Customer vs Content – Who is King?

In a world where marketers are being told day in, day out that “Content is King” we have noticed at Leapfrogg that many businesses have taken this mantra too far and are producing content for contents sake.

Our thoughts seem to be shared by many other marketers shown by the number of similar comments in this brilliant SEO Mythbusting piece we have come across this week.

In this article a number of digital marketing experts have commented that too many times they see businesses churning out a huge amount of un-engaging or useful content because they have been told that if you create lots of content, people will link to and visit your site, which will in turn increase rankings on Google.

This just isn’t true. Yes having interesting, useful and optimised content on your site is very important and forms a large foundation of Googles ranking algorithm BUT there is no point in creating that content if it isn’t going to engage with your customers and if no-one is going to know that is it there.

Likewise content isn’t “just” a load of blog posts housed in a particular area on your site. Content is the entire experience you give your customers and potential customers both on and off your website.

As we have been preaching for years (see our guide to “Customer First Digital Marketing”) putting your customer at the heart of everything you do in your business is the path to success.
Here are our 3 top tips for retailers to follow to make sure the content they are creating will achieve results.

1. Make sure you know who you are creating the content for? Have you really taken time to profile the type of people who might read this content and how useful and engaging it will be to them? What benefits will they get from consuming that content? Will it drive them to take a particular action? Would they want to share it? Remember its quality over quantity. A couple of bits of content that really engage and generate buzz is far better than dozens of pieces of static content that no-one interacts with.

2. Don’t just stick to blog posts. There are a huge number of different types of content that can be used as part of an effective engagement strategy across many different channels. Think Instastories, Interactive guides, Video, Pinterest boards, Facebook apps, Podcasts etc. Every content workshop we run with clients includes up to 30 different types of content! Again think of the type of content that works best for your brand AND your customers.

3. Amplify your content once you have created it. Don’t just create your content, upload it and keep your fingers crossed it works! Make sure you proactively promote it! Share it via email, social, influencers, link to it from other content. Better still get influencers to co-create content with you and share it with their community.

The above tips are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to effective customer engagement that will also increase online visibility. However, remembering them when it comes to planning your content will start you off in the right direction.

Always remember content isn’t king, your customers are!! Make content for them, not the search engines.

For further advice on effective content & customer engagement please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01273 322830 or email enquiries@leapfrogg.co.uk

3 Christmas marketing tips you still have time to action

Well folks now that Halloween is over all thoughts are now firmly with the approaching Christmas sales season. Most retailers are now heading into their busiest time of year whether that is pre-Christmas gift buying or post-Christmas sales.

 

 

We always recommend that the Christmas marketing wheels start turning in July but for those retailers who have left it late (I hope not many of you!!) there are still things you can action now to maximise Christmas sales over the coming weeks.

Here are our 3 top tips that can be easily implemented now.

1.Christmas gift curation

If you sell products that are suitable as a gift then tell your customers about it! Create a separate category on your site labelled Christmas and put in it a selection of products you think are most likely to sell at Christmas or you want to particularly push. Use your paid search and clear links on the home page to drive customers to it that may be looking for gifts. In our time pressured society many consumers want you to make recommendations of great gifts to buy and why, so make it easy for them. Create sub categories “gifts for him” “gifts for her” “gifts under £20” etc. and include in your product descriptions why those products make great gifts and how quickly you can deliver them.

2.Talk to your customers about giving your products as gifts

I know it sounds obvious but you have a whole load of customers who have bought from you before that may not be thinking of you when it comes to buying presents for others. Make sure as part of your ongoing email marketing program that you are sending emails with content related specifically to Christmas gifting, not just Christmas offers (hopefully linking through to the Christmas section on your site).

3.Don’t forget key seasonal dates

Yes of course everyone knows about Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc. but just make sure you have your ducks in a row on what you are going to offer and when. Amazon have moved the goal posts again only this week by announcing 52 days of Black Friday sales with discounts galore up until 22nd Dec. They have even created a Black Friday section of the site. Whatever your take on promotional activity around these dates make sure you know what you are offering, for how long and how you are going to promote that activity across all of your channels. One tip is make sure you up weight your paid budgets for key sellers and key discounted products as well as brand around those key events to make sure you don’t miss out on traffic.

