Marketers are under pressure to produce more personalised messages through different channels. However, with the power of data comes responsibility, and consumers only want relationships with brands they trust.
Trust is top of the agenda
According to the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Customer Attitudes to Privacy research undertaken with data-driven technology company Acxiom last year, 40 % of consumers rated trust as the most important factor when sharing information.
If there is customer confidence around the security of their personal information and reassurance that the marketing is relevant and useful, then data can be the foundation to any long-term connection.
“Anything that makes your message more personal and pertinent will mean that message is more likely to be used or acted upon,” says the DMA’s managing director Rachel Aldighieri. “This is not simply about sales, but about building a trusted relationship. If you can give something of value to your customers at a time they really need it, you both benefit.”
Geo-targeting helps marketers understand consumer behaviour
She cites the example of geo-targeted messaging which uses location, usually on a smartphone, to understand particular behaviours. It enables brands to target people with particular interests based on their demographics, salary, location or a mixture of all three.
“Once you have insight into your customer’s behaviour you can choose the right channels to target them, whether that is by mobile, email, direct mail or a combination of channels,” she says.
Using data to build relationships offline
Marketers can underestimate the power of using offline channels such as direct mail to build and reignite relationships with existing and former customers.
One company which still invests heavily in direct mail is BT. When a person moves house the company sends a tailored DM pack to help them through the home move, and it offers a special package to keep them connected.
It is also using data effectively to re-engage lost consumers to give the brand another chance at building a long-term relationship.
“We use cancelled subscriptions data in our ‘anniversary campaign’ which is aimed at customers who left BT 12 months ago,” says Samantha McClements, BTL lead-acquisition. “A series of charming, engaging and highly personalised cards are sent to the prospect, reminding them of the good things they left behind and the great things they could benefit from if they came back.”
She adds: “The creative works hard, with heavy personalisation throughout. It is relevant, timely and engaging. The response and conversion rates are reflective of the success of the campaign which is linked to the all-important data feed and relies on a meaningful and relevant connection with the consumer.”
Moment marketing is impactful
Personalised relationships also come from knowing what your current consumers are doing at a particular moment in time, or if they have a significant date coming up, such as a birthday or anniversary.
Media company the Global Group, which includes Capital FM, and Classic FM, is using data to help its own brand advertising and its clients’ campaigns reach their target audience when they know people are listening to music and audio content.
Global Group’s digital audio advertising platform called DAX splits listeners into 70 audience segments that are bought directly or programmatically. Director of marketing Adam Johnson says Dax gives advertisers, including its own brands, access to tens of millions of people at contextually relevant moments throughout the day.
“We can add audience data to ensure laser-sharp targeting without losing scale,” he says.
He uses the example of British Airways which rather than simply targeting people who intended to travel it wanted to reach a very specific group of travellers.
“British Airways gave us details of the consumer profile and we replicated this in the Dax data management platform creating a millennials travel audience. It allowed the airline to create a campaign that really resonated with this group.”
Global Group has also worked with Netflix which targets people who are engaging with content regularly on the Capital/Netflix partnership hub.
“People added in their particular film and TV genres preferences allowing Netflix to reach those who are already engaged with its brand and, on a more granular level, target them with programmes that are relevant to their interests,” says Johnson.
Creative programmatic on the rise
When it comes to using data to build on-going connections with customers, programmatic tends to stoke the art versus science debate within the industry. The knack, it seems, is to be creative (artistic) with the data (science) your brand holds.
David Frew, senior programmes manager at the IAB, says there has been a huge shift in the creative use of data as marketers have gained a better understanding of programmatic.
“Without the right data, digital marketing will never be effective at building relationships with consumers,” says Frew. “You often require that one nugget of information to spark a creative idea, so you need a data management system to aggregate all your anonymous data and generate insight that can provide that nugget.”
He adds: “We have seen brands use geofencing technology around events to improve customer relationships by re-messaging people who have attended. For example, people who have run a marathon are later targeted for sports equipment. This is where a lot of the ‘art’ of marketing is still making a difference.”
Every marketer understands how powerful and influential data can be. However, to build significant long-term relationships with customers using online and offline channels, it must be used cleverly and responsibly.