Are you one step ahead of today’s retention marketing trends, and already engaging with customers through new channels and with new techniques? Or are you playing catch-up, and hoping your customers don’t abandon you to find other brands to buy from?
Successful marketing means adapting to new trends, and responding to changes in customer behavior and expectations. Today, customers want a lot. They want personalization. They want brands to know about them. And they want to have two-way interactions with those brands in order to build relationships.
How can marketers better respond to changing customer needs? Here are five necessary strategies to succeed in the future of marketing.
1: Be a first mover on messaging channels
Retention is all about building relationships with customers. But that’s hard to do through the one-sided or one-to-many channels that marketers have traditionally used. Customers today are looking for more personalization from the brands they love, and they expect those brands to get to know them. But they see channels like email and display talking at them, and not letting them engage with the brand.
What channels do allow for two-way communication? Messaging apps and social media platforms that offer direct messaging. Messaging allows the personalization, engagement, and unique experiences that customers are looking for. In order to increase retention, be a first mover on messaging channels. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of organizations will turn to messaging, so the sooner you move, the better.
The benefits, of course, are many. First movers can reap outsized rewards before channels become more crowded. Customers will get to experience a new way to interact with a brand — through direct messages — and see you as a forerunner in engagement. Being an early mover also allows you to start developing your AI today so that your chatbots can become better conversationalists and provide more satisfying experiences.
2: Clarify your personalization logic guiding principles
The best way to increase retention is through personalization. Collecting data on your customers’ interests and preferences allows you to more directly target them with relevant content at the right time. But as data collection and personalization efforts increase, marketers need to determine how they’re going to act on that data to deliver those personalized experiences.
This is why marketers need to be clear on the principles that guide their personalization logic. What type of content do you want to send to your customers? Will you be focusing on the next best offer, or something else? Getting this clear will help you better strategize your retention efforts, and will be especially important as predictive modeling and AI becomes more involved in orchestrating the customer journey.
3: Focus on data: collect zero-party data, quality inputs, and statistical analysis
You need customer data in order to drive personalization efforts. Yet with rising data privacy regulations and iOS changes, it’s getting harder to collect customer data in the same ways you did before. And 90% of marketers say that data privacy changes have fundamentally altered how they measure performance. In order to adapt, focus on collecting zero- and first-party data from your customers through privacy-safe channels like two-way messaging.
Zero party data will give you more meaningful insight into what customers want. As AI becomes more involved in the execution of your retention strategy, the data you feed the algorithm will have an enormous impact on the outcomes. In one conversation you can learn more about your customer than in a year of emails and push notifications.
But how can you leverage all this data? Many marketers we talk to say the same thing: Learn the fundamentals of statistical analysis. This will help you better analyze the data that you have, recognize patterns in that data, and extract insights into your marketing efforts from those patterns. By seeing the impact of your efforts, you’ll be better able to build control groups, test your efforts, optimize them, and then scale.
4: Prove ROI and continuously communicate your findings to your leadership team
In today’s challenging economic landscape, organizations want to focus on creating sustainable paths for revenue growth. That’s why the focus is shifting to retention marketing, which is cheaper than trying to acquire new customers and can create that sustainable growth. But how can a marketing team get buy-in and support for those efforts?
In our recent “State of B2C Customer Retention” report, 90% of marketers say their retention tech is generating a positive ROI. So use your analysis tools to prove the ROI you’re getting on your retention efforts. Then, communicate that ROI and impact to leadership. Share your KPIs widely to show the impact of your efforts. This will help to generate more buy-in to retention, and will make the case for expanding your budget for better retention tech tools as well.
5: Learn conversational design and how it fits into your customer journey design
Finally, marketers looking to leverage one-to-one messaging can prepare for the future by learning conversational design. Conversational design is used to make your chatbots sound more natural when they interact with your customers, giving them an easy, fun, and satisfying experience. Start by creating your chatbot with a personality that matches your brand voice. Determine your use cases and script responses so that your chatbot can stay on brand. Build a library of customer intents that your chatbot can rely on to ensure that it’s guiding the conversation and getting smarter. Make sure those conversations align with the journeys you’re building for your customers. 71% of consumers today expect brands to offer conversational experiences, so get ahead of this trend while you can.
Success Starts Now
Are you one step ahead of the trends, and engaging with customers where they are in their journey? Or are you playing catch-up, and hoping your customers don’t go elsewhere? Being proactive in recognizing trends and being responsive to those trends will go a long way in increasing your retention in years to come.