Trends for 2014: Using data to drive engagement and create personalised experiences

By Anthony Wilkey

Keeping your customers’ preferences at the heart of campaigns will continue to be a key trend in 2014. With access to cloud marketing platforms and personalisation technologies, marketers will be able to engage more easily with their customers, and we predict that they will be able to take action to create richer, more relevant experiences.

Develop engaging dialogue with customer data

It’s important to provide marketing that is meaningful and valuable to customers, but in order to do this one must first be able to answer the question – who is my customer? For example, an overall picture of frequent or loyal shoppers is important, but to take marketing to the next level, marketers must be able to action this knowledge about each unique shopper.

Cloud marketing platforms can help marketers leverage real-time campaign performance to help them understand how their customers are responding to their campaigns right now. Easily answering questions around the devices they are using, what information they found important and shared and if that campaign resulted in the customer taking action – signing up for an event, making a purchase or visiting your store. When marketers engage customers with relevant, personalised messages, they have the opportunity and ability to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time; driving campaign performance and increasing customer lifetime value.

Improve marketing experiences by delivering campaigns according to preference

There seems to be a disconnection between what marketers think their customers want and what their customers actually want. It is essential that marketers don’t get caught up in the latest, hottest industry trends, rather than take the time to assess what their customers are doing so they can deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time and in the right format.

The amount of time we have to make a good impression is getting shorter and shorter, and we are quickly learning that if online experiences aren’t delivered in a quick and easy-to-view format consumers will navigate away from websites and delete marketing messages without a second thought. As businesses deliver better online experiences, understanding how consumers want to digest and receive marketing is becoming essential. Marketers must understand how customers view their marketing – whether it is on a mobile device, tablet or desktop – and deliver positive, more engaging experiences. In 2014, marketers will continue to improve customer experience by ensuring marketing campaigns are compatible with all browsers and devices.

Create more personalised experiences

As visitors navigate their favourite websites, as they browse different categories and products, their unique preferences become apparent and businesses can quickly learn what colours, products, price points and sizes their customers want. With personalisation, business can quickly begin to predict products that may be related, leading to much more relevant product suggestions. This valuable data can also be used to retarget customers by injecting personalised product recommendations directly into emails.

Marketers will increasingly be using technologies that look at the individual preferences and behaviours of millions of online customers and delivering targeted recommendations across all channels. Using this approach, businesses will be able to move beyond traditional segmentation-based marketing into personalised 1:1 marketing that boosts conversion rates, customer satisfaction and loyalty.

We predict in 2014, we will enjoy a future of deeper knowledge and understanding that will lead to richer, more relevant, personalised customer experiences.

About the author

Anthony Wilkey has worked in the fields of CRM and marketing intelligence for over 15 years, spending the last four years with SmartFocus following time with Experian, Sage and Frost & Sullivan. He has extensive experience of working on collaborative, often multi-national digital ventures and is especially focussed on topics such as multichannel marketing, marketing automation, and data-driven marketing strategies. Anthony is also involved with the DMA, sitting on the Email Marketing Council and its Benchmarking Hub, responsible for producing and editing a number of industry reports each year.

SmartFocus delivers real-time, personalised marketing that drives revenue, loyalty and satisfaction. Our cloud marketing platform helps thousands of marketing organisations drive millions of targeted campaigns each year, connecting customers via email, mobile, social, web and other channels. For more than a decade, our focus on scalability, reliability, and security has made SmartFocus one of the leading cloud marketing providers worldwide.

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