CRMC 2019 recap: Personalization and data take center stage

In today’s retail landscape, every brand is facing some type of competition. Whether you’re faced with the pressure of non-traditional retailers and direct to consumer brands or decreasing engagement in loyalty programs, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy before the holiday season.

Personalization has consistently been a key topic for retailers. Whether applied to email, digital or loyalty programs, customers are expecting to have a personalized experience each time they interact with your brand. But, do you have the tools you need to make this expectation a reality?  

At CRMC 2019, almost every discussion touched on the ever-growing competition between retailers and the importance of maintaining customer loyalty. Here, we’ll dive into the details and recap how industry-leaders are using personalization and data to have meaningful interactions with their customers at every stage of the customer journey.

Personalization should be a priority at every stage

Retailers are constantly facing the challenge of winning business from both customers and prospects and personalization is way to stand out and break through the clutter. Ensuring that your whole marketing team is on-board and committed to using personalization across the board—not just in a loyalty or email campaign—will give you the edge in maintaining interactions with your customers at every stage of their journey.  

Many of the discussions revolved around managing the customer journey across many channels and what personalization’s role is. Because personalization touches so many facets of a marketing campaign, there’s opportunities to incorporate it into every touchpoint.

  • When talking about their loyalty program, Kate Jung, Director of Loyalty, Mobile & Strategic Partnerships at Express, had some great insights. “Personalization is a big theme and has a part in what we’re working on, but it has to be an enterprise initiative,” she said. “It can’t just be based in a CRM or loyalty program, it has to be the whole group.” She then went on to explain how all data isn’t created the same, and it’s important to understand what type of first-party data you have on your customers for personalization. While behavioral and transactional data is inferred data you have on a customer, declared data is explicit information that gives you an inside look into the preferences of each customer.
  • American clothing retailer Lands’ End also saw success using personalization in their lifecycle communications and marketing strategy. When it comes to personalization, Lands’ End Senior Director of Contact Strategy Dan Rosenthal walked through four ways that personalization can be effective and increase marketing efficiency. Personalization can enhance transactional user experiences, inform and develop lifecycle programs, re-activate and expand audiences and then with that knowledge, you can review and build upon learnings.
  • At Sephora, they also emphasized the importance of personalization for their customers. Allegra Stanley Krishnan, Vice President of Loyalty at Sephora shared that although retailers put a large amount of effort into personalization, there can be a disconnect between how much a consumer notices. In the session, it was noted that 50 percent of the data that’s collected from a customer is never used and given back to the them through loyalty programs. But, when they do see that happen, there can be a massive lift in customer satisfaction. 

sephoraAllegra Stanley Krishnan, vice president of loyalty at Sephora shared the importance personalization plays in Sephora's loyalty strategy at CRMC 2019. 

While each session covered a different aspect in the value of personalization, each session provided valuable takeaways that retailers can apply to their marketing strategy.   

The power of data

Multiple brands emphasized the importance of data when it comes to building a successful marketing campaign. From using data to fuel loyalty programs to using data to model acquisition programs—every brand can agree that the power of data is limitless.

  • In a category of retail where other brands are seeing declining sales, Valvoline shared a data success story. By leveraging data from their partners, they have been able to understand the importance of knowing the right place and time to message their customers. “Only 5 percent of the population is due for an oil change at any given time,” Rob Stravitz, Vice President of Marketing at Valvoline, said. With rich customer data, they’ve been able to connect the dots and maximize their opportunities to interact with that 5 percent at the right place and time.

valvolineAt CRMC 2019, Rob Stravitz, Vice President of Marketing at Valvoline, shares how they used customer data to grow their business in a competitive industry. 

  • In another session, there was an emphasis of connecting both online and offline data. Tasso Argyros, Founder and CEO of Action IQ said it best: “Siloed data isn’t okay anymore. You need to be able to connect both physical and digital data into a unified profile.” He also stressed the importance of long-term success. As many retailers look for the quick, short-term gains they can achieve, it’s important to think about the big picture and what you can accomplish with the right data and strategy in place.
  • At Sweaty Betty, they’re also using data to lay the foundation for a successful CRM program. Vice President of Performance Marketing, Emma Rushe, emphasized the importance that data has when it comes to Sweaty Betty’s campaigns. She noted that the foundation to a great customer relationship management program begins with access and the ability to connect and pull customer data into one location and be able to organize it so you can understand what data is most meaningful to each customer.

Customer data can fuel every decision a retailer makes and lead to great successes. Because Sweaty Betty could model customers behavior based on the data that they saw, their cost per acquisition for each client dropped over 75 percent. They’re also spending a majority of their budget on digital advertising because they have rich data on their customers and can connect to them online.

These success stories emphasized the importance that data has and the power it harnesses when interacting with customers online. As more brands compete for the attention of customers in the ever-changing digital landscape, we learned that customer data can deliver a full view of the customer and influence each campaign. And, by using this customer data, you can personalize your interactions with each customer no matter where they are in their lifecycle.