Using customer insights to create better digital experiences: A guide

Chris Purcell is product strategist at Episerver.

The introduction of social distancing measures brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the need for digital connectedness — with both consumers and B2B buyers pushed to purchase products online.

This means that the ongoing shift to digital customer experiences has rapidly accelerated, and those brands that fail to deliver seamless experiences online are at risk of falling behind.

Many businesses are working to adapt, but they are doing so with budgets under significant pressure given the current economic uncertainty.

However, brave boards are providing extensive backing for immediate investment in digital channels to reinvent experiences that are more personalised, adaptive and individualised to each customer.

They know that in doing so, they can extend empathy and understanding and delight customers in a way that will show a notably positive impact on growth, loyalty and brand advocacy.

According to our research, nearly all digital leaders believe that personalising content on their website has increased their company’s revenue. Almost half (46%) also believe they receive a better experience when a company personalises content based on their history, behaviours and personal information. They see the impact of personalised experiences on their company’s revenue and recognise the importance of emulating these across their own websites. 

Addressing the customer centricity gap 

While decision makers recognise the importance of personalised experiences, there’s currently a customer-centricity gap, with 71% admitting that their digital experience does not meet the expectations of their customers. 

That doesn’t mean that the other 29% are getting it right either, rather they are unaware of the gap. Similar research noted that 82% of B2C companies reported that they were customer centric, but only 18% of their customers agreed.

The opportunity is not just to build better relationships with existing customers. The pandemic has thrown all kinds of norm out of the window — including pre-existing loyalties, purchase habits and content consumption behaviours.

There are millions of new customers up for grabs, but only if their new needs can be understood and met.

Digital teams need to be able to answer key questions like “who is engaging with my content?”; “what are they trying to achieve?”; “how are their needs and preferences changing?”. They must also understand how they can automate relevant content experiences and build a capability in their business expand this further.

But how can marketers gain access to these types of customer insights? 

Creating a true digital learning organisation

Research from Forrester has discovered that nearly half of marketing decision makers who use marketing intelligence have experienced improved customer satisfaction. Almost as many have seen enhanced customer loyalty and retention.

However, insights-driven marketing is not possible without having access to the right data. Marketers first need to understand the data they are already using, what data they can access, how to bring together and analyse these insights and, critically, how to apply them to improve their marketing efforts.

While it’s important to have clean and organised data, marketers must also consider more complex data sources that could be available that they are not currently using to their advantage. These go beyond consumer contact information to include demographics, education, interests, lifestyle, social profiles, professional experience and even in-season behaviour.

Once marketers have access to this richer data, digital experience platforms can help to turn these invaluable insights into customer behaviour to help orchestrate more personalised and relevant customer experiences.

Content can be optimised and recommended to drive engagement and intent, effectively converting browsing into transactions and revenue. With these digital and customer insights at the heart, decision-making is based on evidence rather than just guesswork and the solutions – and those using them – grow smarter the more a customer interacts with their content.

This can go further to build a true digital learning organisation. One where marketers can gather and interpret data in real time to identify what content is performing best, where to invest further and, through search analysis, what content people are looking for but not finding.

These insights can not only be used to improve tactically day to day, but also to build a foundation for digital marketing strategies going forward, linking content efforts directly with conversions and key transactions that contribute to business success.

Competitive advantage

In today’s competitive landscape, marketers need to create targeted and relevant content and test that content on a continuous basis to ensure that it is resonating with existing customers and attracting new ones.

Only when digital teams have access to in-depth customer insights can they create highly effective and engaging marketing campaigns that will make them stand out above the crowd.

Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

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