This post is short and sharp but is probably all you have time to digest in this busy season. Combine these quick tips with those from Lucy and Gwen in our previous Christmas marketing posts and you should be in a much stronger position this festive season not only to gain new customers but maximise their value into 2017.

Boost your festive ROI
Using the Christmas rush to build 2017 sales

Making Christmas 2016 your best ever

We regret to inform you that we can no longer go ahead with the event scheduled on 19th October due to the RMT rail strikes. We hope to host another event soon, so please watch this space. Instead we shall be creating a series of blog posts aimed at giving top tips to independent retailers on how they can boost the festive trading period and make 2016 the best year ever!

 

The Leapfrogg team are continuing our crusade to help boutique and independent retailers learn the lessons of larger retailers and compete successfully online.

Christmas is an extremely important time of the year for all retailers so we are launching the first in a series of events for independent retailers to help you maximise your online results this festive season.

A three hour event to inspire, motivate and give you the tools to make this Christmas trading period – your best ever
19th October 2016
4.30 – 8.00pm The Froggbox, Central Brighton

The first part of the event will be an interactive workshop covering the following:

  • Learn from retailers who have been there and done it at Christmas. What worked, what didn’t. What they will be doing this year.
  • Delivering immediate, quick revenue wins. Turning the dial up on the activity you are doing already to boost ROI.
  • Increasing sales throughout the Christmas trading period. Promotional tips, navigating the big sales days, delivering the right customer experience.
  • Using the Christmas rush to build a database for customer engagement into 2017. Use a successful period of customer acquisition to boost sales for the rest of the year.
  • Networking with retailers facing the same challenges as you

After our interactive workshop on how to make the most of your Christmas sales, enjoy a glass of pre-festive bubbles while meeting the most influential bloggers in the South East who are keen to promote your products this season.

Our blogger showcase enables you to display either incoming Christmas stock, or existing ranges in an informal, relaxed setting with local, high profile bloggers looking for seasonal, gift guides and product review content.

£49.50 + VAT per retailer for workshop and blogger showcase space
The fee admits 2 attendees from each retailer

Go to www.leapfroggchristmasevent.eventbrite.co.uk to book your place now!

Why smaller retailers are perfectly placed to put the customer first

In the age of customer-first marketing – one might think that bigger retailers are at a clear advantage due to higher budgets, resource, and senior thinking.

Yes, of course, the larger retailers are able to throw money behind building customer experience teams and employing people to solely focus on uniting the business in putting the customer first. However, in our experience of working with all sizes of retailers – we actually think smaller retailers have the edge here.

In this post, I will explore three reasons why I think boutique retailers will find it easier to put the customer first:

Fewer customers

Most retailers would not view it as a benefit to having fewer customers than another, however, one of the main challenges larger retailers face in putting their customer first is having a huge number of customers that they have to understand and cater for.

To truly place the customer at the heart of their business, retailers must know who they are as people, how they shop with them now, how they shop with their competitors and how they can best engage with them in the future. This is a lot of data and insight to gather, analyse and take action from.

The fewer customers a retailer has, the less of a job it is to collect and organise data about them. The less time it will take to gather insight about them and what they want – the more simple it is to get inside the mind of the people who buy their products!

Flexibility

Smaller retailers have less complex business structures and processes that allow them to make change quicker.

We have worked with larger retailers who want to make change within their business to put more of a focus on the customer, but it requires huge resource and management to make those changes and put new processes in place.

We move in an extremely fast paced world and those retailers who can adapt and change first will give their customers the experience they want first.

Customer closeness

Smaller retailers are closer to their customers already and that’s a fact. In a small retail team, many will have direct contact with customers and therefore already have those direct relationships through which to get to know them better.

There is no excuse for boutique retailers not to be working hard to put their customers’ experience as a priority within their business.

