Win Over Consumers with Intelligent, Targeted Marketing

A carnival standard, Tip the Cat is a game where players toss beanbags at feline-shaped targets, attempting to knock over two or three to win a prize. If you were the one opening your wallet to play, would you fling all your beanbags at once, or would you pitch one at a time, taking careful aim at individual targets? Just as a carnival-goer shouldn't waste his money with a haphazard scattershot, marketers shouldn't throw away their budgets on hit-or-miss efforts.

Whether via television, email, or an interactive voice response system, consumers are often exposed to irrelevant messaging from marketing campaigns today. A credit card company sending solicitations every month to someone who already has the credit card being promoted is not only wasting time and money, but is also making itself look less than brilliant.

Luckily, new technology allows organizations to move beyond traditional CRM campaigns—general messages to all customers—and engage customers (or potential customers) in two-way "conversations." With an advanced decisioning engine, organizations can track and react to consumer behaviors in real time with precise, targeted marketing to micro and macro segments, one customer or one million. Implementing a multimodal solution makes it possible to deliver targeted messages across all available channels, from SMS texts to customer service representatives, and will reflect unified data on the spot. Because communications can be tailored based on demographics or even purchase history, cross-selling, upselling, and retention are improved, thanks to an enhanced customer experience.

For a financial institution planning to promote a loan product, the associated marketing can be customized based on whom is being targeted and when. If the campaign is launched in the spring, perhaps the message a 25-year-old man hears would suggest the availability of a loan to purchase a motorcycle or jet ski. If reaching out to a 37-year-old woman, it might instead focus on home renovation. While the loan product might be the same every time, the messages promoting it can be customized to the season and recipient for a higher probability of success.

Consumers appreciate being informed about new opportunities and products...when they are pertinent to their lives. Beyond promotions, education and alerts can build trust. Banks sending security-related messages, for example, can help fight fraud, which is on the rise, with complaints to the FTC more than doubling over the past five years. Proactive customer communication to flag suspicious activity is essential amidst this new reality. Across the board, sending appropriate messages at appropriate times can increase sales and loyalty, because value is being added to the customer relationship.

Violating a patron's privacy never needs to be a part of the equation. To enjoy a more streamlined, personalized, and appropriate customer service experience, consumers need to opt in from the start and should be able to choose to skip unwanted messages, or bow out entirely at any time. Additionally, guards can be implemented to maximize audience penetration and acceptance while avoiding customer message fatigue. For instance, campaign controls can ensure no individual receives more than three messages in a seven-day period or hears the same message more than once in five days.

What does intelligent, targeted marketing look like in action? A customer pulls up her recent bank account activity with a smartphone app to review pending transactions. Based on her repeated behavior of depositing paychecks at the bank on the last day of every month, an offer is displayed on her screen asking if she'd like to sign up for direct deposit. She is given the option to either tap a button to talk with a customer service representative or click a link to go to the Web for more information. If she accepts the offer, she benefits from added convenience, and the bank strengthens the customer's connection to its brand. I's a win-win.

Stop relying solely on hit-or-miss marketing, and start creating a targeted messaging campaign framed by intelligent, personalized interactions that respond to customers' wants and needs in real time. A dynamic decisioning engine is the competitive advantage that your business needs for the win.

David Anderson is the chief marketing officer of Enacomm, a provider of technology that brings intelligence to customer self-service with innovative applications and services.

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