently commodified is achieved by leveraging the data at your disposal to understand who your customers are.
New customers, like seedlings, require nurturing
According to MarketingLand, “The true standard for hyper-personalization is interacting one-to-one with individuals, not segments. To anticipate an individual’s desires at any point in time, however, requires having deep customer insight, which comes from analyzing granular data.” Given the access to customer data marketers enjoy today, moving beyond generic market segmentation tactics means we’re able to start building relationships with our customers from the get-go. Nurturing newly on-boarded customers with messaging based on insights gleaned from multiple touch points will quickly shift the relationship from that initial stage of awkward silences to a more personal and lasting relationship.
Retention strategies should speak to the changes in the lives of customers
You don’t want your customers to think of your brand as that friend who only picks up the phone to call you when he needs a favour. Data analytics reveal much about who our customers are and offer insights into the lifecycle stages they’re experiencing. This presents us with opportunities to “share” in their life events and personalise their experiences with our brands. In the midst of all the marketing noise coming at us, personalisation is central to making your brand message resonate in the mind of the consumer.
And the opportunities to do so are plentiful. Gartner states that, “By 2017, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times, generating revenue of more than $77 billion and making apps one of the most popular computing tools for users across the globe…As a result, Gartner predicts that mobile users will provide personalized data streams to more than 100 apps and services every day.” Considering that the app world is only one of many channels companies can leverage to “get to know” their customers, the opportunities to build personalised retention strategies are in abundant supply.
Data holds the key to more personalised customer engagement
As consumers expect more relevant marketing and are increasingly filtering out what they perceive to be intrusive, marketers are also realising the key role data plays in delivering messaging that resonates. The only logical way to do this, it seems, is to take the time to listen to what our data is telling us about our customers and apply those insights to our customer retention and acquisition strategies. With the information overload showing no signs of abating, the challenge will be how to reach out and touch someone across the great digital divide.
Julian Diaz is Head of Marketing for Principa. American born and raised, Julian has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. Having begun his career at a major software company in Germany, Julian made the move to South Africa in 1998 when he joined Dimension Data and later MWEB (leading South African ISP). Since then, Julian has helped launch various South African technology brands into international markets.