Those that are not putting the customer first will be left behind by the competition who are already tailoring the experience they offer to create growth.

If you are a smaller or more boutique retailer the biggest challenge you will likely be facing is the fact that you are so busy running the day to day of your operations that taking time out to develop insight, analyse data and think strategically can be very hard to come by.

Luckily Leapfrogg are now able to help! We are now able to focus our experience with working with over 100 retailers on helping smaller and boutique retailers achieve their strategic goals. Our senior consultants act as board level advisors and in-house change makers to enable business owners or managers to take the time out to think strategically, start to work in an agile manner and take action to focus on the customer first.

Speak to us now about how we can help you start making a change in your business.

Leapfrogg shifts into strategic retail consultancy

I’m delighted to announce some exciting changes here at Leapfrogg. We’ve evolved into a full strategic retail consultancy and merged with the well respected digital agency, Cobb Digital.

Whilst Leapfrogg’s core has always been in digital marketing for the premium and luxury retail sector, recent years have seen us take on a more strategic and consultative role to cater to the ever-changing needs of our clients. More and more of our clients, such as Rockett St George and Tocris, have been leaning on Leapfrogg’s years’ of retail expertise for customer insight and retail strategy to help guide them on their online journey and further support their in-house digital teams.

In order to accelerate our niche consultancy offering further, we have merged with our friends at Cobb Digital. Our team of highly skilled digital marketing consultants and portfolio of wonderful clients will continue to carry out and receive the fantastic quality and level of service they are used to as part of a wider exciting team led by James Dempster MD of Cobb Digital. The delivery team will now be based at Cobb Digital’s brand new offices in New England House and our retail consultancy arm will remain based at Leapfrogg HQ.

The merger of our delivery teams has fast-tracked our ability to not only deliver a fantastic multi-channel offer to the combined portfolio of existing clients but also accelerate the growth of our Insight, Strategy and Consultancy team here at Leapfrogg.

Leapfrogg and Cobb Digital will both remain separate companies, but we will work closely together as a result of this deal. The merger means myself and other senior consultants at Leapfrogg are now able to work more flexibly with retailers of all shapes and sizes and focus our time and years of expertise on delivering game-changing customer insight, retail, and digital strategy.  We will be delivering ongoing board level advice and mentoring to help retailers across the board build their business for growth and develop a market-beating proposition and experience for their customers.

Exciting times to come!

Social selling: understanding the purchase cycle

Social media is a major part of the customer journey. A growing number of consumers are using social media to search for, discover, purchase and recommend products. This offers retailers a great opportunity to build a relationship with their customers and connect with them throughout their purchase cycle. But from our experience, few retailers are making the most of this opportunity.

 

The options

There is an almost dizzying array of ways that brands can sell direct to consumers through social platforms. For some time now, Facebook have been including a “Shop Now” call to action in adverts, which encourages users to click through directly to the brand’s website, and this feature has now been made available on Instagram as well. Facebook also offers the opportunity to embed a “Facebook Store” within your brand’s Facebook Page, to allow users to browse, like, share and initiate purchase within the platform:

Untitled design (2)

For the time being, these stores are integrated with your current ecommerce platform and transactions are processed through your existing website. However, Facebook is currently testing functionality that would allow users to pay and complete their purchase entirely within Facebook through a third party payment solution.

Facebook has also launched a suite of ad tools aimed at driving and measuring footfall to physical stores, as well as click-to-call ads to drive direct sales and enquiries. A number of brands have jumped on Facebook’s chatbot functionality to provide 24/7 customer service and process sales:

1800 Flowers Live chat

Combined with improvements to the Facebook pixel, allowing you to track website behaviour that is influenced by your Facebook ads, and new audience targeting options for dynamic product ads, Facebook is very much leading the way in social commerce opportunities.

However, Pinterest is still one of the most powerful forces in social commerce. 93% of Pinners are using the platform to plan purchases, and on average they spend 70% more than other online shoppers. While not yet available in the UK, Buyable Pins, which will let users purchase a product directly from a Pin that inspires them, are something that all online retailers should be watching closely.

