If you've been following our video series over the past year, it might seem like we imagine that customer decisions and their data points are definitive. Customers either shop or they don't, they buy or they don't – right? If only it was that easy. Our video series are a great resource for beginning with preference management, but don't lose sight of the big picture: that collecting preferences and creating a fuller picture of your customer gives you more insight than single data points.
Whether customers are curious or bored, impulsive or research-driven, short on time or ambivalent can change by the day – but what research does confirm is the growing power of branded interactions before or between the sale.
A poll from SAP found that buying decisions are greatly affected by customized interaction with a brand and that tailored subjects and methods of communications lead to invested customers. More than half of those surveyed (54 percent) would like – or may like – an offer of help before they have to ask for it. Nearly one-third of respondents (30 percent) cited "shared values" as a reason they are loyal to a brand.
These statistics point to the larger trend of affinity-building communications and the realization that long-term loyalty is a gradual process. So how do we track shared values? How many times should we help or share expertise before a prospect makes a purchase? It all depends. After all, customers make their decisions on any number of factors.
We talk a lot in this space about sharing ownership of the conversation with prospects and customers. We would be remiss if we didn't also emphasize the element of patience in that equation. Respecting a prospect's wishes on the timing and content of your marketing messages also implies a similar respect for their journey to purchase, however long it may take.
And as marketers, patience can be in short supply. Armed with the best tools, virtually unlimited communications channels and looming deadlines, we want instant results. Yet without patience, we neglect the pre-sale and between sale interactions that are proving so valuable to building loyalty.
Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace.
With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today.
Labels: affinity-building communications, between sale, branded interactions, communications channels, customized interactions, invested customers, long-term loyalty, marketing messages, preference management