Interest management: step into your customers’ shoes

8 May 2018, Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing, 5 min leestijd

How well do you know your customer? Well through the use of interest tags in your marketing communications, you can truly get to know the loyalties and preferences of your customer. For example, with this data you will be able to offer the right pair of sneakers through the appropriate medium. It is the next step in customer engagement.

In the early days of marketing, it was just one single message that was used to communicate the advantages of a brand or product to the outside world. It wasn’t until later, that marketing would become differentiated and more customer orientated, sending out diverse messages for different target groups. However, it still remained a one-sided flow of communication.

Nowadays marketers engage people using individualized and personalized marketing. This development requires an entirely different approach; the marketer really needs to capitalize on the needs of the customer. The focus is no longer on the strengths of the brand or the product, but rather it is the interests and loyalties of the customer which are of paramount importance. Online behavior and campaign results are measured and used to enrich customer profiles, and to engage in a dialogue with the target audience.

How will the customer react to a newsletter? Will they perceive it as spam or will they click on? What will they do if they receive a discount voucher; will they feel the urge to rush over to the store to make a purchase or will the conversion never take place? By measuring this and properly capitalizing on it, personalized marketing will no longer be seen as pushy, but the customer will perceive them as an extra service.

Interest management

The next step in the development of customer engagement will therefore be the further improvement of the segmentation strategy with the help of interest management. By adding interest tags to website articles, social media promotions, and campaigns, you will be able to track every individual different effect that it has on a customer. In that way, you can also follow their loyalty with a specific product or brand in order to subsequently fine-tune your message to that information.*

An example: thanks to the interest tags for ‘Nike’ (brand name), ‘sport shoes (product group), and ‘football pitch’ (topic) that are added on Facebook or in a newsletter, the marketer will know, based on likes or clicking behavior, who will be most suited for approaching in a campaign of Nike’s new football boots. All the customers with other preferences (Adidas) or interests (hockey) can be filtered out of the campaign and this will influence the conversion rate enormously.

Everything stands of falls by the correct use of the interest tags. Technically speaking, it’s not that difficult. The currently available IT tooling allows itself to be connected quite easily with basically every ERP order system, CMS, or marketing program - and it is even self-learning. Of course a precondition for organisations to work with this will be that they are active on online platforms, gathering data from their campaigns, measuring conversion, and are steering for results.

However, most companies are in possession of a lot of data, so that’s not the problem. The challenge lies in the ability to cherry-pick the relevant and necessary data (you can read about this in the article How to make the data explosion relevant).

In practice, it usually requires using three or four tags to ensure a good measurement and analysis. By converting the campaign results into behaviors and interests, and then uncovering the words the customers use, you will be able to think of the right interest tags. This requires a marketer’s creativity and also why knowledge sessions or co-create discussions are often organi

Contextual marketing

You can only speak of contextual marketing if you are not only taking the motivation, intentions, and interests of the customer into consideration, but also the customer’s environment and behavior. If you know about the previous purchases of your customer and are aware of the fact that they never visit your website, but that they are active on Facebook, then you would try to reach them by offering new Nike products via a sponsored Facebook post. In order to properly use contextual marketing, it is necessary that you know the customer’s world and have the ability to step into their shoes.

Investing in this will pay off, because contextual marketing will also enable cross selling. If you are able to retrieve, based on interest tags, whether someone is male, above 18, and a fan of Roger Federer, who is, as a celebrity, also promoting Gillette, then you could use this combination of data to offer them a targeted offer of Gillette products.

The evolution of customer engagement

We have previously written about the customer journey and the ways of influencing this path as effectively as possible. Here it is crucial to be relevant and unique in every situation in order to continuously surprise the customer. As a result, you should make every contact moment as personal as possible.

Contextual marketing and interest management should therefore be seen as part of the evolution of customer engagement. By getting to know your customer’s interests even better, and through anticipating those interests, you will produce an even better conversion rate and the loyal customer will become a promoter of your brand. By stepping into the shoes of your customer, your message will no longer be experienced as spam, but rather it will be perceived as a true service that will help them in their customer journey.

* With regards to the privacy legislation (GDPR/AVG) which will come into force in May this year, the marketer won’t have to worry about it. The tooling that is used for posting interest tags will look at the behavior (interests) of customers at a collective level which will then be translated into specific, anonymous customer data.

Would you like to more about developments in the segmentation strategy and how you can get more out of the current processes? Or would you like to know how contextual marketing is translated into tooling? Then register now for the webinar ‘Get to know your customer: the value of segmentation’ on Thursday May 31st at 10.00 hrs.