Stop shouting at your customers – they can hear you just fine

Brands have the data they need to have meaningful conversations with their customers, but at the moment, all they're doing is shouting, writes Customology's Michael Barnard.

Like many people, one of the first things I do each morning is clear my inbox of unnecessary EDMs I have received between 5:30am and 8:30am.

It is understandable why brands want to get in front of their target market during this timeframe as the majority of the population look at their phone first thing in the morning. But this type of activity has created a reoccurring problem where brands are shouting at customers instead of engaging in a discussion with them in order to influence their next purchase.

Brands are sending out communications with minimal to no relevance to the recipients’ purchasing behaviour. Often they are offered a brand’s entire inventory, and occasionally, they are offered the exact product they have just purchased.

We live in an age where, as marketers, we have access to a phenomenal amount of data about a customer’s motivation and buying habits, and I challenge brands to think differently about firstly, how they are using this data and secondly, why they keep shouting at their potential customers.

Customers are increasingly trusting brands with data about themselves, often without any hesitation. This overflow of data creates a false sense of value, with some marketers believing the more data they capture, the more they can communicate, thinking this will add value to the customer experience, as they assume each message will increase customer engagement.

What needs to change is how we use data to better understand why a customer is choosing a brand, and figure out how can marketers can continue the customer conversation between one purchase and the next.

Too often, data is seen as valuable purely because it contains figures, trends and observations. The real value in data is the conversation you can have with your customer.

Too much talking and not enough listening

The opportunity to reach customers at almost any time of the day, regardless of where they are based geographically, has created this problem of brands over-communicating. This needs to stop.

Customers don’t like to be told the same thing, repeatedly, and this is can lead to them disconnecting with your brand. Marketers need to listen to what customer data is telling them before they communicate to customers.

Ask yourself: are you repeating something the customer already knows and doesn’t need to hear again? Are you recommending something to them to complement what they have already purchased? Have you looked at their purchasing patterns and are you creating message fatigue?

These are all great questions, and listening to what your data is telling you about the types of customers your brand is attracting will help you to create a tailored conversation. The right type of conversation will keep your customers engaged with your brand longer.

During December, more than $50 billion worth of retail trading sales were created. This treasure-trove of data is just waiting to be analysed to help inform marketing activity across the country.

Michael Barnard is general manager at Customology.


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