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.