Even Snapchat is getting in on the act, having recently launched Shoppable Snaps – ads that allow users to swipe down for purchase options. Snapchat has struggled to attract the hordes of advertisers that Facebook has bagged, given its expensive pricing structure, basic targeting options and limited analytics, but they are hoping that a partnership with Nielsen and renewed trust in the platform will turn that around. Another channel that has struggled to effectively monetise its platform, Twitter is testing its own “Buy Now” button for ads.

The purchase cycle

It’s not just the moment of purchase itself that is influenced by social media. Consumers involve social media at every point in their purchase cycle:

journey

According to research, 43% of UK consumers currently use social media to research products before making a purchase, and this number is growing. Many consumers now search on social media platforms without consulting a search engine at all. Making sure that your social channels are optimised for discovery and engagement will only continue to become more important.

Once a customer finds your brand on social media, the experience they encounter could have a major impact on their desire to purchase from you. Social media users expect brands to be extremely responsive on these platforms: 42% expect a response within an hour, and 32% expect a response within 30 minutes. Not providing distinctive, interactive content and communicating often with your followers could lead to customers feeling negative towards your brand – and 95% of customers say they are inclined to share negative brand experiences on social channels, which could impact your reputation amongst other potential customers.

When consumers are making their final decision about which brand to purchase from, 80% are influenced by reviews on social media platforms. Enabling and encouraging customers to leave reviews, and sharing customer feedback, can be incredibly valuable to your business – especially as research suggests even negative reviews have a more positive impact on customers than no reviews at all.

Once a customer has made a purchase, allowing them to connect their social accounts for a more personalised experience and communicating with them on social platforms not only gives them a better customer experience and therefore makes it more likely they will shop with you again, but also encourages them to share their experience for new researchers to see.

The halo effect

Social commerce doesn’t only drive social sales. When we launched a Facebook shop for one of our clients, we were pleased to see a 74% increase in revenue. However, we also saw a 160% increase in direct conversions and 133% increase in organic search conversions. We know that customers mostly use social media on their mobiles, but prefer to complete purchases, especially high-end purchases, on desktop. Customers discover the brand through the Facebook Shop or adverts on mobile, then return directly to the website or through organic search later on desktop. Social media advertising also creates “warm leads” – those who have seen an ad for a brand on a social platform are twice as likely to click on a PPC ad. True enough, PPC conversions for our client increased by 56% following our Facebook activity.

Think integrated

Customers are likely to come into contact with your brand on a multitude of channels before they make a purchase decision – the more seamless and integrated you can make their experience, the more likely they will purchase, continue to purchase, and influence their networks to do the same. Your social media channels aren’t just a place for you to advertise, they are an extension of your physical and online stores – a place where customers will browse, ask questions, make complaints, ask other customers’ opinions, and purchase. Rather than simply using social channels to promote your business, think about how you can use those channels to offer the best possible service to your customers. Then you know they’ll be back.

To find out how Leapfrogg can help you develop a social commerce and customer service strategy, please do get in touch.

 

The Insight Edit: How do consumers shop for food and drink online?

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of over 1000 retail consumers that we engage with on a regular basis to help us understand customer needs and expectations from the brands and retailers they buy from.

Every month, we question them on a range of areas from buying behaviours and brand opinion, to emotional purchase triggers and their recent shopping experiences.

The Insight Edit is our weekly bite size edit of the insight we gain from our panel in our search to truly understand the mind of the premium customer.

Recently, we have seen a real emergence of great online food and drink brands and retailers, from niche food retailers such as Planet Organic to the booming sector of food subscription services such as Gousto.

To further understand online food & drink shoppers’ evolving behaviours and attitudes, we asked our Panel whether they purchased food and drink items online than and their motivations for doing so.

food and drink stats
63% of the panel stated they had bought food or drink online (excluding supermarket groceries). Although this figure may appear to be behind other sectors, it’s still a large percentage of consumers and it shows growth opportunities for the sector.

