Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Customer Experiences
by Kerry Reilly
posted on 06-22-2016
Online marketing efforts have become highly sophisticated in recent years. In fact, the amount of data available to assess your customers’ online behaviors can often become overwhelming. But, what about all the data that’s available from your offline efforts? Your direct-mail campaigns, your call-center logs, and your point-of-sale (POS) systems offer data that’s too valuable to overlook.
Complete the Customer-Experience Picture.
If most of your marketing efforts are to serve your digital customers, you could be getting an incomplete picture of your customers’ experiences with your brand — and leaving many of them unserved. Here are a few ways to close the gap between online and offline customer experiences.
Be Consistent With Your Online and Offline Experiences.
It isn’t uncommon today for someone to see your ad on the side of a bus and then go online to find your brand. If they don’t see the same design and messaging online, your campaigns will be at odds, and your brand credibility will decrease. Consumers expect their online and offline experiences to be consistent.
Gain a Thorough Understanding of the Customer Journey.
Examining online behavior only tells part of the story and could even be misleading. You need an integrated customer profile that includes your customers’ online and offline transactions and behaviors. For example, tracking only online purchases will not reveal a high number of trouble calls made regarding the product or service.
Reinforce Proximity and Intimacy With Your Customers.
This could be as simple as adding the address and opening hours of a customer’s most frequently used store (based on geolocation and shopping habits) or pointing out the sections of a catalogue where relevant items might be found (based on declared interest or buying history).
Considering all your online and offline channels as part of the same brand-marketing strategy may be the most effective way to attract new customers and serve your existing ones. But, how can you accomplish this when your offline data is usually spread out on different systems and in different formats, often completely separate from online analytics? And, how can you deliver personalized content on offline channels when customer profiles are often fragmented? Start with a few of these tips.
- Understand the data you are currently collecting and the full range of capabilities on your offline channels. For example, there are numerous ways to track who responds to your direct-mail campaigns such as direct-mail tracking codes, custom 1-800 numbers, and personalized landing pages.
- Capture call-center data such as first-call resolution rates.
- Leverage your POS-system capabilities. Consider printing offers — perhaps, taking the customer to a personalized landing page — directly on receipts.
- Find out whether your inbound phone calls are coming from your digital offers. Does having your phone number on your website actually result in conversions? If you have multiple numbers, which one converts the best?
- If you have your website and phone number printed on direct-mail pieces, print ads, or outdoor advertisements, track how many web visitors and phone calls come from those sources.
- Is your brick-and-mortar store consistent with your online and offline assets? A kiosk could integrate your physical and digital experiences and collect customer preferences.
Armed with information about your customers’ preferences and behaviors, you’ll be able to create successful cross-sell, upsell, and loyalty programs by focusing on the customer instead of the channel. You will be able to create meaningful segments of your customer and prospect bases, increasing the likelihood that your offers will resonate and generate sales.
Achieve Optimal Results — and Your Marketing Goals!
Your efforts will be most efficient and result in the best ROI if you engage customers with automated, personalized experiences in both online and offline channels. Orchestrating data, offers, and channel execution based on customers’ interactions and preferences on an integrated platform will produce the best results.
Your goal is to go beyond marketing to individual channels, and instead, market to the individual — wherever, whenever, and however he or she needs it and at the very moment his or her need arises. Integrating your online and offline channel marketing efforts can bring you many steps closer to serving all your prospects and customers.
Topics: Campaign Management