Last updated: Blending art and science: Personalized omnichannel marketing

Blending art and science: Personalized omnichannel marketing

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Driving true customer loyalty isn’t easy these days, even for the savviest marketers. In today’s world of always-on commerce, fast-changing customer preferences, and fluctuating economic conditions, there are a lot of obstacles to building lasting customer relationships that yield predictable, profitable outcomes.

For example:

  • How do you deliver personalized experiences that bond customers to your brand, and do it at scale as your business grows?
  • How do you reach customers on the channels where they’re most active at the most impactful moment, and with the best content?
  • How do you provide end-to-end customer experiences that keep customers coming back?
  • And how do you do all of this with smaller teams, in less time, while using fewer resources?
If you ask marketers who succeed at this, they’ll say that there’s both an art and a science to the kind of marketing that will increase customer loyalty. This is particularly true with personalized omnichannel marketing. Banner illustration of a woman wearing sunglasses that says: CONTENT. CHANNELS. PERSONALIZATION.  POWERHOUSE RESULTS. Power to The Marketer has it all, from REAL-LIFE success stories of engagement driving  transformational business results to learning sessions packed with actionable takeaways. Register now.

The art & science of personalized omnichannel marketing

Marketers who successfully navigate the intersection of art and science are the ones who consistently deliver campaigns their customers love and drive the outcomes their businesses need for sustainable growth.

  • The art: With your artist hat on, you use every color available in your palette to engage your customers and deliver memorable, personalized experiences. This includes content creation, the channels you choose to reach your customers, and your creative approach for staying connected to customers.
  • The science: The scientific approach involves tangible tools and empirical evidence. This includes unlocking insights in customer data, measuring marketing efforts to gauge impact, and IT and technology to make it all happen.

Embrace AI for greater personalization, at scale

Personalized experiences aren’t just nice to have; they’re table stakes when it comes to earning and securing a customer’s loyalty.

Research from Emarsys shows that 76% of consumers like marketing communications from brands to be personalized, with 24% preferring them very personalized and 52% liking some personalization.

Marketers can leverage AI to make personalization easier (and more impactful), even as a business scales. AI can ensure personalization is… well, more personal.

That’s because AI-driven personalization is predictive, and helps make sense of data to understand what customers need, and when they need it.

One word of caution: don’t go overboard with your personalized omnichannel marketing. According to a separate Emarsys research report, while nearly 24% of consumers think retailers should use AI for making recommendations more personal, 22% are wary about AI sending them personalized marketing and recommendations.

Boost CX at every touchpoint 

Truly loyal customers will stick with your brand through thick and thin, but every customer has their limit.

Research shows that 44% of consumers will stop purchasing from a brand due to a bad in-store customer experience. Forty-one percent will stop purchasing if they have a bad online experience.

Regardless of channel, if your brand suffers from poor CX, you’ll find it difficult to hang on to the customers you have, let alone attract new ones.

As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. For effective omnichannel marketing, go above and beyond to shore up your CX across all your channels.

What does that look like? While every customer is different, the vast majority of customers are looking for experiences that are:

  • Seamless, frictionless, and convenient
  • Tailored to their specific wants and needs
  • Provide them value in exchange for their money

Focus on incorporating these elements at every touchpoint so that no matter which channel your customer chooses to reach your brand, they’ll have a satisfying experience that will keep them coming back for more. 

Improve collaboration between marketing and IT

When increased customer retention and loyalty is the goal, and personalized omnichannel marketing is the strategy to get you there, synergy with IT is essential.

Research from Forrester, commissioned by Emarsys, shows that 52% of customer-obsessed companies experience better customer loyalty and improved retention from omnichannel efforts across the customer lifecycle. True customer obsession comes from placing the customer at the center of everything a business does, which requires a complete 360-degree view fueled by data — and lots of it, fully unified across all your channels.

So how does IT fit into the picture? While marketers understand their customers’ wants and needs, and know what kinds of experiences their customers want, CIOs and IT teams understand the technology and data required to make those satisfying customer experiences a reality.

Whether you’re a marketer looking to be more customer-centric, more efficient, more data-driven, or more empowered by tech, IT should be your best friend.

Update your omnichannel strategy with new ways to keep up with customers

The past several years have seen an explosion of new channels, and the boom in digital commerce spurred by COVID-19 further blurred the lines between pure-play e-commerce and retail. As a result, omnichannel engagement has become business critical, with marketers eagerly embracing new ways of engaging customers.

A strong omnichannel marketing approach doesn’t adhere to a fixed set of channels; rather, it’s about reaching customers wherever they are.

To build more customer relationships, make sure you’re on the forefront of new and emerging channels where customers are most active.

For example, many of today’s most innovative marketing teams are embracing mobile wallets as a means of reaching and engaging their customers. Although mobile wallets like Apple Wallet and Google Wallet have been around for some time, we’ve seen a massive increase in their adoption in recent months, with research suggesting that “nearly half of the world’s population may choose digital wallets by 2024.”

SAP Emarsys recently launched Mobile Wallet, enabling customers to create and deliver 1:1 mobile wallet experiences that can connect the online-to-offline experience.

Retailers like City Beach are already leveraging this channel in their omnichannel mix to stay better connected to customers

“Mobile is the one channel that’s always with the customer, so it’s an important part of our omnichannel mix,” says James Neill,  Customer Lifecycle Manager, City Beach Australia.

Omnichannel marketing: Don’t forget the human touch

Advancements in martech have empowered retail marketers with new ways to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers, especially through digital channels. While personalized digital experiences are highly effective, nothing beats the relationships forged in-person at the store level.

One of the most crucial parts of building an omnichannel strategy that drives customer loyalty comes down to your ability to connect in-store and digital touchpoints.

When customers engage with a brand, they don’t think in terms of an “online” or “in-person” journey. To them, it’s all one. Marketing teams need to incorporate experiences that help bridge the gap between digital and physical.

At the store level, retailers can offer emailed receipts, in-store surveys, and in-store contests to get to know their in-store shoppers, which in turn, allows those customers to continue their journey digitally.

Conversely, something like a mobile wallet voucher or loyalty card is a great way for a digital-first customer to be identified in-store and pick up where they left off while shopping online. These efforts might seem very marketing-focused, but from the customer’s perspective, it helps them feel more connected to a brand, and better understood as a person.

Keep your eye on the prize

In today’s competitive market, the pressure to build brand loyalty is enormous. However, as a marketer, you must not lose sight of the fact that true customer loyalty extends beyond just the purchase of products or services.

It encompasses the entire customer experience, from personalized interactions to seamless journeys. It requires a holistic approach to customer engagement that prioritizes the customer’s needs and desires, with an eye toward forging meaningful, long-lasting relationships.

Personalized omnichannel marketing is the cornerstone of that holistic approach. Following these strategies, you can deliver satisfying customer experiences that drive better results for your business.

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