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What’s the Secret to Retention Marketing Success?

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Global Head of Content , Emarsys

For many marketing teams, retention marketing can come almost as an afterthought: “I’ve got to focus first on getting new customers. Then maybe I can think of ways to keep them coming back.” While this is incredibly common, data continue to prove that it isn’t the best approach for long-term success.   

The brands that expand their marketing strategies from a narrow focus on customer acquisition to a more balanced approach that also prioritizes retention will see the greatest success over longer periods of time.

Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase a company’s overall profits by up to 95% – Harvard Business School

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as retention marketing has a history of delivering higher results for brands that invest in it. However, marketers didn’t always have the tools to effectively nurture existing customers. But now, the growth of marketing technologies and automation tools has made it easier than ever before for marketers to reach current and past customers in personalized and engaging ways.

Understand Every Customer

The beauty of retention marketing is that marketers already have data about their target audiences. What’s more, they also know that the brand has won each individual’s business at some point in the past. The important step here is accessing whatever customer data might be available and leveraging it to provide customers with personalized content and incentives that will entice them to return and buy again.

Without the right tools, this may seem like an insurmountable task. However, marketing platforms that leverage artificial intelligence make it possible. With a single platform tied to every element of a brand’s multichannel marketing strategy, consumer data from various resources can all be pulled into a single, unified database. Then, that same platform can analyze the data and provide recommendations for the best ways to reach, engage, and incentivize each contact.

For example, data from a customer’s in-store visits, online buying behavior, email engagement, social media activity, and responses to various incentives can all be collected in one centralized location. Then, it can then be automatically be analyzed and seamlessly plugged into a personalized automated workflow that has a high likelihood of earning repeat business.

One brand that excels at truly understanding their customer base, and is therefore steadily growing a following of loyal consumers, is R.E.I. Their ‘Opt Outside’ holiday campaign recently redefined the standard seasonal campaign, and proved that appealing to consumer emotions can help build brand loyalty.

Personalized One-to-One Communication

As is the case when working to acquire new customers, personalized communication is key to successful retention strategies. Armed with a greater understanding of customers from data collected across multiple channels, marketers can work to reach individuals in ways that will be most meaningful to them.

Tailored email messages, customized product recommendations, and individualized incentives all help set brands apart from the influx of cold, impersonal communications that constantly bombard consumers.

56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that offers personalized recommendations. – Invesp

Again, this concept of one-to-one personalization may seem impossible. And it is – without some heavy lifting from technology. Artificial intelligence marketing makes it possible to translate customer data into actionable marketing tactics, thus empowering marketers to deliver personalized interactions with customers – at scale.

Final Thoughts

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t make the mistake of neglecting loyal customers because you’re too focused on pursuing new ones. Smart marketers know that returning customers are critical to a brands success. Integrating personalization into your retention marketing strategy can make all the difference.

To learn how to transform communication and capitalize on more productive customer relationships across the digital journey, download our whitepaperRetention Marketing is All About the Customer.

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