Brick and mortar stores may not be on their way out yet, but there has been a tremendous shift to digital services across the spectrum of industries. That shift has caused numerous stores to permanently close their doors. For many people, this is a disappointment because they enjoy the face-to-face interaction and the one-to-one relationship that occurs with brick and mortar businesses. They take comfort that the company and the employees with whom they interact actually know who they are and what they want — they get a personalized experience. It’s something that online businesses have been struggling with from the outset of the Internet. That lack of one-to-one relationship in the digital age means it’s much easier for customers to switch loyalties when something happens, because in reality they feel no loyalty.
So, one of the most important things a company can incorporate into its digital strategy is finding a way to replicate the one-to-one experience that customers enjoyed in the pre-digital age. By finding ways to give customers great services along with the added convenience of e-commerce, companies can thrive in the digital era and find a way to gain customer loyalty. That loyalty is more important than ever because of the plethora of options that consumers have in today’s marketplace.
For many years, the ability to gather data has outpaced the ability to analyze and use that data. The key then for companies, especially with big data and Hadoop as a service, which allows companies of any size to use big data, is to not only gather great data, but also find ways to implement that data. It’s important that companies ensure that they don’t gather data, just to gather it. It needs to be data that can be used. Along the same lines, it’s not good enough to just gather data and then let it sit. It needs to be analyzed and put to work. Each piece of data holds a nugget of gold that can help the company better reach customers. As high a priority as companies put on gathering data, they need to put equal emphasis on the analytics and implementation of that data. Data with analytics breeds success.
It’s not good enough anymore to provide consumers with a generic marketing strategy. It’s even worse when a company with whom the consumer is already doing business sends them an ad for something they already have, or recently declined. That’s too much marketing waste, especially when companies can do so much better with the information available via big data. Consumers are increasingly impatient with irrelevant advertising. They have so many different choices, that the don’t need to rely on just one company. A one-to-one experience is all about creating something that is personal and unique to the consumer. It should take time to develop appropriate advertising and marketing for consumers. By wisely using this data, companies have an extremely powerful tool to reach consumers and to provide information for future marketing. It may take more work to provide this type of one-to-one relationship with customers, but it’s going to pay dividends in customer loyalty and in finding new customers.
An effective one-to-one relationship with customers also needs to include the company and its employees. Along with better marketing, the organization should also use the information from big data to make internal improvements. Better employees are going to provide better services, which is a plus for consumers. Better employees also make for a more efficient and effective organization. That increased effectiveness is going to improve company gains, part of which should be returned to the customer. It’s a cycle that benefits both consumer and company, and it comes from big data.
The customer needs to be the focus. Big data should be used to improve the overall customer experience through both internal and external improvements. It will take work, and many companies may need to rethink their marketing and big data strategy, but it can be done. If it’s done, it will be extremely effective. In today’s digital age, maintaining customer loyalty is harder, yet more important than ever. Creating a one-to-one relationship is key to getting that loyalty.