Choosing Customer Lifecycle vs. Funnel Analysis.
Recently, I found myself at a local auto dealer service desk looking at the numerous cards and flyers on the counter for casual inspection. There I found a manufacturers reply postcard reading “What Drives You-Drives Us.” The implication was that by filling out the online questionaire requested on the card, personalized insight could be gained to inform a more customer-centric experience. Granted, my service rep and I are on a first name basis and the relationship yields excellent and timely service. But the corporate OEM/Factory piece and outreach was a good first step in an industry lacking interpersonal data. There’s an irony here though in that the very people who could benefit from the expanded insight most were not the ones asking, i.e. the dealer. In other words, the personalized relationship I enjoyed was anything but typical or well-orchestrated. Recognizing the missed opportunity, I’d like to take a look at what types of data we collect and what we do with it in light of mobile’s emerging dominance.
Clearly, the interpersonal service experience I received was based on my identity. Why is this important? Because identity is the only constant in an evolving, yet increasingly fragmented, would-be Mobile Conversion Strategy. When we take a closer look at data derived for marketing, we see both Anonymous and Authenticated. In my case, had the dealer asked, I probably would have provided Authenticated specifics about myself, and not someone who looks like a persona or profile. That is, unless I wanted to be treated like one. Even more vexing is the reluctance of dealership marketing professionals to add a forward thinking component to what is now a vacant mobile strategy.
The segments we now call personas date back pre-internet when look alike psychographic clusters were the best targets we could identify and pursue. And while today we use lifestyle baskets like them to inform both inbound and outbound marketing, the promise of higher conversion rates are often not realized because their generality misses the mark. Anonymous data derived from browsers, website search, behavioral monitoring and search engine histories can be used to deliver push notifications, specific website experiences, and predictive analytics. In general, these provide some insight for Funnel Analytics, but not Customer Lifecycle analysis. The Customer Lifecycle approach should be based on behavior. The traditional conversion Funnel suggests the push of time sensitive, conversion oriented content. Authenticated data on the other hand, either by voluntary engagement, implied through an app or other gateway, provides a deeper insight from which a lifecycle map and strategy can flow. Even so, the individual’s actual identity may not be as critical as their behavior or inferred intent. The strategy is user focused, not channel focused, and the user can be characterized in an ever more specific way if not by name.
When looking at the influence of the individual in marketing, we see personalization as our content’s relevance to an attribute, interests, or behavior. We see identity as a unique set of characteristics that separate him/her from others and that stay constant regardless of platform or devise. We see behavior consistent with them as well. And we stop at privacy where legal, ethical, and cultural characteristics are best left to that interpersonal, first name familiarity.
So, by accessing the availability of data, even the goldmine that is the customer legacy data base, we can construct a strategy based on which kind of data to gather, what it will tell us and where. We can find a balance between our addictions to market timed push engagement based on generality and the patience to pull or attract engagement. A Mobile Conversion Strategy is dependent on a timeline, buy-in of management, and a willingness to invest now for a greater return presumably soon. The alternative is to wait till the consumer tells us what they want and when, and hope it’s not too late to change or react as is the case with the industry I know so well.