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The key to successful customer engagement? Tried-and-true marketing methods

Bruce Swann Profile picture for user Bruce Swann November 23, 2021
Looking for the best marketing tools to keep customers engaged? You may already have them up your sleeve, writes Bruce Swann of Adobe.

 Ace up his sleeve - marketing tool resources concept © Vadym Sh - Shutterstock
(© Vadym Sh - Shutterstock)

A marketer’s job is challenging. They are tasked with engaging customers across digital and offline channels and multiple interactions throughout the buyer’s journey in a personalized and compelling way. Add increased regulations around consumer privacy and recent changes like Mail Privacy Protection in Apple’s latest iOS release and the ongoing deprecation of third-party cookies, and truly understanding the customer is even more complicated.

As planning begins for the upcoming year and marketers look for new ways to attract and keep customers engaged, it may be natural to look to new technologies. But marketing budgets are likely to stay flat or even decrease so what’s a marketer to do? The answer may lie in the familiar marketing tools already a part of your mix. Just as 1990’s fashion is making a return thanks to Gen Z, tried and true marketing methods are in fashion as well. For example, a recent Adobe study reveals that nearly 70% of consumers prefer email for brand communications.

Traditional marketing channels can become critical components to successful marketing campaigns with a little updating and creativity. Here are four tips on using the marketing tools you already have to gather valuable first-party data directly from your customers and create and deliver exceptional experiences.

Make it easy

Today’s consumers expect a seamless experience, whether they’re creating an account, signing up for an email newsletter or checking out. Brands should make it as easy as possible for consumers to engage through channels they are already using. For example, an in-store poster promoting a brand’s loyalty program can include a QR code that consumers quickly scan with their phone and register for the email newsletter in just a few clicks. A digital example may be a pop-up on a website’s homepage that offers a discount if a consumer provides an email address. By asking for just one piece of information in exchange for an offer that consumers want, they’re more likely to provide their personal data. And once a consumer has opened the door to interactions, it's up to brands to capture and keep their attention.

Capture limited attention

Consumer attention is limited. On average, they are met with upwards of 10,000 advertising messages a day. With so much noise, it’s likely consumers have learned to tune some of it out. To break through the noise and get noticed, brands will have to flex their creative muscles. Consumers are likely to unsubscribe if brands send too many emails or emails that are not compelling. Focus on quality and not quantity to avoid an opt-out. Add interactive elements to your emails instead of a basic email with a static image, text and call to action. Consider adding an animated gif or a poll or quiz that draws attention and encourages interaction. Through tools like AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for email, marketers can even add interactive calls to actions with real-time updating inventory. Interactive emails can be fun, and memorable for consumers and a great way for brands to learn about their customers with their consent. For example, answers from interactive emails like a quick in-email survey that asks customers to select which favorite shirt style or color can be added to the customer’s profile for future personalization.

Make it worth it

Email, social media, SMS and pop-up ads can be effective ways to attract attention and enable customer acquisition, but consumers won’t automatically respond. Brands need to offer something of value for consumers to share personal data about themselves. Outside of discounts, a free product sample or a one-week trial may be good alternatives. Loyalty programs — whether they are as simple as a digital punch card for repeat purchases or something a little more complex like the Starbucks Rewards program — can be great ways to add value to the relationship. In providing value, brands can gain and retain customers while also collecting valuable, consent-based, first-party data to tailor customer experiences.

Turn first-party data into actionable insights

Regardless of a company’s acquisition strategy, their customers are providing first-party data. While the data is different from the behavioral data collected via cookies, it is still beneficial. For example, data collected from a newsletter sign-up or sample offer provides contact information on the customer. Combine that info with the customer preference data that can be collected through quizzes, polls or interactive emails like the example I mentioned previously, and brands can start to know who their customers are through a single, unified view.

Personalize, personalize, personalize

We’re past the days when it is enough to 'personalize' an email with a customer’s name. Today’s customers expect truly tailored content customized to their unique individuality. By bringing together customer data across multiple channels and campaigns into a single view, brands can give customers the more tailored and relevant experiences they crave. Personalize emails by showing tailored content like Spotify’s Year in Review emails, which highlight key insights and recommendations garnered from a subscriber's listening habits. The emails might also include a graphic featuring a loyalty member’s status or provide shoppable product recommendations based on previous purchase behavior.

As the year comes to a close and planning for 2022 is in full swing, marketers have an opportunity to evaluate how they can make the most of the tools they already have. By thinking about and using them in new ways, tried and true methods will again become pivotal pieces of any marketing strategy.

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