A case of identity: Two tips to create meaningful customer relationships

Sherlock Holmes once said: “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective rarely overlooked the data in front of him when solving a case, the same cannot always be said for modern marketers when fostering customer relationships.

Despite going to great lengths to gather data about their customers and the consumer population as a whole, many marketers continue to undermine the effectiveness of their campaigns, waste budgets and compromise the brand equity of their organisations with the widespread use of untargeted and irrelevant marketing communications.

Gigya recently conducted a survey of 2,000 UK consumers to investigate the extent of this problem, and the findings uncovered a host of key themes and actionable insights for marketers.

The benefit of properly collecting, organising and leveraging consumer data is clear: brands that use actionable, permission-based data to provide personalised, relevant offers and experiences will develop an in-depth understanding of their respective customer bases and be rewarded with significantly higher conversion rates and longer lasting customer relationships.

There are two key considerations for marketers wanting to elevate their customer relationships, which centre on managing data correctly and keeping communications relevant.

1) Effective and transparent data management is crucial

Every marketer wants to seamlessly connect with his or her customers, but for many marketing professionals, this goal is becoming almost impossible with the avalanche of consumer data being produced today and the inability to effectively manage said data.

In addition, as brands continue to ask for more personal data, consumers remain unsettled about how their information is being used. Gigya’s survey found that 91 per cent of UK consumers categorised themselves as at least somewhat concerned about data privacy.

It is clear that brands need to be more transparent about how they plan to use consumer data, especially when we consider that 38 per cent of UK consumers said they would be more likely to share their information with businesses that do so.

By providing reassurances that information will not be shared outside of the organisation, businesses can ensure consumers will be more comfortable and confident when volunteering their data. All too often, organisations also trust the storing of data for millions of customer identities to legacy systems originally designed to handle a few thousand internal employee records, which have entirely different parameters and requirements.

Effective consumer data management can be achieved through the utilisation of technologies that are purpose-built for consumer-facing initiatives – such as customer identity and access management (CIAM) systems. Investment in these technologies enables IT departments to securely house customer data, while marketers are able segment and query the information to obtain a clear understanding of customer identity.

2) Eradicate irrelevant communications

The pressure to provide consumers with relevant marketing messaging is rising as 44 per cent of UK consumers have revealed that they ignore all future communications from brands that do not target them correctly.

In addition, a quarter of respondents revealed that they receive six or more irrelevant communications per day, equating to at least 2,000 irrelevant messages each year. Such a bombardment of undesired messaging by businesses means it’s becoming common practice for consumers to disengage and turn to the next most appealing competitor.

With almost a third of UK consumers also stating that they are more likely to buy from brands that tailor messaging to them, it is clear just how important it is for marketers to get this key initiative right.

Keeping communications relevant can be the difference between a returning, loyal customer and a one-time shopper. In some cases, it may be more beneficial to simply not send any communications rather than ones that are too generic, and, in turn, irrelevant.

Businesses cannot afford to get this aspect of marketing wrong, and marketers must work smarter to be consistently fresh, relevant and personal in their campaigns to avoid having their communications consigned to junk folders or discarded altogether.

Two steps to success

Brands that nail the above considerations will be well on their way to eradicating irrelevant messaging and organising their data properly, ensuring customers only receive personalised communications. It’s a cardinal sin for marketers to ignore the valuable insights available from the plethora of consumer data they have gathered and repeatedly send irrelevant messages.

By taking the right steps, organisations can create mutually beneficial relationships in which customers are treated as individuals, with unique digital identities, rather than just a list of email addresses and first names.

Marketers no longer have to play detective, and are empowered by technological advancements to personalise their campaigns at an individual level. Masses of data are now easily transformed from lists of usernames into invaluable information sources that reveal key preferences and motivations of customers.

Brands no longer have to ‘twist theories to suit facts’ for the data they’re investigating. Rather, they can create tailored customer communications that build brand loyalty and achieve a real return on investment.

Richard Lack, Director of Sales, EMEA, Gigya