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How Do You Build Strong Customer Relationships When Your Customers Are Spread Across the Map?

Learn how national marketing leaders can empower local representatives to build strong customer relationships.

We know that one of the key purposes of marketing is to build trust and relationships with current and potential customers, turning them from one-time shoppers to life-loyal customers and advocates. And we also know that this process can feel like an uphill battle. After all, a recent study by Trinity Mirror found that 69 percent of consumers don’t trust advertising, and 42 percent distrust brands in general, considering them to be “remote, unreachable, abstract and self-serving.”

The onus to provide consistent, authentic, personalized marketing communication across every channel is significant, and research shows that, to build trust and drive results, the personalization aspect is critical. In fact, McKinsey reports that personalization in marketing can reduce acquisition costs by as much as half, lift revenues by up to 15 percent and increase marketing spend efficiency by up to 30 percent. And Accenture has found that 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize them, remember their previous interactions and provide relevant offers and recommendations.

So, building those strong customer relationships really hinges on personalization — showing them offers they’ll actually be interested, providing value that’s truly relevant, and indicating that you value every customer as more than just a transaction. But personalized marketing campaigns are challenging enough for businesses with just one location and demographically similar customers. How can brand leaders managing businesses with locations (and marketers) flung across the country build trust with potential customers in every region?

Start by Ensuring a Quality Brand Experience in Every Location

The first step to making sure every prospective customer feels valued is delivering the same high-quality marketing materials from every brand location. As the national marketing leader, you’ve put immeasurable time and hard work into building a brand that customers will find valuable, respectable and trustworthy. If prospects in different regions are receiving materials of varying quality and inconsistent messages, they’re likely to walk away, opting to buy from a brand with more integrity, that values relationships enough to invest in high-quality outreach for every potential customer.

Of course, when marketing materials are being produced by many different brand representatives, it’s not always easy to maintain those standards of quality. Streamline and support local marketing by centralizing collateral creation, production and tracking in one, easy-to-access hub, where local marketers can download and order the latest marketing assets. You can learn more about maintaining brand integrity across multiple locations in our recent blog post, but in short, a centralized system empowers marketers to produce high-quality materials and consistent messaging for every region and across every touchpoint, laying the foundation for strong customer relationships.

Empower Local Marketers to Tailor Campaigns to Their Individual Audiences

But as we’ve mentioned, consistency and quality are just step one. It’s equally important — if not more so — to tailor those materials to their particular audiences. What do local marketers need to be able to personalize?

  • Geography: These are the basics. The New York City brick-and-mortar address won’t be useful for potential customers in Austin, Texas. There may also be verbiage adjustments based on regional linguistic differences or varied product promotions based on regional preferences and trends.
  • Offers: This one’s a biggie. Marketo recently found that 79 percent of consumers are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous experiences they’ve had with the brand. Existing customers are likely to balk at a “nice to meet you” postcard, but they might appreciate a loyalty discount. Someone who made a purchase last week will be turned off by a “we miss you” note, while that may be just the ticket to reengage a dormant customer.
  • Names: Adding a customer or potential customer’s name to a marketing message may seem like a minor detail, but it’s actually incredibly powerful. Adding the recipient’s name to the postcard will catch their eyes and make it stand out in the pile of junk in the mailbox.

So, how can national marketers give local brand reps the leeway to tailor materials without jeopardizing branding? The way we see it, there are two key steps here:

First, provide branded campaign templates local marketers can use to create personalized campaigns, updating geographic information, regional lingo and local promotional details without changing key messaging or design features. After all, local marketers and store leaders know their unique customer bases far better than the national brand leaders. Personalization will be most effective if it’s done by the folks who truly know their customers’ needs, values and preferences.

Second, give local marketers on-demand access to print and fulfillment vendors that can handle variable data printing, personalizing each piece with the recipients’ name and helping ensure the right offers go to the right people. This part of the equation is critical because not every marketing execution vendor can handle personalized mailings accurately, and if the recipient names get scrambled in the mail, or new-customer offers get sent to longtime advocates, all that upfront personalization effort was for nothing.

Relationship-building is a critical goal for brand marketers, and it becomes even more complicated when local marketers are implementing tailored campaigns for a wide range of locations. Here at OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on delivering beautifully executed, high quality and perfectly personalized print marketing campaigns to help our clients build strong customer relationships at every phase. When your business is ready to enhance localized marketing strategies, we invite you to contact us to learn more, or request a quote on your next project.