Using Customer Data for Real Authenticity

Using Customer Data for Real Authenticity

Customer data shows shoppers crave “authenticity”. This adjective has become more popular in the business world as of late, but it’s always been a key factor of how we decide whether or not we like a brand. Whether or not we even trust that brand. In days of yore it was easy to establish a good rapport with customers — Mom and Pop shops were part of larger communities (you knew Mom and Pop). Then, as larger chain stores started sprouting up, having exceptional products and service is how trust was established between a business and its customers. These factors are what made a brand “authentic”. 

Now, the path to authenticity seems less clear-cut. The most well-intentioned brands can fail miserably to create marketing that communicates authenticity. These flops could be blamed on gate-keeping Millenial and Gen Z shoppers’ tendency to be very shrewd, or maybe the scathing honesty of internet culture has made it more difficult for brands to convey their values without fear of a tear-down. Or, could it be we’re misunderstanding the roots of authenticity? We know our best friends are our true friends because of actions, they don’t just shout it from the rooftops. The brand to consumer relationship is no different. Real trust and authenticity is established by marketers who put in the work to show brands truly care.

ESTABLISH A FOUNDATION OF DATA

Before you can begin to deliver meaningful marketing to consumers, you’ll need the right technology in place to understand your audience. A holistic, real-time view of customers is required to execute advanced 1:1 communications — and that can be accomplished with a tool like Blueshift’s Customer Data Activation Platform. Essentially, the CDAP operates much like it’s close relative, the CDP, in that it takes raw customer data from any source (service software, CRMs, data lakes, you name it) and rationalizes this data into Single Customer Views.

With a completely accurate view of your customers, it becomes much easier to build intelligent segments, create recommendations, and tailor messaging. This can’t be accomplished with a CDP alone — the data is in one place, but where does it go next? This is where the CDAP out does the CDP. The data activation layer, powered by AI and machine learning, then analyzes customer data to give marketers the most ideal conditions and messaging for conversion: the right content, right message, on the right channel, at the right time.

USE ETHICALLY OBTAINED DATA TO WOW CUSTOMERS

A critical way to build trust and convey genuine care is to respect your customers’ right to privacy. 1st-party data obtained through clear consent is the best way to establish a solid relationship and provide accurate personalization. Once a customer has opted into messaging and data collection, the data they leave behind during browsing sessions, email checking, and other brand experiences can help paint a rich picture of who they are and what they like. You’re new friends and you’re getting to know each other — with each progressive conversation you’ll be able to meet their needs more and communicate effectively.

Gone are the days of guessing at what broad audiences might like from your brand. You’ll be able to market on the level of 1:1, with recommendations and content so spot on, their best friend could’ve written it. And in turn, once your brand has delivered successful personalization (beyond just “Hey %FirstName%, you’ll love *GenericProductA*!), your brand comes off as more authentic. You’ve shown your care enough to give valuable personalization to customers, rather than just tooting your own horn.

AI-POWERED “GRAPEVINE” MARKETING

One of the biggest turn-offs as a consumer is being messaged without your permission (if your data was obtained through a 3rd-party source). It feels creepy and deeply in-authentic, and it can violate regulations like GDPR and CCPA. Yet, 42% of marketers admit to still using these kinds of lists in their marketing efforts. There’s an even better way to obtain new, high-value customers: use your existing data!

With the CDAP we’ve taken the old phrase “heard it through the grapevine” and transformed it for the digital age. Positive word of mouth advertising still stands as one of the most effective ways to get new people to your brand. This method though is difficult to measure and takes narrative control away from a brand.

Instead, audience syndication now enables marketers to pull their most high-performing segments of customers and push these out to popular social media sites to find look-alike audiences. These social media users will consume messaging that has proved extremely effective for the segment — which makes it more likely that the users will navigate to your site and give consent for messaging. Ta-da, a new customer has been welcomed into your brand’s fold. When marketers go the extra mile (with the help of AI) to provide personalized experiences, it speaks volumes about that brand — more than an overly produced commercial, or buying a list ever could.

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