Digital: Intelligent Customer Engagement for Growth

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We are living in The Age of Impatience. One of the greatest expectations our guests have is to shop and engage wherever and whenever they want.Jeff Jones, chief marketing officer, Target

Digital engagement with customers has become an imperative to preserving existing relationships, let alone growing customer value. Five rules needed to thrive in this new landscape:

1. Be where your customers are — develop an integrated multi channel presence

Digital: Intelligent Customer Engagement for Growth AAEAAQAAAAAAAAm9AAAAJGYzZmMxZDI1LTVkZTQtNGUxOC1hNjc5LWIyYTZiNjYyZWM3Ng

Consumer decision journey is an iterative process of consideration, evaluation, purchase and experience across online and offline channels. Businesses need to grow their presence on desktop, tablet, mobile as well as their marketing across display, paid search, search engine optimization, social, affiliates and email. Retailers often see increase in spending of three to six times for cross-channel customers versus single-channel customers.

More than just establishing a digital presence, businesses need a near real-time, single view of consumer behavior and actions across products and services, and channels. This enables consumer-cue-based marketing to drive optimal engagement. We achieved three-fold increase in incremental transactions by implementing “abandoned payment” campaign that increased capture of consumer intent to make a transaction. Businesses are increasingly depending on consumer data to equip call center agents with the most relevant message to share with each customer.

2. Publish like news media — deliver content at an hourly pace

Digital: Intelligent Customer Engagement for Growth AAEAAQAAAAAAAAqtAAAAJDU1Y2Q0ZjhjLWYxNGQtNGM1MS04NmM4LTMzZTUzYmNjZDIzMgDeepening customer relationships requires a two-way, continuous dialogue, a steady stream of original, fresh and relevant content connecting consumers with the brand. Instead of a few campaigns a year, businesses need to convey hundreds of messages a week, through blogs, videos, interviews, reviewer forums, photos and so on. Offers need to align to appropriate customer segments (e.g., higher value offers to higher-value prospects) to be effective for rapid deployment. Customer-generated content such as crowd-sourced photos for campaigns or reviews require focused content management and content supply chain to align impressions across multiple platforms. Each mobile coupon, email, web page, text message and in-store promotion must be coordinated so that their messages are consistent and relevant — inconsistencies between product data on different media or channels frustrate customers who will likely abandon.

3. Personalize experience — increase relevance with targeted and dynamic content

Digital: Intelligent Customer Engagement for Growth AAEAAQAAAAAAAAmTAAAAJDY0NDY4YzNjLTQ4MWMtNGZkZS04NzdiLWRjN2M5YTczYjVkNwIncreasing revenue through consumer engagement centers around the next action, not the next product. As opposed to traditional up-sell mentality, optimal engagement relies on knowing what behaviors will enhance customer relationship (e.g., app downloads, clicking to chat, redeeming an offer, watching research videos), which may not always be another transaction. Developing this knowledge requires an understanding of consumer expectations by segment. The greater the shift from broad segmentation to micro-segmentation to one-to-one targeting using customer data insights, greater the impact – e.g., location-specific imagery in mobile app, or enable customers to create a customized mobile app homepage. Even without reaching one-to-one personalization by customer, however, significant revenue impact can be achieved with tailoring by segment.

 4. Act like a venture capitalist — buy and partner for new capabilities

Digital: Intelligent Customer Engagement for Growth AAEAAQAAAAAAAAuCAAAAJDgzZTljMmZlLTUyNjUtNGJhMS04NjY4LWEyZDA4YzMwOTFkMAIT talent skilled in newer disciplines represent severe constraint for businesses. Incumbent businesses have often adopted aggressive buy-or-partner approaches to start-ups, realizing that building in-house capabilities can take too much time in a competitive market. These businesses take a distinctively “tech” approach to roll-out, focusing first on building market share – reaching 40 percent penetration of the adult population, before pursuing monetization strategies. Challenge, however, is to time acquisitions to optimize trade-off between proof of concept and rich valuation. Incumbent businesses are increasingly taking incubator-portfolio approach, taking minority stakes in a variety of mid-stage companies.

5. Execute like a tech company — drive rapid pilots to test and learn at scale

Digital: Intelligent Customer Engagement for Growth AAEAAQAAAAAAAAyVAAAAJGJjNGI2NmRjLTgwOGEtNGZiYi1iNGRmLTFiYjUzYTNkNDc2OAIncreasing revenue in a digital world involves rapid execution of pilots, robust measurement and quick action on lessons learned, optimizing subsequent iterations and scaling quickly when a winner hits. Launch and release cycles must be far more compressed than those to which businesses are accustomed. Tech titans like Facebook organize into a thousand teams of ten rather than ten teams of a thousand in order to test then rapidly scale pilots that demonstrate early success. Mindset shift in driving revenue through consumer engagement in a digital world is power of incremental improvement — result of hundreds of small tests and pilots that are optimized and quickly scaled.

In a rapidly changing landscape, incumbent businesses that understand and execute on the five rules will be positioned for growth

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