The customer lifecycle used to be rather straightforward. If all went well, prospects would slide down the funnel in a linear fashion, from unknown user to customer to loyal repeat purchaser.
Alas, all this has changed. Digital ads no longer click with consumers, privacy legislation has put an end to cold email blasts, and cookie tracking is almost a thing of an antiquated era. The modern consumer truly understands the value of their personal and preference data, and is more scrupulous than ever about the brands they share it with. In light of this, there’s a need to re-evaluate the customer lifecycle and how brands connect with digital consumers.
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Merely acquiring an opt-in has become a headache for marketers who had previously relied on third-party data sets. Furthermore, squandering budgets on the broadcast approach of pushing digital ads wider, and further has not delivered a tangible ROI since the first ads were launched a quarter of a century ago.
Digitally savvy consumers expect to be entertained, engaged, and receive something in return for their attention and personal data. Brands can deliver this through interactive experiences that conduct market research, accrue opt-ins, and deliver an altogether better ad experience with a tangible value exchange for the consumer. Delivering experiences over interruptions is the key to collecting the permissions required to start building a meaningful relationship with consumers.
You know what your customers have done, and purchased in the past, but do you have the data to know what they are going to buy in the future? It is entirely possible for marketers to collect this psychographic data that is intentionally and proactively shared directly with you by the consumer. This is zero-party data.
Rather than guessing, you ask, and if you offer a tantalizing value exchange, in the form of added value (coupons, competitions, social kudos, or content to name but a few), most consumers will share their preference data with you. Granular data points like purchase intentions, propensity, budget, wants, needs, and all the psychographic data required to improve personalization and help build up a picture of who they are.
Zero-party data allows brands to build direct and meaningful relationships with consumers, and in turn, better personalize their marketing efforts, services, offers and product recommendations.
We all know it costs much more to attract a new customer than retain and grow an existing one. However it’s not uncommon to see more attention and resources dedicated to acquisition rather than loyalty initiatives.
Brands need to deliver fully-fledged loyalty programs if they want to turn one-off customers into repeat purchasers that choose their brand even when a competitor offers a cheaper price or faster service. Points-win-prizes won’t quite cut it today — it’s about engendering emotional loyalty, and that comes from using the data discussed above to deliver contextual and bespoke loyalty initiatives to different customers depending on their relationship with your brand.
Turning your customers into your best marketers is the utopia for any brand. But rather than being a fool’s errand, it’s truly achievable with a strategy rooted in building genuine one-to-one relationships with your customers. Social advocacy provides real credibility as we all trust peers more than a flashy ad.
In practice, this is achieved by leveraging a tool that gives you a single view of the customer, and segmenting those that are superfans, loyal customers, and/or brand advocates. Then you can deliver experiences, content, and loyalty schemes that reward those customers and their actions. A tool to drive customer engagement, end-to-end customer lifecycle management, and driving revenue and customer lifetime value.
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Danny is a Content Marketing Manager for Cheetah Digital. Danny has spent his career in disruptive tech start-ups driving content strategy with a current focus on how brands can connect with modern consumers through a philosophy rooted in self-reported preference data. When he’s not extolling the value of zero-party data, he is guaranteed to be out running.