Seize the Moment: How to Win at Data Strategy for Moment Marketing

Neal Sharma, CEO & Principal, DEG
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Neal Sharma, CEO & Principal, DEG

Convenience and immediacy–think how much of customer behavior is conditioned by the impulse of the moment. A push notification for a movie coupon inspires you for date night. An email reminds you that you forgot to complete your purchase of that perfect birthday gift.

These instances are constant, so the important question is how to connect with your customers in these moments. The answer is first, you develop a strategic, data-driven understanding of their customer journeys. Second, you follow up with the technical tools needed to provide the right content to the right person, at the right time, and in the right channel.

Here’s the secret behind making it all work: Smart management of data that captures and describes customer behavior.

Customer Journey Strategy

Now more than ever, marketers need touchpoints across all channels – digital and in-store, engagement and transactions. The better you understand customer behavior and context, the more ready you will be to meet or even catalyze their immediate needs.

Customer journeys vary widely across the spectrum. One of our retail clothing clients, for example, identified an average of 2-5 touchpoints across multiple channels before a customer made a conversion. Our analytics platform helped this client better understand how to leverage its marketing dollars across paid and display media, organic and paid social, and email, as well as how to optimize its website for mobile.

  To live in the moment, marketers have to understand the journeys of their customers 

Do past customer behaviors help indicate future purchasing trends? This is the principle behind predictive intelligence, which allows marketers to make personalized product suggestions based on past engagement. For example, if a customer purchases a new computer, it would make sense to target that customer with deals on computer accessories. In order to help a different client configure the algorithms for Salesforce Marketing Predictive Intelligence platform, we pulled down past purchase data and used SPSS Modeler to create a custom market basket analysis. This process uncovered exactly the right patterns we needed to maximize the predictive intelligence tool, as well as to how to set up triggered email campaigns.

The challenge is that there is so much data to work with, from across a wide array of channels. But with the right technology, you can integrate and process all these data streams in order to create meaningful marketing insights that capture the customer journey. This is what it means to be data-driven – the key to moment marketing.

How the Data Works

At DEG, we have always emphasized analytics and insights. Data shapes everything we do, from channel and brand strategies to platform implementations. Recently we have expanded our data expertise to include data management, data warehousing, and data marts. This maximizes our ability to work with heterogeneous data from any source, such as data tables, APIs, and custom data feeds.

To succeed, the process takes the right team, workflow, and tools. We coordinate a core team of data architects, statisticians, and business analysts with support from channel strategists and network and integrations engineers. According to industry best practices, we move the data along an ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) pipeline from raw data to usable data. Next, working within a secure, centralized environment, we construct a data mart. This intermediary structure helps streamline the data pull process, allowing us to pull accurate information and perform more complex analyses. Our UAT process and extensive documentation ensures that we maintain strict standards of data cleansing and hygiene practices, verifying that all data is correct.

That’s the data. Next comes the analysis and the insights, and for these, you need the right tools to view the data from all possible angles. Using SPSS Modeler and Tableau, our statistician and analysts take a variety of approaches to help brands understand every nuance of the customer journey.

Big Picture Thinking

We have entered the age of moment marketing where customers engage with brands from wherever they may be and focus on convenience and immediacy of what they need in that moment. In the eyes of consumers, brand loyalty is fading and is quickly becoming replaced by “who has the best, and easiest, deal for me now.” As the notion that a customer will stick with a brand forever has subsided, understanding consumer behavior has never been more important.

Having the data collected and ready for use is the starting point. However, the real key to moment marketing is in the personalized insights you derive from the data. Mass messages aren’t as effective anymore, because consumers want more. They want to be the focal point. If it doesn’t relate to them, they don’t care. Brands are using data to create 1-to-1 marketing and personalization strategies that meet individual customers in the moment, because relevancy is critical. What happens if a man, who originally came to the site to shop for shoes, receives an email promoting a sale on women’s coats? At best, there is likely no interaction. At worst, he unsubscribes.

To live in the moment, marketers have to understand the journeys of their customers. And the only way to do that is through data, understanding where customers have been in order to know where they will be next. There will always be date nights and birthday gifts. Make sure you have the right technology and strategies to meet customers with messaging that will create the greatest impact.

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