A Simple 3 Step Framework
Properties, Brands, E-Commerce merchants, even B2B operators (manufacturers, distributors) know they need to manage customer data from a variety of sources in order to control and optimize a customer journey to the advantage of both the seller and the buyer. But many marketers within these organizations are still operating in campaign or departmental P&L silos without piecing together their efforts. Here’s our perspective on how we’re moving to solve that problem.
We started providing system integration and digital agency services in the e-commerce space 10 years ago. Of course we’ve evolved since then but we’ve also been through a couple acquisitions so we continually refine our offering to meet both our sister companies’ needs and our external clients’ needs. But our evolution this year includes developing services that together with our colleagues enables 360 degree customer journey experience management through innovative acquisition of and management of zero and first party customer data. This post is about sharing our vision of what that means and how it can be executed within a relatively simple framework and the use of existing, proven marketing technology.
First we were an E-Commerce SI
Prior to our integration the Wasserman side of the business was arguably a leader in live event and experiential marketing including both planning and execution. Wasserman’s track record helping major brands activate customers at live sporting events, entertainment venues or other scalable public places is unprecedented. As Accorin, we had been leaders in designing and developing digital commerce experiences within the Adobe, BigCommerce, Salesforce and Shopify ecosystem. We joined Wasserman in 2021 and together we have an integrated capability that provides brands and merchants in numerous industries with the ability to acquire and manage a customer experience from the first live interaction with a prospect or customer at an event all the way through a lengthy, profitable customer journey (with their consent of course). Let’s illustrate an example customer journey beginning with how the relationship might start at a live event.
Step 1: That First Event Interaction
A lot of brands still conduct live events in a manner that is completely isolated from e-commerce or digital marketing operations operating in a silo with limited means to capture and utilize data of attendees. There can and should be a logical bridge. Whether the experience is a live sporting event, a concert, or a local marketing event there is always an opportunity to interact with the customer. Advertisements, demonstrations, sampling, join a club, join a sweeps – these are all staples of a live marketing experience. How does a marketer engage with a customer at a live event so that they can begin interacting with them? There are plenty of ways. One example is a QR code that entices a customer at a live event to begin an interaction. We have all become familiar with the reemergence of QR codes during the pandemic and of course these are now a staple of marketers trying to entice digital interaction. Once the customer is engaged, this opens up a world of opportunity for quickly gathering more information about the customer and of course it can be done in a variety of ways from simple quick forms to enticing the customer to play in an interactive game. These days customers at live events are already on their phones all the time. It just takes the right moment in the right idea to engage them for a marketer.
Digital experience tools we can use within live events include:
- Live contests
- Live games
- Signing up for a premium or loyalty club
So you get a person at a live experience to interact…then what?
Step 2: Capture the Customer Data
Whatever customer data is captured it needs to be placed or integrated into some repository where it can be used. Not all marketers think about what should be done with attendee data when it’s collected. We do (we’ve been running e-commerce sites for decades so treating data with care is second nature to us). Assuming the marketer has complete control over this data as zero or first party data, there are many options and there is little risk of running afoul of privacy compliance regulations. The options range from simple to more complex, but either way there are a number of marketing technologies to choose from. Many companies already have a CRM. But that CRM may or may not have the capability to organize, segment and manage customer data. The evolution of the Customer Data Platform (CDP Bloomreach, or Adobe Experience CDP) in marketing technology is the key to a marketers quest to provide the ongoing enhanced customer journey experience. CDP platforms are geared towards taking customer data from a number of different sources, normalizing it and then enabling a marketer to utilize it for segmenting, personalizing messages, augmenting digital experiences like e-commerce and more. Different CDPs provide different capabilities. They can be very powerful but very complex and it’s the reason why large enterprises and sophisticated e-commerce merchants have been the first to adopt them into their tech stacks. But there is a “basic” approach to manipulating that digital customer journey.
Step 3: Use the Data to Manage the Customer Experience Based on Behaviors
The CDP will be the foundational tool by which marketers customize the journey for years to come. However, now several popular email service providers have the capability to personalize some aspect of the journey through messaging flows. This is true of both klaviyo and dotdigital. Remember the “drip campaign” concept that allowed a digitally savvy merchant to send “you forgot your cart” followed by “welcome” and “thank you” emails? Well a “drip” is essentially a flow that personalizes a message based on behavior. ESPs are providing fairly sophisticated user flow capabilities and a marketer can tailor these flows based on behaviors on a website that the platform is integrated with. So today the basic drip campaign has evolved and the capability of advanced ESPs allows for a more complex customer journey such as: Customer A activates at a live sports event and signs up. N minutes later they are invited by text message to purchase a premium party post game pass sponsored by BRAND. The customer decides to attend so the next day not only do they get a thank you but an offer to enjoy the same experience at the next game at a significant discount white also receiving an invitation to participate in a personal sale at BRAND. [This can continue into many more steps in the “flow”]. CDPs take this capability to an additional level leveraging sophisticated data ingestion modules and segmentation capabilities, AI, and the ability to integrate very large data sets with these types of marketing activities. CDPs allow a truly personalized customer journey because they can store and use so much data in a customer’s profile. But you can start with the basics: capturing data, storing it in a platform that allows for behavior based user flows, and treating your customers to the experiences (current and future) that really match their behaviors.
How To Start 360 Degree Customer Management?
It’s important to create a customer management plan that starts with simple goals and builds to more complex interactions over time. If you’re new to customer journey management, start simple with an ESP that helps you set up customer message flows that are dependent upon a customer’s actions. Once you are an expert with those flows you can evaluate the need for a CDP; larger organizations may need one out of the gate in order to get that true 360 degree capability because of the volume of data they may already have. ESP and CDP technology can be complex so it’s important to have a reliable integration partner like Wasserman Digital Design & Technology to simplify the steps and help create a segmentation and interaction model that supports your desired customer journeys and that will work. Contact us if you’d like to discuss building your customer experience management model!