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March 13, 2018

By John Wells, President, RAPP LA

How to Revolutionize Your Customer Journey
Consumers are different people at different hours of the day. A woman might be a mother in the morning, driving the kids to school; a local coffee fiend before lunch, buying her usual brew; then a hard-hitting professional in the afternoon, leading teams at the office. She’s only one example of the millions of people who follow the same dynamic formula.

Just as customers evolve, customer journeys should evolve, too. Two factors — data and technology enablement — now allow brands to go beyond scaled personalization in order to achieve scaled personal experiences. With new tools, then, companies can communicate with people throughout the day, like the mother in the above example, marketing to them at the moments when they’re most receptive to brand messaging.

The Evolution of Authenticity
Thanks to the proliferation of data and technology, marketers can now connect the dots between individual customer interactions, treating people like human beings no matter how or when they interact with the brand. From first encounter when a customer is “unknown” to active engagement, data allows companies to understand who their customers are and to provide the personalized experiences that match those customers’ timely needs.

From the customer’s perspective, this evolution is critical. They don’t see companies as discrete departments but as cohesive fronts. That means they expect consistent, personalized experiences no matter how (or when) they engage.

In the past, companies didn’t have the right tools to meet this expectation. Today, that’s no longer the case. Still, higher expectations require more advanced strategies. By following these tips, marketers can provide the modern, personalized experience customers crave.

1. Understand the Role of the Brand
Not every brand belongs in every part of a customer’s life. Identify the need your brand fulfills for a prospect, then deliver personalized experiences when triggered.

For example, when new customers submit their contact information, reward them with something to reinforce that connection. Offer a unique sale or opportunity to review an upcoming product. The closer the invitation matches the customer’s needs, the stronger the bond between customer and brand becomes.

2. Use Analytics to Anticipate Needs
With the customer relationship established, use all available data to grow that relationship without making the customer feel like a number in a database. Tie customer data into marketing campaigns to make messaging feel more personal. Even simple facts, like name and preferred product types, can deepen the bonds between customer and brand.

Then, throughout the customer journey, measure important factors to make each moment more special than the last. Identify the goal — for example, increased sales or more social shares — then pick the KPIs that contribute to that goal and track them throughout the process. By creating moments that stick in the customer’s mind, you can engineer engagements that might not feel particularly authentic on the business side but, for customers, will inspire deeper connections to the brands that design them.

3. Align Experiences With Purpose
Modern consumers greatly prefer brands with purposes that match their own. Understand the intersection of company mission and customer experience to create journeys customers enjoy — and moments they want to share with others.

During the establishment (or embracement) of this mission, some employees won’t like the new direction. But even if the ones who can’t resolve their issues with the mission leave, new talent will be attracted by the steadfast commitment and help you create stronger, more unified teams. When a company stands for something, internally it can become a stronger entity, and externally customers who value that mission will begin to adopt the brand as part of their personal identities. That connection, sparked at the right moment and using the right data, can create a fiercely loyal fan base.

The trick to inspiring customer loyalty through more personal connections isn’t a trick at all — it’s just smarter usage of available tools. By leaning on data to provide timely, relevant, and seamless interactions to customers, brands can attract more prospects, increase customer loyalty, and anticipate the needs of buyers before those needs arise. Because creating a truly empathetic and authentic one-to-one moment is the quickest way to win customers in tomorrow’s marketplace.

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