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Don’t Let Irrelevant Messaging Cause Your Customers to Leave. Learn What ULTA Is Doing.

"…It's worrying how many consumers feel misunderstood and [feel] that brands aren't listening to them."

These are the thoughts of Jeremy King, CEO of Attest, regarding his company's consumer study, which revealed that over a third of UK consumers feel 'misunderstood' by brands. This could be why, according to Teradata, nearly all (90%) of marketers now believe individualized messaging is the future of marketing moving forward, "beyond segmentation to true one-to-one personalization."

If you don't already have voice of consumer-driven relevancy at the top of your marketing priority list consider this; in a study by Janrain and Blue Research it was noted that 94% of survey respondents took at least one of these actions in response to irrelevant messaging:
  • Automatically deleted the emails (68%);
  • Unsubscribed from emails (54%);
  • Categorized emails as "junk" or "spam" (45%);
  • Became less likely to buy products (29%);
  • Visited the website less frequently (13%); and
  • Never visited the website again (10%).

The study also found that the irritation threshold is now so low that it takes only a few mistakes to turn off consumers: almost half said they automatically delete emails or categorize them as "junk" after being mis-targeted twice; 38% unsubscribe after receiving two mis-targeted emails.

One brand that has re-evaluated how they personalize the customer experience to ensure relevance is beauty retailer, ULTA, which has more than 16 million active loyalty members. And, Fortune recently selected ULTA's CEO, Mary Dillon as one of the most powerful women for 2016.

One of the main reasons ULTA has grown so quickly was the realization that because their products are available through multiple channels, their differentiating factor had to be their consumer experience. To facilitate their omnichannel personalization strategies, they leveraged technology in a campaign they named "connected beauty," which integrates in-store, mobile, social, online and app experiences. "Our concept of connected beauty is really about making sure that we connect with our guests across all touch-points in the same way," says Diane Randolph, CIO at ULTA Beauty.

And according to Lockie Antonopoulos, IT director of mobility at ULTA Beauty, "Technology is giving ULTA the opportunity to strive toward its goals. By giving information at a quicker pace to both our executive team and our store associates, they are able to react in a more timely manner."

Technology allows ULTA customers to get real-time inventory for their local store so they know whether their chosen product is available before they arrive. Consultants can use tablets in-store to access customer information such as shopping history, previous purchases, loyalty point balances, and previous loyalty program redemptions. "We're thinking about the loyalty experience every day... We then attach the info we get from the [in store] consultation to our loyalty program, which enables further personalization," Antonopoulos stated.

ULTA's CMO Dave Kimbell goes on to state, "We're trying to innovate to meet her needs and get ahead of her expectations to personalize the experience whenever she wants it in the store, online or on an app. It's critical to our competitive success because that's how she wants to shop and other retailers that are focused on one or the other can't do that."

TakeAways
  1. Irrelevant marketing now has unprecedented consequences. It has become a reason to sever ties with a brand. If consumers feel their preferences aren't requested or respected, they see little reason to buy from that brand, given the many other choices.
  2. True relevancy is based on an omnichannel strategy which prioritizes getting to know your customer's individual preferences.
  3. Understand how your customer shops your brand and their preferred touchpoints. Build ways to connect these touchpoints so no matter how they engage, they are getting relevance and consistency.



About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

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