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The Exchange Lab

Three ways to build customer loyalty in a disruptive digital age

Customer loyalty is changing but achieving it is not impossible, if brands approach it in the right way. Here's how to win your customers' hearts and minds - and keep them...

Brands increase spend every year, yet many see diminishing returns on traditional marketing efforts. Marketers know and feel the daily struggle of balancing the need to build more customer value and maximize return. So what has changed?

Digitalization has had a profound impact on consumers’ expectations. As a result, the volume of data available has grown exponentially – far beyond what organizations and the systems that support them can deal with. The number of channels a brand can use has significantly grown providing a multitude of options.

If managed correctly, digital provides brands with an unprecedented opportunity to leverage this data, choice and connectivity to engage and grow their business. Here are three things to focus on:

1. Extend your customer-first mindset to your data.
Bring in as many data sources as possible and make sure they’re all linked to a user or group of distinct users. From demographic, transactional, product, preference, social, ratings, to advertising and behavioral targeting – using data from multiple sources provides a valuable picture of a consumer. Programmatic data particularly, in particular, provides a much broader view of the consumer beyond what organizations see. Brands can learn a lot about their audiences simply by understanding the type of website a user visits."

Some get caught up in the fact that not all users are 100% matched across all data sources or if some matches are made via fuzzy matching or predictive matching. But that’s ok – knowing more about a small group of customers delivers better models and allows you to take these learnings and confidently test against bigger groups. 

2. Focus on customer experience – be where they are.
Evolving customer expectations places a premium on experiences and is the key to building loyalty in the digital age. Use your data to understand how your customers behave and where they are (both digitally and physically with geo targeting). If they’re frequent mobile users, make sure you optimize towards that. 

Use the contextual information you have to authentically message and position your brand with your desired audience. Do they have a healthy lifestyle? Do they have children? Are they into Taylor Swift? Understand what they care about, what motivates them and where they are – and build the customer experience around that.

3. Win with speed, scale and consistency.
Just as important to unlocking value and building loyalty is the ability to recognize quickly, change and scale experiences. Ensuring that any changes are considered across the organization (marketing, customer service, product, IT) and across the many end-to-end customer journeys (from channel to delivery to follow up) are hallmarks of companies that win. New cloud application and automation tools allow us the flexibility to update quickly, streamline and simplify thousands of journeys consistently.

Edward Lee is VP, North American Operations & Business Intelligence at programmatic specialist The Exchange Lab.

The Exchange Lab is the headline sponsor of Campaign’s Digital 40 over 40.

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