Building Customer Loyalty in a Programmatic World

While programmatic might be king, it is only one step in building long-term customer engagement. Consider the following on the journey building customer loyalty.

Programmatic has been crowned the king of marketing for 2015. Many marketers, confident that investing in the trending tactic of the moment ensures success, bank on programmatic to be an 'easy bet.' While programmatic methods deliver countless benefits, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to programmatic, or, for that matter, any marketing strategy.

Marketing is a build-your-own-palette approach, with data as the key ingredient. A data-focused approach to marketing will help brands best meet the needs of their customers, allowing them to better utilize the marketing vehicles available, including programmatic.

I am a huge fan of using data-driven insights. I relish the opportunity to employ these insights in real time, benefiting not only the brand, but also the individual receiving the ad messaging. I've even heard people refer to them as customer, but that's just crazy talk. If putting these 'customers' at the center of your company's decision-making is a top priority then simply spending your marketing budget on programmatic buying is not enough. While programmatic might be king, it is only one step in building long-term customer engagement. Consider the following on the journey building customer loyalty:

Track your reach.

Accept that while you can now reach customers in the most efficient way, whether it is through real-time bidding, retargeting, or showing customers the best creative, in the long haul you need to ensure that you are reaching your entire target audience. Just as it would be foolish to put your company's entire marketing budget on one single campaign, marketers would be ill-advised to say that buying one campaign programmatically wouldn't need some oversight on who the ad reaches over the course of the year.

Never stop testing new techniques.

There is still much to learn about the way programmatic media is utilized, thus the way customers are reached has to adapt along the journey. In the next year, we are entering an exciting time exploring the multiple channels to reach customers programmatically. Is it by video, then display? Or video, then mobile? Or e-mail, then video, then display? The learning has just begun, the options are numerous and each customer will have a unique preference.

Don't just use CRM, personalize it.

The hipsters of the digital marketing world have referred to customer relationship management data as either 4th party data and/or 2nd party data, but regardless of what the proper terminology may be, CRM is crucial as marketers connect with customers in the programmatic space. Your customers have given you permission to have a relationship with them and this relationship is essential for maintaining and growing your business. We are in the early stages of companies using CRM to take advantage of the digital space; however, we already know customers are not all the same. To maximize the potential of your CRM, messages have to be personalized so they're relevant to each individual consumer (eliminating the risk of sending a baby formula offer to your entire customer base). To not do so is just bad practice and worse-a waste of your money.

Never stop improving your process.

As consumers in a media world, I am sure you have witnessed some degree of unfortunate advertising. Let's take the 2015 Super Bowl. Of particular note, is the commercial from Jublia, whose marketing team thought it would be a good idea to target consumers interested in a toenail fungus cream. Unfortunately, the target was way off (according to consumer reports, only 11 percent of U.S. consumers use this category of products) and the timing was horrible (since we were watching the game and not worried about toenail fungus). This situation gave everyone a firsthand look into what customers feel like when they view advertising that isn't targeted to them. Jublia made the same mistakes that many brand advertisers and marketers do, trying to target too many customers at the wrong time. If brands continue to learn their customers and evolve their marketing strategies accordingly, they will help cultivate happier customer audiences and therefore, company sales.

You too can have a marketing awakening if you follow focus on customer relevance and customer personalization. This approach will not only result in more efficient and effective use of marketing budgets, but your customers will be surprised and delighted that you communicated personally with them.