There was a time in the early years of big data marketing in which marketers and salespeople alike drooled over the impact of big data on customer acquisition.
For salespeople, big data meant better qualified leads. Better leads equaled higher conversions and quicker sales cycles, which opened the door for more productivity.
For marketers, big data provided answers for something that had, until that point, been fairly ambiguous: return on investment. Campaigns could now be measured for effectiveness and directly attributed to revenue. Hence, there would be no more wasted time and money on campaigns not guaranteed to deliver.
Big data (and the data management software used to corral data from different sources and provide insights) created the perfect mix of efficiency and effectiveness loved by sales and marketing teams alike. As a result, the big data and analytics market is expected to grow to $203 billion by 2020.
With nearly everyone now on board with the impact of big data on revenue, one question arises. How can companies continue to differentiate themselves from competitors?
The answer involves a shift from merely using data to drive new business to using data to delight existing customers and create brand stickiness.
What is ‘Brand Stickiness’?
Essentially, brand stickiness is whatever your business does to keep your customer loyal when the competition comes calling with cheaper solutions. It is about transcending the incentive of cost-savings to build a true relationship with customers based on how in-tune your business is with their needs and desires.
There will always be someone out there willing to do what you are doing for a cheaper price. Big data offers insight into how and why your customers use your product or service. Shifting your marketing efforts toward enhancing the customer experience means more brand stickiness, which leads to better customer retention.
Ask Not What Data Can Do for You, But What Data Can Do for Your Customers
The future of big data marketing focuses on customer retention with equal (if not more) emphasis than on customer acquisition. As a marketer, it is about playing defense with the same level of intensity and focus with which you play offense. And there is good reason to do so. Aside from the fact that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing one, there is more opportunity to differentiate from the competition with churn prevention and brand loyalty marketing techniques powered by big data.
A smart marketer today leverages big data to enhance the customer experience with a product or service. In doing so, sales may not necessarily increase (though, as discussed below, good customer service often yields upsell), but the baseline is protected.
What can you do with your data to improve the customer experience and create brand stickiness? Here are three strategies to employ:
#1. Focus on Cost and Time Savings
Just as big data once revolutionized marketing teams’ ability to be efficient and effective, it can also impact customer return on investment in your solution. Providing your customers with the data they need to save time and money positions you as more than just a vendor; you become a true business partner and ally.
Your business should focus on leveraging your data to impact cost and time savings for your customers by:
- Making intelligent recommendations. Do not make your customers sift through page after page of text-heavy webpages to get to the product or information you know they want. Big data allows you the opportunity to make smart suggestions to customers based on previous activity on your website, demographic data, and use of your product or service. Think of Netflix with their algorithm recommending other television shows or movies based on those you havve previously viewed. If the customer has easy access to whatever he or she needs, the experience in finding your product intuitive and easy-to-use improves.
- Being a trusted resource for thought leadership. Be the go-to resource in your area of expertise. Your customers are on the hunt for information and industry insights. Building up a library of focused, quality content means your customer’s attention remains on your website. That is a win for you (in that your customers are not distracted by competitors) and customers when they save time by only needing the one source for their information.
#2. Be Proactive in Your Customer Outreach
Engaging with customers before they try to contact you – whether it be for a compliment, complaint, suggestion or otherwise – can be one of the most impactful ways to improve brand stickiness. Two areas where customer outreach can be improved using big data are:
- Customer service opportunities. Do you know what happens when you try to send an email through Gmail with the word “attached” in the body but no file attached? You are prompted with a reminder to include the attachment before the email sends. That is a great example of how a business uses predictive data to improve the customer experience. Your business should be able to evaluate historical data of recently churned customers to analyze trends in usage that can then be applied to forecast current customers on the same downward trajectory. Use that data to be proactive in your outreach to customers and help find solutions before it is too late.
- Social media channels. At this point, a social media presence is a “must” for any B2B business. ReachForce analyzed the impact of social media engagement on lead generation in the past, but using social media to keep a pulse on trends among current customers, particularly in comparison to the voice of your competitors’ customers, provides a great opportunity to assert your dedication to customer experience. The recent United Airlines debacle (and the response from other airlines) illustrates how important social media engagement with customers remains to your customer retention.
It is important to note that, while automated marketing can be incredibly helpful, a human touch remains critical to customer engagement. When in doubt, pick up the phone and make a phone call; it can often make a world of difference.
#3. Pivot Your Solution to Meet the Needs of Your Customer
Big data opens the doors for self-reflection. What parts of your solution are integral to the way customers use the product or service? Which ones do not matter?
Continuous refinement of your product or service to meet customer needs means more stickiness with your brand. Why? First, it becomes clear you are receptive to customer feedback and take action on customer requests. Second, the solution becomes more and more optimized toward your target customer, giving you unique positioning against competition when your feature set becomes something your customers “cannot live without.”
Here is where upsell opportunities also arise. By paying close attention to customer trends in usage, cross-selling other products or solutions at the right time with custom offers can help drive more revenue and build upon your customer’s lifetime value.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization, and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean, and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.