The new marketing mantra: Make it relevant, personal and easy

Des Viranna

Des Viranna
Des Viranna is the Sydney-based general manager for customer intelligence at SAS Australia and New Zealand. SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market.

Our job as marketers is to make it easy for the customer to buy from us.

Why is that hard? “Where do I start?” I can hear you ask.

We have multiple channels that don’t talk to each other, so many products that we find hard to explain to our sales staff, let alone to the customer…

Start with the customer’s journey. Are you actually measuring it? Do you know when the customer starts the buying journey with you? It’s a lot harder to measure than a campaign response rate but if you do, you know who is interested in what product. This is especially true if the customer displayed interest online via the web or on a mobile device.

Make it relevant

Is this possible? Absolutely. Technology allows the automation and embedding of analytic outputs into your business processes. A great example of this is the ‘people like you also bought’ concept made famous by Amazon. You are now able to track so much of what’s happening on your website – structured data, unstructured and social data, big data, and the list goes on. Start by prioritising the business problems you want to solve and then go after them one at a time. This will tell you what data, analysis and business processes you need to focus on.

Don’t just focus on the customer experience. It needs to be mapped to the sales funnel. There is no shared value if the customer doesn’t leave with what they came for.

Where does relevance kick in?  The customer expects us to use their data responsibly. If we just try to sell them a product without understanding their needs, they will vote with their feet. Know when and how to use that data. For example, if a customer has just burned their mobile phone cap and they have a high future value, now is the time for the contract upgrade next best action, not a fine for exceeding the current contract cap. Be relevant and take them on the journey to becoming more valuable for your organisation. Show the customer that you are on their side.

Make it personal

At a recent leadership talk series, the head of CRM for a big bank explained that the bank’s new project was about understanding a customer so that communications are relevant and timely. The bank wants to bring back that personal contact; wants customers to feel they know them – things like whether they’re buying a house or planning for retirement. The bank executive said the desired outcome when the engagement is done would be for the customer to say, ‘Yes, that’s something I needed; yes, you’ve made it easy for me,’ and they’ll reward you with their business.

Make it easy

For this to happen, the marketing process must align itself to the customer buying process and gain understanding of behaviour, key events and context help to personalise each interaction. The customer experience is improved because the organisation has had a relevant dialogue and has done so on the customer’s terms. This makes the buying process easier and the outcome is a happier customer and new profitable business.

The conclusion: Make it relevant, personal and easy. If you don’t, someone else will.