I love the movie 50 First Dates, and not just because I am a closet Adam Sandler fan. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a movie about a girl with no short-term memory who meets a guy determined to make her fall in love with him, no matter how many times she forgets him.
I love this far-fetched storyline because it draws some strange parallels to my daily life as a digital marketer thinking about customer experience. A customer interacting with you on social media forgets or at least is easily distracted. People might ask a question on Twitter, participate in a Facebook contest, and then repin one of your products on their Pinterest page—all before they browse your site. They come back a few times, but to them, it might still feel like their first interaction with your brand.
Conversion is usually a result of cumulative interactions, and consistency is key in every customer interaction. Customers have short attention spans, especially when they are barraged with information. The average person in the US is exposed to 5,000 brand messages per day! In 2013, the average attention span of a customer browsing a given website was 8 seconds.
How can you be compelling when you only have 8 seconds to grab the customer’s attention? The key is building a holistic view of the customer and using it to create a consistent relevant experience.
Getting a Holistic View
You know why Adam Sandler got the girl in 50 First Dates. Even though he knew that the girl would forget him the next day, he got to know her. He found a way to work with her limited attention span and built on that with every interaction. She didn’t remember him, but he remembered her and that was enough to create a connection
If you want to get your own happy ending out of customer interaction, you need to take a holistic view of the customer. You need to create relevance and consistency for the customer by tailoring your approach based on who that person is and what he or she wants.
Identity and Intent
Combining data from social profiles, customer relationship management technology, purchases, and behavioral data such as clickstreams can give you a full picture of the customer’s identity and intent.
Knowing the identities of your customers will help you provide the information and content they want. Knowing the intent of the customers will help you present the relevant information and capture their interest. Two people might look at an auto dealer’s website, but their intent when visiting that site might be entirely different. One customer might be motivated to buy a car right away, whereas the other already owns one and is looking to connect with other enthusiasts. Targeting the right information based on those individual needs will help your company drive sales and engagement to its pages.
Creating a memorable customer experience requires knowing your customer and building on your interactions.
Continuity in Identity
Creating this holistic view is getting easier with customers self-identifying when they use social media options such as Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn to log in to a website, or through the use of third-party identity aggregators such as Gigya, Janrain, and Fliptop.
With this, businesses can use what they know to create consistent, customer-focused content. This targeted content can grab customers, even when they don’t remember previous interactions with a brand, and keep them coming back for more. Much like 50 First Dates, it isn’t hard to get the girl, or the sale, when you use what you know about them to create a new relationship.
Singapore—First Stop Is Online
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) wanted to rebrand Singapore as a tourism destination known for its concentration of diverse offerings. As travelers become more active in planning their own vacations, the Internet becomes the primary resource for finding information about potential destinations. In fact, over 50 percent of visitors to Singapore who sourced for pre-arrival information cite the Internet as their most important source. That’s why STB created YourSingapore. It targeted contextual content based on users’ needs and interests and real-time Web analytics, increasing its fan base five times over and more than doubling its site hits. Singapore’s tourism success lies in the fact that it is a destination where no two experiences are the same and no two people will experience it in quite the same way. This is as true now on the Web as it is in country.
Loyalty as Byproduct, Not a Goal
Customer loyalty shouldn’t be your goal. It should be the byproduct of a great customer experience. By focusing on customer experience, you are building a relationship as opposed to just making a connection. A relationship can create brand advocates who will influence others to purchase from you. A connection might only garner you one sale from that individual. The difference between building a relationship and simply gaining a connection is directly driven by how memorable your interaction is.
More than 86 percent of consumers report that their buying decisions are impacted by personalization and 62 percent expect consistency from the brands they shop with. Winning and keeping customers comes from showing them you know who they are and what they want.
This post was previously published on the Adobe Digital Marketing blog, June 9, 2014.