#Lifecycle18 has come and gone but with #Lifecycle19 on the way, a fresh reminder of the pointers shared by the keynote speakers and panellists work as a reminder of the lessons we can look forward to in the upcoming conference.
All three disruptive brands have highlighted important practices retail marketers need to have in place to make sure they are creating the best possible experiences for their customers. As the market continues to become more competitive and the standard of customer engagement soars, it is integral that brands have a clear strategy and idea of where they plan to take the marketing messages they send out to expectant customers. As Millennials and Gen Z continue to dominate with spending, now more than ever, it is important to know what customers want, and there is no better way to learn than from disruptive brands that are firm favourites.
“Through storytelling you can change customer perceptions and views, even if the product doesn’t feel very exciting” – Kuba Wieczorek
As retail marketers, it goes without saying that a clear brand identity makes all the difference in creating amazing campaigns and cementing who you are in the public view. As obvious as this may be, if brands don’t have a clear focus on who they are, they will be unable to serve their customers truly relevant experiences. As noted by Kuba of eve Sleep, “Don’t try and sell ice to eskimos.” So, how can this be achieved? By understanding and becoming a part of the customer’s everyday or their chosen “tribe”, as noted by Taymoor of Papier.
Our CPO, Djalal Lougouev, notes another important factor of brand identity that impacts the success of your personalised campaigns: “Customers want personalisation that is in line with their needs at that current time.” Papier has segmented its products to resonate with specific periods in its customers’ lives: seasonal (holidays), social (birthdays and thank yous) and stage of life (wedding, christening, new home). By creating specific products that reflect the experiences of the customer, the brand can remain relevant and the first choice for their customers’ personalised stationery needs.
Eve Sleep also found success in crafting an identity that felt relevant to customers using a surprising medium — long copy advertising. Although a very specific example, the success of the campaign follows the same principles as a strong automated campaign: it was relevant, felt personal and matched the customer expectation of the Sleep brand.
“The first thing you should address when learning about the customer is data; it saves you from making inaccurate presumptions”- Loretta Avanzi, Head of Retention, Boomf
MADE.com have gone against the grain as a pure-play furniture company, but its ability to thrive has a strong foundation in technology and, more specifically, a strong tech stack. As noted by its CTO, Jonathan Howell, “…web analytics alone doesn’t tell you the entire story”. He goes on further to note that even multiple providers bolted onto an ESP don’t provide a single customer view; in fact, it could offer you worse — a partial one. This leads to inaccurate conclusions based on how you as the marketer presumes the customer shops — and not how they actually are purchasing.
As noted by Kuba of eve Sleep, a capable stack is integral to the success of their marketing messages: “We need to get the right message delivered to the right person at the right time, especially once they hit 100 days with their mattress.” By using data, they have been able to learn about customer habits and discover wants — which they fulfil — and become a “sleep brand” instead of just a mattress company.
A great stack is future-proof and “considers the [brand] trajectory and not just the current position”; this means going cross-channel. As noted in our consumer census, email is being overtaken by other channels as customers’ preferred means of contact. Customers’ browsing habits also continue to evolve with mobile being the tool to weigh up options and desktop the device to make the purchase. Again, a tech-stack that can accommodate the shift in customer patterns can shape campaigns and messaging that is seamless and feels relevant to the customer on their chosen device. Howell states:
“Marketing channels don’t generate revenue — customers do. And they don’t just interact through one channel. You need to build around the customer.”
“Personalisation is looking at data from across all touchpoints […] bringing it together to create a holistic strategy” – Caroline Henne, CMO, Wolf & Badger
Personalisation has been the talk amongst marketers for years, but, as noted by our speakers, it is merely the beginning to crafting memorable customer experiences, not the final end goal. But with the aim of interacting with customers it is easy to be overzealous, send too many marketing messages and turn customers off, which was highlighted by our census as one of the top customer frustrations. How do you strike a balance and take personalisation to the next level? “Interacting and reacting with customers the way they want when they are engaging with you” says Alex Lozou, co-Founder and CTO of Trouva. “It should be less about owning the customer, and the customer owning the experience they are having [with you]”.
Eve Sleep understands that a personalised experience, taken to new heights, can equal brand success. Their personalised story mattresses, which included snippets from three much-loved fairy tales and were originally sent to press, proved so popular they created a line of single beds for children which sold out. When asked by an audience member why something that is unseen under a sheet proved so popular, Kuba noted, “… we think a mattress is something incredible and personal. You know it’s there when you’re changing the sheets; it’s about making you feel good.” Personalisation is about making the customer feel aligned and a part of your brand, and this stems from making them feel truly valued.
As Frederica Watson, E-commerce Manager for DeMellier, raised: “Anything you can do to make the customer feel they’ve had an impact on the business — like making suggestions or meeting with VIP customers for opinions — will align them to you more.” It appears the key to truly remaining a customer favourite is making them feel like part of the brand.