We then asked those who had bought food and drink online what types of retailers they had bought from:

40% had bought from speciality food websites (e.g. health foods, wine retailers)

27% had bought from an individual food/drink brand online (e.g. Nespresso, Twinnings)

24% had bought from food subscription sites (Abel & Cole, Graze)

We then asked them why…

10% purchase food and drink online because they receive a wider choice of products

31% purchase food and drink online because it’s more convenient

12.9% purchase food and drink products they cannot purchase elsewhere

11% purchase food and drink online because the prices are cheaper

With such a low percentage of our panel being driven by price, brands and retailers selling food and drink online do not need to be price driven to drive sales as long as they are offering seamless and easy path to purchase. Successful online food and drink brands will be those with a clear and engaging brand and a range of products that are not easily available in stores.

Read more about the food and drink retailers who are engaging successfully with their customers in our latest engagement report which looks into the growing food and drink subscription sector.

The level of customer intelligence within premium retail

Back in February, we launched the Customer Intelligence Index in partnership with our friends at rais.

With such a high level of competition amongst brands to deliver the right experience for their customers, we developed the index to help retailers understand their levels of customer intelligence against their competitors across the following areas:

  • Data: The ability to capture, manage and manipulate multiple forms of data about their customers
  • Knowledge: The ability to use data combined with customer research to develop a deep level of insight and understanding about their customers, who they are and their needs and expectations from the brands they shop with
  • Business readiness: Their internal structure, skill and resource to use customer data, insight and knowledge to make impactful changes across the business

Since the launch, more than 75 retailers have completed the index which has yielded some interesting results.

Picture3

As you can see from the above graph so far, we have discovered the following trends:

Knowledge: Behavioural

Most retailers believe they understand how their customers are behaving when they shop online – from the products and offers that work for them to the channels and touchpoints that they shop through. This means that they are able to use their analytics to assess what is currently delivering good results and adjust marketing accordingly. This is a very tactical level of customer knowledge.

Knowledge: Holistic & qualitative

Approximately, half of the retailers believe they have a good understanding of the types of people who buy their products, what is important to them and why they buy the products they sell.

The lowest level of customer knowledge was found to be in the area of advanced and predictive knowledge. This means that although retailers believe they understand how their customers are currently shopping with them, they don’t have a deep enough understanding of them to predict how they might shop with them in the future. This means that they don’t have a view of the lifetime value of their customers, they don’t feel confident in suggesting products to them and are not sure how much they should, therefore, be spending to acquire customers through specific channels.

This would suggest that much of the scoring around holistic customer insight is based on assumption rather than deep knowledge.

This is further supported by the fact that across the board, retailers scored themselves the lowest across all areas of customer data.

Data: Manipulation

This is the lowest scoring area of intelligence. This means that retailers believe they can capture data and in most cases store and manage it, but lack the ability to analyse it effectively to turn it into useful insight.

A similar story is seen within the area of business readiness. Whilst retailers are scoring themselves ‘average’ for strategic readiness and their in-house skills, they fare worst in their level of in-house process that enables them to use data and insight effectively within the business.

It’s only by internal change led from within the business will fix many of these lowest scoring areas. Overall there is a great deal of work across all areas of customer intelligence to be done across retail.

So how do different sizes of business compare against each other?

Graph 2

As one might expect, the larger retailers with a turnover of more than £50,000,000 have the highest levels of customer intelligence in all areas bar one – customer data capture. We suspect, they have such a complex and wide customer base that it is harder for them to ensure they are capturing all customer data effectively.

The size of the retailer with the lowest scores across the board is those with a turnover of between £1,000,000 and £5,000,000. These companies need to view a larger customer base, but due to size are limited by structure and resource on how to effectively capture and develop insight on those customers.

These are companies most likely to be in phases of high growth where the need to acquire customers is overriding the ability to understand them and ensure they are being delivered the right experience.

So what does the picture look like if we compare sectors within retail?

Picture5

Currently, there is no real difference of note within the sectors bar the fact that the food and drink sector have some catching up to do.

