Understanding the Multichannel Customer Journey

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Omnichannel
Marketing
Thanks to behavioral shifts and technological advancements, marketing is undergoing a dramatic evolution. Historically, companies have tried to sell as many products as possible to customers, either through direct mail campaigns and other techniques. Then, as digital channels began to emerge, marketing leaders would attempt similar batch-and-blast campaign approaches through email, mobile, etc., often resulting in disjointed messages that carry little context about the customer and their needs. But with so much information that's now available about customers through the various touchpoints they use, there's a goldmine of information that can be acted on to send highly personalized and contextual messages and offers to the right customer at the right time through the right channel. I had a recent discussion with Scott Olrich, president of marketing and platform at Responsys, which offers a terrific real-world example of how this can be executed on.

Thanks to behavioral shifts and technological advancements, marketing is undergoing a dramatic evolution. Historically, companies have tried to sell as many products as possible to customers, either through direct mail campaigns and other techniques. Then, as digital channels began to emerge, marketing leaders would attempt similar batch-and-blast campaign approaches through email, mobile, etc., often resulting in disjointed messages that carry little context about the customer and their needs. But with so much information that's now available about customers through the various touchpoints they use, there's a goldmine of information that can be acted on to send highly personalized and contextual messages and offers to the right customer at the right time through the right channel. I had a recent discussion with Scott Olrich, president of marketing and platform at Responsys which offers a terrific real-world example of how this can be executed on.One Responsys client, Dollar Thrifty, sought a way to convert more customers who were making car rental reservations but weren't picking up their vehicles. This resulted in a 30-to-40 percent abandon rate in some locations. To address the issue in the past, Dollar Thrifty would send out a single email reminder prior to the date of pickup and that helped a little. Then company leaders decided, why not send an email three days before and then one day before and make sure those emails are personalized for each person and this generated a much higher rate of success.

Then Dollar Thrifty recognized that it could use other channels to connect with customers. For customers that have a high propensity not to pick up their cars, they sent a display ad bid for those customers surfing the web to remind them to pick up their vehicle on the scheduled date with an offer of free navigation services. That also helped, but they didn't stop there. Since a lot of their customers are using their mobile devices the day of travel, they also send out an SMS message or a push notification if they've downloaded the company's mobile app. The message might read "Your car is in Aisle A3 and we're giving you free navigation."

The combination of these personalized, multichannel reminders have helped improve pick up rates for Dollar Thrifty by more than 50 percent.

As companies make greater use of customer data that provides insights into behaviors, preferences, and needs, they'll be able to deliver more personalized and relevant messaging that translates into greater customer satisfaction, better business results, and more efficient marketing spend.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION