“Customer intimacy” is one of those terms that sounds great, but leaves you scratching your head when it comes time to act on it.
There’s no denying consumers are hungry for more meaningful relationships with the brands they chose to engage, but even in 2016, many companies still struggle to define exactly what that relationship looks like and more specifically how to get there.
For those who are still hesitant to take that first step toward implementing a customer intimacy strategy themselves, we’ve broken down the basics of the strategy into three main components.
Let’s start from the top:
WHAT IS CUSTOMER INTIMACY?
Customer intimacy is the combination of technology and data-driven insights to deliver relevant, personalized communication across all channels.
In other words, it’s using customer data to learn what to say to customers in order to build a deeper, more meaningful relationship with them.
Chances are, you’re already collecting the kinds of information that can give great insight into who your customers are and what they’re looking for. Even something as simple as a purchase history can reveal the tastes, interests, and buying patterns of those who’ve engaged with you in the past.
Armed with this kind of customer data, the idea behind a customer intimacy strategy is simple:
Identify high-value customers that are most likely to accept a particular offer and tailor a campaign around the messages they’ll find most compelling. This not only ensures your offer is getting in front of those most likely to take advantage of it, but also demonstrates an interest in forging a closer connection with them.
THE THREE BASIC STEPS OF A CUSTOMER INTIMACY STRATEGY
At its core, customer intimacy strategies boil down to three basic steps:
1. COLLECT AND SEGMENT CUSTOMER DATA
Building intimate customer relationships means using data to demonstrate that you really know your customers.
What kind of data?
Anything and everything you collect from customers. Like I said before, this usually starts with a thorough analysis of purchase history, but consider what other kinds of data you have (or could have) available.
Many ecommerce sites, for example, track registered users’ paths from product to product using cookies. By analyzing the paths your customers are taking online, you can begin to identify interests and needs.
Create a plan for aggregating this customer data into something your team can easily analyze to reveal patterns in customer behavior. These commonalities will not only help you identify who your highest value customers are, but also what kinds of products or services they’re likely to take interest in.
2. IDENTIFY HIGH-VALUE CUSTOMERS
Once you have some customer data to work with, identify who purchased the products and/or services you’re interested in promoting, and segment repeat buyers into a distinct contact list.
In addition to repeat buyers, you’ll also want to identify candidates for upselling or cross-selling opportunities. Make a list of products or services that are related to those you’re promoting, and identify the customers who may find your promotion valuable.
Take a closer look into the buying habits of these groups of high-value customers to highlight common patterns that emerge from the data. These common points of interest can be used to shape your message into something these high-value customers will find compelling.
3. CREATE A CAMPAIGN TARGETED TO CUSTOMERS WITH LONG-TERM POTENTIAL
Once you know who your target customers are, and have identified their needs and wants using existing data, it’s time to craft a personalized campaign.
Crafting your campaign ultimately depends on the customers you identify as high-value. Consider what channels they use to engage with brands and structure your campaign accordingly. Whether it’s a traditional print campaign, email push, or any other means outreach, be sure you’re not wasting resources on channels your customers aren’t using.
Once you know what shape your message will take, it’s time to nail down exactly what that message will be. Highlight the common patterns of interest that emerged from your data and use these taste profiles to say something that speaks to what your target is looking for.
TAKING IT ONE STEP FURTHER
While most companies simply launch a campaign and then cross their fingers, we’ve developed a way to see what’s actually working (and what’s not).
By examining detailed information on all facets of the campaigns we launch with clients, we help companies gather vital data that can be used to make the next campaign that much more effective.