This is likely to be because, compared to other sectors, food and drink retailers were late to take advantage of online opportunities as their customers still purchased in-store, so they still have a large pool of offline customers that they know little about. Their online and data teams are therefore smaller in comparison and they are less likely to be able to capture and manipulate data effectively. This presents a golden opportunity for the first in this sector to really grow their customer intelligence and deliver a relevant and personalised experience to their customers.

If you would like more information on any of our findings so far or need help improving the level of customer intelligence within your organisation please do contact us at Leapfrogg. You can see how you fare yourself and take The Customer Intelligence Index here.

The Future of Bing Advertising: Thinking Digital 2016

Thinking Digital is an annual conference, taking place in Newcastle every May. Over the years, Thinking Digital has built a reputation for attracting the best thinkers and speakers from the around the world – The Next Web has even described it as ‘The UK’s answer to TED’.

On the agenda this year, were talks from the likes of Bill Jinks who gave a talk about what it means to be an IBM’s technical advisor to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Mikko Hypponen who gave an entertaining talk on cyber wars and hacking and Ed Hipkins, a rhythmic creator, who spoke about the limitations that inspire creativity which he illustrated with a live and reactive performance on stage.

As a Paid Search Consultant, I was particularly keen to hear James Murray speak who is a Search Advertising Lead for Microsoft UK. I also managed to catch up with James during the conference and ask him a couple of questions on the future of search advertising. Here’s what he had to say:

Where does Bing stand now and what does the future look like?

“It’s a really exciting time to be working at Bing and there is so much that is happening, it’s difficult to know where to start.

I guess one of the key factors is our market share is growing rapidly in virtually every market that we are present in. For the UK, Bing now powers 18% of all searches so we are edging closer to 1 in every 5 searches coming from Bing which is amazing progress considering where we were even two years ago. A huge contributing factor to that growth has been the launch of Windows 10. The encouraging thing for us is that on average, Windows 10 users make around 30% more Bing searches than in previous versions of Windows.

The integration of Bing across the Microsoft ecosystem is also helping us to gain traction with consumers in new and exciting ways. Skype Translate, for example, is made possible through the power of Bing. So I can now speak to my Taiwanese mother-in-law in English and she will hear Mandarin, and she can speak back to me in Mandarin and I will hear English. Not so long ago this was science fiction but Bing has made this a reality. That might not be search in the way we traditionally think of it, but it’s search nevertheless that is enabling that experience.

From an advertising perspective, we are also trying to push the boat out with Bing Ads and that same idea of integration is an important one for us. The next opportunity that we’re excited about is native advertising. The idea is that you can take your existing search ads with image extensions and run those same campaigns in a native experience across the Microsoft display ecosystem.

Let’s say you’re managing the search campaigns for a big car brand. You could target the same search ads you run in Bing Ads to also show as native ads in the MSN Cars website; all with a simple tick of a box and no extra effort required on your behalf. We have started piloting this in the US with some great initial responses. Whilst there’s no immediate deadline for the UK, watch this space!

Overall, we believe that rather than viewing search as a destination, search will become invisible, and simply be pervasive wherever and whenever you need it. Regardless of what device or software you’re using, even if you’re not using a Microsoft product, we want Bing to be there to help you be more productive. Search is going to start integrating into more of the moments that matter to us and will power the experiences that we need to make our lives easier.

How does your view differ from Google?

“Google is phenomenal at what they do and I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been playing catch up with them for a number of years. We do feel though that Bing is coming of age, and the momentum behind us is fantastic. Creating a great search engine takes time and Bing has reached a stage of engine maturity that the difference between us and Google is now negligible. In some cases, we actually offer a better search experience than Google.

When we put consumers through blind tests most people can’t tell the difference between Google and Bing which is a testament to the improvement in the quality of our results. What’s exciting for me is that having reached a certain level of parity with Google we can now start to differentiate Bing with new products and functionality that aren’t simply an “us too” feature.

