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Seven steps to moment-based marketing

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18th Oct 2016
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According to Forrester, consumers are being hit with an estimated 5,000 pieces of promotional or branded content per day. While the ability to reach consumers at such a huge scale introduces new opportunities for brands to engage and create improved customer experiences, it also makes it harder to resonate through the noise.

So how can we ensure we are engaging with customers and potential customers at the right time, via the right channel with the right message and - more importantly - adding value that aids the consumer research and purchase decision?

Developing a customer journey model can help to effectively engage with a consumer from the first moment they are introduced to your brand to making a purchase and converting them into a repeat buyer. By mapping out the customer’s path through the shopping experience and how they interact with your brand, platforms and products helps to inform and pinpoint the key moments of value, opportunity or friction. By using the data that you own to identify and connect points of interaction, focus can be shifted from generic campaigns towards more targeted and meaningful engagement.

This may sound relatively straightforward, however turning the idea into reality is not always as easy as it sounds. The following steps will help you form and implement a more successful and engaging moment-based approach to digital marketing.

1. Map it out

Instead of trying out every new marketing tool or social channel available, take the time as a brand to map out your own customer journey path and every point of interaction with the customer. This will highlight and provide insight into the areas that are most important and provide most value – allowing you to give more attention to these while scaling back activity where it is not so important. A holistic view of your customer journey provides you with the information that you need to form lasting, valuable consumer relationships.

2. Track

Even in today’s advanced world of technology and digital, only 27% of marketers have the full capabilities to be able to trace and understand the holistic customer experience across channels and devices. Also, historically it was only the customer touchpoints that are incentivised that were set up to be trackable – i.e. conversion, first call resolution. However, we now know that some of the most valuable ‘moments’ of customer engagement happen between these points.

It’s vital to therefore track micro-conversions and indeed conversations throughout the journey to gain a better understanding of customer behaviour at every point.For example, tracking the last page viewed by a customer by an automotive brand may give false information as to this being the car the customer is interested in when reviewing all of the pages visited and duration will provide a more holistic view of that customer.

3. Identify and act on ‘moments’ of truth

Moments of truth can be broken down into four stages that align with the customer journey

  • Moment zero: The moment a consumer realises they have a need for something, and go online to find information.
  • First moment of truth: The moment when the consumer, armed with the information that they find, is prepared to make a choice regarding which product they will purchase.
  • Second moment of truth: The moment when a consumer begins using the product or service they have purchased. It is at this point that they should discover that what they have purchased aligns with everything promised regarding the product – providing them with a positive brand experience.
  • Third moment of truth: The moment when a consumer can become a brand ambassador. They have used a product or service and may now start talking about it via word of mouth, online reviews, etc.

4. Ask when, why and how

Most consumers understand that their data is being shared in the digital space. As part of the value exchange, their expectations are higher – and rightfully so. They no longer forgive so easily when served an ad for an item they just purchased. Even receiving emails for products that do not reflect their interests can negatively impact how they feel about your brand.

So, put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Utilise your data to find out when they’re engaging with your brand most frequently, how and why. The use of engagement scoring to clarify levels of engagement and to understand brand interaction can lead to smarter targeting strategies.

5. Keep it personal – always

Even when you don’t have first-party data available, the right data can allow you to create personas that give you a well-rounded idea of key customer groups engaging with your brand. Consider the criteria that will give you the best view based on your business. For example, is it important to distinguish based on whether or not consumers have children? If they’re male or female? If they received a college education? Make sure to collect data based on the points that are relevant to your brand, not just a set of generic information. From there, utilise your personas as a guiding force for every campaign and piece of marketing that is going to reach the eyes of your consumers.

6. Push, don’t prod

There are multiple points throughout the customer journey that can sever a connection with a consumer. One of the most common is an abandoned shopping basket. Your data tells you that a consumer has been active with your brand on your website, placed items in their online “basket” and navigated away from your site without making a purchase. You know who they are and what they wanted before they went off to the next distraction.

Abandoned carts offer an excellent opportunity to communicate with your customer in a timely, relevant way. By a friendly reminder of their waiting purchase via website personalisation emails, custom-tailored website content or retargeting media to them, you show that they are important to your brand. Be helpful, inviting them back to complete that experience, perhaps with an appreciated incentive.

Look to your data and test to establish the appropriate frequency as this can backfire. The key is to encourage the completion of this customer lifecycle gently. No one wants to feel hounded by persistent marketing demanding they finish a purchase, nor do they want their newsfeed taken over by advertisements for similar products. Consumers expect to be understood, not stalked.

7. Wash, rinse, repeat

Because most customer journeys are cyclical, they allow for you to gain greater insights with each new set of data provided by each experience. Listen to marketplace feedback – with the understanding that not seeing results is some of the loudest feedback consumers can give – and nurture every brand advocate with personalised targeting. Wash, rinse, repeat to get results that shine.

Customers in the digital age don’t just expect a streamlined experience, they demand it – and providing it to them can lead to stronger loyalty and lasting rewards for brands. While your strategy can – and should – adapt as you learn more about your audience, remember the above key steps to ensure success every time.

Florian Gramshammer is UK MD at IgnitionOne.

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