Developing a Data-Driven Communication Strategy
Consumer engagement in an increasingly complex environment
Thanks to ongoing innovations in customer segmentation and data mining, businesses know more about their customers than ever before. Delivering data-driven communications involves collecting information about consumers’ purchasing habits and using that information to create more relevant and engaging communications. Consumer buying behaviors are continuously shifting, and will continue to do so after we emerge from the pandemic. In spite of these shifts, businesses are tasked with creating messages that seem to perfectly meet a customer’s specific needs at just the right time. These businesses must leverage customer information to develop data-driven communications that will truly resonate with recipients.
A Glimpse Into the Future
Developing a data-driven communication strategy that works seamlessly across all channels involves much more than having access to customer data. Ideally, access to quality data can be a bit like having a crystal ball: marketers can accurately predict the next item that a consumer might purchase or the next transaction that a person might make. An understanding of what might happen before it actually happens will enable you to reach your customers with just the right messaging at just the right time.
Although it is possible to gain a glimpse into the future, there are two primary challenges:
- Most businesses lack the budget to perform comprehensive customer modeling
- We are seeing an increase in legislations that are designed to protect consumer rights and privacy
These obstacles may seem daunting for marketers, but they can be overcome by rethinking the process of delivering data-driven communications. It’s important to consider the ways that data can be used to influence marketing communications—and keep in mind that this involves more than assembling a database of names, addresses, and purchasing information! The best marketing strategies will leverage public data to create a powerful, intense message that makes the most of data-driven communication without violating the consumer’s sense of privacy. The security of personal information is more important than ever with the backdrop of COVID; consumers are hyper-aware of scams that might compromise their security. The pandemic has forced us all to spread out, and cybercriminals are working to exploit this distance as well as the need for remote communications.
Improving the Customer Experience With Data
Statements, invoices, policies, and other documents are great sources of customer data. Even more importantly, they are contextual snapshots in time of a customer’s personal journey. The data in these documents is legal and generally accurate, and combining more than one document from a single customer can offer insight into how that customer’s journey progresses over time. You can also compare like customers to create a profile of likely triggers and behaviors.
By leveraging this information, you can create personalized, relevant communications that will lead customers toward desired actions while also fostering a sense of loyalty. Data can be used to identify customers with a high churn rate and determine the best post-composition actions. An improved customer experience can reduce the risk of churn. Your messaging will be even more impactful if it hits customers across multiple platforms based on their personal preferences, all while providing a consistent experience regardless of channel. Contextual data can be extracted over time to create a relatable, memorable, and meaningful experience.
Strategies for Delivering Data-Driven Communications
The newest techniques in data-driven communication rely on the context of the marketing situation, including time of year and the nature of the product or service. Local or seasonal events can be used to create the best, most targeted communications possible.
In today’s world, businesses of all sizes can develop printed and online communications to create that perfect marketing moment. For example, a print service provider that is helping its clients expand into new areas might consider a direct mail campaign with an e-mail follow-up that leverages a local or culturally relevant event. Creating data-driven communications does not need to involve large amounts of targeted data; you can develop a database from public information and use that information to format customized messages that intrigue recipients and encourage them to engage.
Print can also be linked to online or app-based enhancements to enable a true omni-channel experience. Whereas quick response (QR) codes require upfront knowledge to create a unique 2D barcode, augmented reality (AR) can be added to a printed piece at any point in the process—even after the print design has been developed. Data-driven AR uses a database to trigger unique experiences, and some solutions enable this type of AR experience for clients in a variety of vertical industries. AR involves identifying a trigger image, which is usually all or part of a page of the print. It could be a logo, a graphic, part of an image, or an entire page. The solution will have a way for that image to be captured and mapped to an asset. The asset might be a video, game, or other experience that will launch when someone uses the AR application and focuses it on the trigger image.
Our world continues to change, and data-driven communications are evolving in kind. Today’s businesses have more tools than ever at their disposal, but a data-driven communications strategy must be well thought out to be successful. You’ll want to ensure that you’re meeting data security obligations and complying with the rising tide of data protection laws. The trick is to strike a balance between creating a perfect data-driven marketing moment while still adhering to security compliance issues.
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