93% of chief marketing officers agree that they are under more pressure to deliver measurable ROI (return on investment) today compared to a few years ago, according to a study published by Leapfrog Marketing Institute.
That is a significant number and reflects the massive impact the digital environment of the 21st century has on marketers across the board. With more and more data available, decisions can no longer be made simply trusting one’s intuition. Now, campaign performances can be measured precisely, leaving little room for error and requiring much more planning from marketing personnel.
One question that every marketer asks at some point is, “How can I produce better quality marketing solutions and measure customer loyalty?” Let’s take a look at a few key answers to this question.
Before the age of the Internet, one-size-fits-all campaigns were possible because the audiences gathered around just a handful of places, such as television and radio. Nowadays, the market is much more fragmented with audiences scattered across digital devices, each of which has become so customized to their personal preferences – just think of Facebook’s newsfeed and Spotify’s playlists – that consumers now expect that same level of personalization from their favorite brands.
Instead of creating one campaign that tries to reach everyone, it has become crucial to look at each niche audience segment separately, analyze their location and behavioral patterns, and then create campaigns that are perfectly tailored to different consumer groups.
One of the most important elements that helped Amazon create a very loyal customer base is their sophisticated recommendation engine that knows exactly what else the user might be interested in. It provides a personalized shopping experience that can be measured in Amazon’s back-end system to analyze data and further improve customer experiences and loyalty.
Think of your customers’ many different past and current personal preferences and try to incorporate them in their overall user experience by anticipating what they might be interested in next. Be one step ahead in personalizing emails, landing pages, forms, and calls-to-action.
Speaking of personalizing the user experience… there is a reason why native advertising has become a hot topic over the last few years. Some might call it “brand integration,” others “branded entertainment,” but the core idea remains the same.
Instead of disrupting the user experience by placing banner ads in between paragraphs of an editorial website, for example, the goal with native advertising is to use what is already natural (or “native”) to the site’s environment and turn it into an advertising asset. To stick with the blogging example, a smart marketer would pay for an entire editorial endorsement or cover story (a smart mix of paid and earned media) to inform the reader of their products without presenting them with something, like a banner ad, that would not feel “native” to the site and disrupt the whole experience.
In fact, if both publishers and advertisers have done their homework and matched up the right product with the right audience, chances are that readers will be grateful for the “tip” and for discovering a new product in a way that feels natural to them – by reading.
Embedding in-text links or clickable product images within the article is a great way to measure click-through-rates and find out if it eventually leads to a sale.
Another great advantage of native advertising is that you are actually “engaging” the audience on a deeper level than with a simple advertisement and, as a result, have new metrics to measure customer loyalty, including how much time they spend with your article, if they shared it with friends, and how many times they returned to it.
One crucial factor to consider for all native advertising formats – be it editorial, video, or audio – is to optimize the content for every single platform that it will be consumed on; so be prepared to optimize it for desktop and mobile devices separately to enhance the customer experience and increase chances of building loyalty.
Another form of marketing that has become popular during the digital age is collaborative marketing. This is “the process of aligning your company’s interests, resources, and marketing muscle with other like-minded companies to accomplish much more than you might be able to do on your own,” David K. Williams, a Forbes contributor, once described it perfectly.
It became popular in the digital age because the barriers between small and big brands were gone – or at least reduced to a minimum. All of sudden, it was possible to forge partnerships between small and big companies because they were, now, all on the same level playing field.
The result? Smaller companies are getting more exposure due to larger companies’ marketing muscle, and big corporations now have a way of winning “street cred” by tapping into the niche audiences who gather around small, hip businesses.
Creating those types of alliances over longer periods of time not only helps increase customer loyalty amongst new target groups, but it also provides a clearly measurable metric due to its unique product and campaign iterations.
Measurability is Key
Needless to say, digital media comes with a plethora of data; and data is probably the most valuable currency in this newly fragmented society and media environment. So what are a few key data points marketers should measure in regards to customer loyalty?
- Purchase frequency,
- branded content engagement and click-through-rates,
- customer satisfaction (e.g. through surveys or feedback forums),
- amount of customer referrals (e.g. through social media or personalized coupon codes),
- purchases or subscriptions with competitors,
- customer retention period.
Before measuring any data, however, it is important that you set specific goals and establish some milestones so that you can later look back and compare data over time. Only then will you be able to tell which campaigns are working and which ones should be phased out.
The good news is, with all the digital data at your fingertips, you will no longer have to guess as to what works and what doesn’t. You now have the ability to know before it’s too late.
About the Author:
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas,. or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.