We’ve started doing this at Bing Ads with partnerships with companies like Twitter. The launch of Twitter annotations allows advertisers to show how many followers the brand has on Twitter, adding extra levels of credibility to your ads.

We’re also playing with new ad extensions that are going to give advertisers more options than ever before to customise their ads and make them stand out in the SERP. One recent example of this is image extensions which allow you to add high res images to your PPC ads. This is just one of many new extensions we are working on to push the frontier of paid search.”

Thanks, James!

I’m very excited about Bing’s new offerings and the future of paid search. The arguments that James made just make me feel even more comfortable about the future and prove my point that Bing is worth investing money and time in.

The rise of personalisation in online marketing

For several years now, personalisation has been heralded as the next big thing for marketers. A report from Forrester predicted that companies who fully invest in modern personalisation will outsell their competitors by 20%. But most brands are still working out how to get there – and it’s a complex journey. Effective personalisation requires a thorough approach to data, from collection to implementation, to create a complete picture of the customer, and knowing how to use that to provide them with real value – without freaking them out.

So what exactly is personalisation? Gone are the days when you could simply rely on placeholder text to do the job for you – “Dear [NAME]” at the start of an email will no longer cut it. Personalisation, at its heart, means a thorough understanding of a customer’s individual needs and behaviours, and meeting those needs in a way that suits them. It’s the content they need, at the time they need it, delivered where and how they want it.

There appears to be something of a disconnect in this area: 91% of marketers say they’re prioritising personalisation, but only 31% of consumers see a consistent personalised experience from brands. What’s going wrong? For starters, marketers are falling into the trap of segmenting consumers into broad categories using basic demographics. This can backfire pretty badly – I had an email a few years ago from Fluid London with the subject header claiming it was for “Men Only” because it was about sport. I tweeted them to query it and they told me I couldn’t take a joke. Needless to say, I unsubscribed immediately and haven’t been back to their website since – and I still remember it, and am still telling people about my negative experience. If they had been analysing my preferences properly, they would have seen I was a huge rugby fan and avoided the whole sorry mess. I’m not alone in being upset by this kind of behaviour – 81% of consumers say a negative personalisation experience impacts their perception of the brand.

Throw out your old notion of demographics – they won’t help you. We’ve always known not all women were the same, and that not all 30 year-olds were the same, but for a long time we had no choice but to play the numbers and make big assumptions: more men like watching sport than women, we’ll target our sports issue at men. Now, though, we have access to so much more data about our customers that we can segment our audience by psychographics – their interests and behaviours, the things that really matter to them; things that can unite a 60-year-old woman and a 14-year-old boy. (Like my mother-in-law and my nephew uniting over their shared love of Bruce Springsteen. No, I can’t explain it either.)

The second issue holding marketers back is not having the right strategy in place for their data – not knowing what to collect, and not knowing what to do with it once they’ve got it. Gathering data can sometimes be too easy; if you didn’t begin with clear objectives, you might end up with so much information it will be hard to work out what you actually need, never mind start to use it. Knowing things about your customers is all very well, but it isn’t useful without real intelligence about the customer’s needs.

We also need to be careful about how we use the information we gather to avoid making customers feel uncomfortable. 77% of UK consumers say it’s really important for them to be in control of their personal data. Demonstrating too deep an understanding of a customer can be concerning – not to mention creepy. No one wants a Minority Report situation where the billboards call out to them by name.

There are certainly hurdles to be overcome, but the rewards are worth the effort. 35% of UK consumers are willing to spend more (up to 20% more, in fact) for personalised products and services. 59% of shoppers who have experienced personalised marketing say it has had a noticeable influence on their purchasing. Taking the time to learn about who your customer is, what they care about and what they need is a vital investment for your business. Furthermore, if you have a full understanding of your customer as an individual, you can tailor their experience with your brand, on any channel, to suit them. And then, you’ve nailed it.

 

Leapfrogg’s MD, Rosie Freshwater, will be speaking about how to deliver a perfect personalised customer experience using data and insight in this years’ SheerB2B Ecommerce Conference.