Follow Your Data to a Better, More Intelligent Customer Experience


The customer journey is rarely ever a straight line. People are complex. And in 2020, consumer behavior has gotten even more unpredictable. According to McKinsey, more than 60% of shoppers have changed their behavior amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, yet all categories have seen an average of 10% growth across digital channels.

Today’s online customer journey may look like visiting different retail shops’ websites, browsing social media feeds, searching for deals and promotions and adding different colors and styles to shopping carts. Intelligent use of data can connect all of these individual moments into a single, comprehensive view of the customer. That way, marketers can be more targeted in unpredictable periods, and consumers can get exactly what they were looking for.

Let’s follow the data through a fictional luxury outerwear brand, Trekker, to illustrate the power of intelligently leveraged data.

Aligning campaigns to the right audience

Trekker has been struggling to engage buyers over its digital channels. Their highest-value shoppers are brand loyalists who frequently visit the brand’s web or mobile site whenever a new collection is released. In contrast, Trekker’s most active email subscribers are more casual customers who are motivated by a seasonal sale or emailed discount codes. When the company notices a dip in overall sales, they respond by blasting out more frequent email promotions to their entire list. In theory, this tactic was meant to increase engagement among fickle customers.

Instead, these emails are hurting Trekker’s margins and diluting their brand reputation. Not to mention, the bulk of their marketing efforts are wasted on campaigns that see little return. Instead, Trekker needs to refine and personalize their email methods to prevent over-discounting, while also growing and nurturing their core audience on non-email channels.

In this case, smart use of data can help Trekker understand which customers are most likely to be high converters. From there, the marketing team can create behavior-based clusters to understand different customers’ engagement levels, based on factors like frequency of opened emails, web browsing patterns and average transaction value. In this case, let’s call the two segments email discounters and brand loyalists.

Using this data, Trekker can build an email campaign reminding its email discounters of an upcoming 40% off sale. By creating a campaign personalized only to this segment, the brand avoids offering unnecessary discounts to their entire customer database.

Using data to refine web experiences

Meanwhile, the other group of brand loyalists requires an entirely different approach.

For this segment, Trekker can use data to personalize content on their webpages, with the goal of collecting phone numbers. That way, they can engage their most active users through SMS reminders. 

Trekker has already used data such as browsing activity, purchase frequency and device type to create the brand loyalists segment. From there, they can set up a campaign to collect phone numbers and  target, track and provide personalized experiences to that specific segment. The marketing team then creates a customized homepage contact form that’s displayed to the predetermined users when they visit Trekker’s website.

Once they opt-in, these brand loyalists have more opportunities to interact with the company on the platform of their choice. That means Trekker no longer needs to spend additional effort on irrelevant communication channels. 

Helping brands survive and thrive

Like in the Trekker example above, any company can gain a transparent and unified view of their customers to drive a more relevant and positive customer experience. In fact, most customers want them to. Acquia’s 2019 customer experience report showed that 80% of customers expect and reward personalization.

By taking a data-first approach to digital experience, businesses have the flexibility to adapt to any new changes and trends in customer behavior—no matter how unpredictable it may be. As more consumers permanently flock to digital these tactics will be critical to businesses’ ability to survive and thrive in the next decade.

As Acquia’s CMO, Lynne Capozzi oversees all global marketing functions including digital marketing, demand generation, operations, regional and field marketing, customer and partner marketing, events, vertical strategy, analyst relations, content and corporate communications. Lynne is one of Acquia’s boomerang stories, first serving as CMO in 2009, leaving in 2011 to pursue nonprofit work full-time, and returning in 2016 to lead the marketing organization into its next stage of growth.

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