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Retention Marketing Challenges: Advice from CRM Marketers

podcast roundtable article
Podcast guests, Peter Klein, Carl-Adam Makborn, and Tobias Lüder, share their pro tips on how to overcome retention marketing's biggest challenges.

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Getting retention marketing right isn’t easy. Today, retention matters more than ever, and marketers are looking for new tools and strategies to keep customers continually engaging with their brand. In our podcast, we talk to retention marketers each week,  and here are some pro tips to overcome challenges from Peter Klein, Pamela Shadrick and Tobias Lüder. 

Peter Klein
Vice President, Customer Growth and Retention

#1. Make sure you get the purchasing journey correct the first time.

Retention marketers focus on building relationships with their customers. But one common challenge they face is the lack of a frictionless purchasing journey. 

“When someone buys a second time, what it tells me as a marketer is we found them where they were, the message worked, the website worked, the credit card processing, everything worked there. If they searched — because we know customers have multiple touch points before they buy — they didn’t see anything that turned them off in that path. We had inventory. The fulfillment team shipped it out on time, it arrived, and the product works and meets the expectations that they had. If we missed any of those steps, they’re not buying from us a second time.”

#2. Look at all of your data to see the full picture, not just day one ROI.

Having immediate ROI on your campaign is great. But Peter warns not to make assumptions based on that ROI. Instead, it’s about seeing the big picture of your data.

“When it comes to metrics, what I’ve seen in the past with other companies and other roles is sometimes being a little blinded by the day-one ROI. That’s dangerous because if something’s converting a little better, you shouldn’t just automatically call that a win and drop off the other one. What if the second one has more continuity subscribers and a longer lifetime value and you got them from a different channel? It’s really taking a step back and seeing the whole picture.”

#3.💡Tactical advice: Be creative in how you collect zero- and first-party data from your customers.

“The importance of zero-party data and what you can get from the customer in a way that it’s not intrusive, and they’re happy to share something to then get the deal. It can be as minor as, ‘Do you rent or own your home?’ … When you get that information, when you ask for it, and we survey customers all the time also, but when you ask for the information and get it, you can immediately use that to make it a better path for them.”

Be creative in how you collect zero- and first-party data from your customers. It can be as simple as a pop-up on a webpage. But that information can help you build better journeys for them.

Pamela Shadrick
Sr Director of Retention, Engagement Marketing

#1. Gather data on current trends and channels for better testing.

We hear more and more these days how marketers need to be data-driven. But don’t collect data for data’s sake. Use it to drive your testing. And use it to drive your communication to leadership, too.

“It all starts with data. … Being able to say, we have, based upon our data, the opportunity to test this particular channel. You might take a subsegment of your customer base, test a little bit of that, and then based upon those results, that’s when I think the larger buy in comes. It’s really hard to convince those who hold the purse string to give you a lot of money to test something new unless you’ve got some data to back it up.”

#2. Instead of chasing trends, understand what your customer needs.

It may be tempting to chase trends — and there are a lot of them in the marketing space. But doing so will only lead you further away from what your customer wants and needs.

“Don’t chase trends. Understand those trends, but more importantly, understand your customer and how you can be authentic. One brand may be doing something that’s really exciting and wonderful, and you can learn from that, but it doesn’t mean you have to be a lookalike to that brand because it may not necessarily work for your customer or your business. So it’s really important to be authentic.”

#3.💡Tactical advice:

“Strategically understanding the goals of what you’re trying to accomplish help you pinpoint those really relevant KPIs. Whether that’s looking at a retention rate, whether that’s looking at engagement rates, whether you’re needing to use something like scoring, and then being able to connect that. What data do you have to be able to truly understand that and what you’re trying to accomplish and how that relates to your customer?”

Setting your goals first will then help you determine which KPIs to measure and what data to track. Then use that data to optimize future efforts.

Tobias Lüder
Head of CRM

#1. Keep the messaging about your product simple.

As marketers, we want to make sure the customer gets our products. So we spend time explaining and messaging and giving them all the information we think they need. But that may not be the best approach.

“Keep it simple. You might understand your product, but your customers don’t. It’s really important that you explain it in very simple words. Like talking about CRM, people will not take the time to read through your whole email. People will maybe see the header image, they will read the first lines, but they will not spend that much time on it. So keep it simple. Also, it’s more time efficient in that way.”

#2. Make sure you're correctly timing your messaging to customers.

Keep your messages simple. Give customers just enough so they understand your product. But don’t just focus on personalizing your message content. Personalize your message timing as well.

“You need personalized messages, but also the right timing for everything. To give you one example would be a replenishment campaign. You ordered something — let’s say you order toilet paper and then it’s time to refresh and buy toilet paper again. If I don’t send you this message at the correct time, you might not be interested, even though you’re interested in toilet paper, for example. It’s a lot of timing that’s also very relevant. I think that not many people are talking about this timing aspect as well.”

#3.💡Tactical advice:

“We have a global control group, so those guys never receive any CRM communication from us. They’re excluded from every single campaign that we send. So we can also verify on a very high level basis what we’re doing actually drives value to the company. I would encourage everyone to use this because if you have a campaign and a control group, usually the control group will perform worse unless there’s an external factor that maybe you didn’t account for.”

Use creative approaches like a control group to collect more helpful data on your efforts. That way, you can more accurately measure the value you generate.

Want more insights on customer retention? Subscribe to The One to One Consumer Marketing Podcast for the full episodes with these amazing guests and more!

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