The world, especially the marketing world, has become a little obsessed with data, and for good reason. While much of the possibilities are still in the realm of imagination, big data can be used to tell the customer story much more effectively than simple research and intuition.
Although everybody is jumping on the wagon, does anybody actually know what they are doing? To effectively succeed at building lifetime customer relationships in a multi-channel world, it is not simply about raw data points and overarching trends, but instead focused on putting that data into context (who the customers are, what they want, etc.) and using that knowledge to effectively engage customers through personalization.
The Magic Band
A great example of an effective data driven customer experience, Disney recently went full boar into adoption with a $1 Billion bet on a magical wristband, a wearable device that puts everything you need (money, itinerary, fast pass, ID) on one device, allowing guests to travel lighter and easier. Although it may seem like magic to a 5 year old, Disney World is simply using the data collected from the wristband to revolutionize the customer experience. And it’s working. Here’s why…
The wristband allows guests to Disney World to completely personalize their experience. They can load what rides they want to go on, what food they would like, were they would like to go, etc., giving complete control over how they experience the park. This resonates with customers, because they feel like they are the center of attention, while in reality it allows the park to more effectively organize resources.
Convenience and Simplicity
The process is incredibly simple. From the get go, the device is shipped to the customer, where, in the comfort of home, they input their preferences, such as which rides or what food they prefer. The device is your itinerary, your payment system, your room key, and your map, dispensing with the hassle and clutter of paper carrying separate items. All the user has to do is enjoy their time at the Disney resort. This ease of use has been crucial in the quick adoption of the system.
The data collected from the system and the device itself has allowed Disney World to more effectively engage their guests. Now that the administrative work is being past off, the employees can spend more time interacting with guests. The park can also more effectively manage problems; if guests wait in line too long, the park can add a free slushy to their band. All of this makes the customer feel more important.
Applying the Lesson
Companies need to use collected data to personalize and engage customers from the point of sale, through their entire lifecycle. In the end, an excellent customer experience is what builds trust in the brand or product and keeps them coming back.
Create a Seamless Experience
Lessons learned through data can, and need to, be leveraged to remove roadblocks towards positive customer experiences. By identifying pain points, companies can create a truly frictionless experience. Connect the dots between online and in-person experiences to ensure total brand consistency across all channels. Empower customers and channels to buy from you whenever and wherever they need, and ensure product, price and promotional information is always tailored, secure and up-to-date. The result is a seamless omni-channel experience with your brand.
Make it personalized and relevant
A marketer’s most valuable asset today is attention, but on average, individuals see some 4,000+ advertisements a day. How do you make a potential customer pay attention? Data can help solve this problem by putting your customers into context (who they are and what they want). Using this knowledge successfully may mean taking a more narrow approach to marketing, by targeting more specific groups. Personalization and relevance are key to gaining attention and separating from the pack.
Drive for Positive Business Outcomes
Data is only as good as the outcomes that it produces. In the example above, Disney World used the data that its wristbands collected to create the best possible vacation. What they learned helped them optimize employee resources, drive customers towards the best rides, and anticipate pain points, all of which created an incredible experience. Like Disney World, marketing teams need to use the knowledge gained to drive outcomes. Companies need to understand what they are trying to achieve before turning to the numbers, then harnessing the information at their fingertips to define, achieve and continually improve business outcomes.
Data is a buzz word that’s used heavily these days with marketers all over the world, but knowing about it is one thing — using it correctly is entirely another. Best practices prescribe having an objective that will drive your data goals, and using the knowledge gained to engage our customers. And if all this talk about data and outcomes hasn’t gotten your head spinning, think about the possibilities with machine learning intelligence thrown into the mix.
Maria Pergolino is Global Senior Vice President of Marketing at Apttus.