Blake Miller, Director of Product Marketing at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, talked about recognizing the need for personalization and immediacy when interacting with customers.
Miller began his thought leadership presentation at the 2017 Leadership in Digital Marketing Forum held on March 29 in Boston by stating, “Consumers are in control like they’ve never been before. In their hand, they have a device that can connect them with anything anywhere. This device also provides them with a very low switching cost. They can easily jump to another brand and take their business somewhere else. This applies to both B2B and B2C. We’re seeing the two come together,” Miller noted.
“Consumers are in control like they’ve never been before. In their hand, they have a device that can connect them with anything anywhere.”
“The expectation—for both consumers and business—is that everything will be seamless and easy. Technology has made it easier for customers to be empowered. In particular, the smartphone has changed everything, and the immediacy of mobile access is driving everything. This is a huge challenge and a huge opportunity,” he said. Each consumer now expects a company to know their history with that company and interact with them as an individual.
“The smartphone has changed everything, and the immediacy of mobile access is driving everything. This is a huge challenge and a huge opportunity.”
Advances in technology are leading to artificial intelligence, deep learning, and natural language processing. “Natural language processing will change mobile commerce,” said Miller. This will move into realms of banking, healthcare, and retail. Customers will speak their requests when doing searches and making purchases.
“Customers don’t want every interaction to be about selling them a product. We want to make people smarter about using our brand. One of the best things you can do is ask your customer-service people what the biggest problems are—the FAQs—and address those,” said Miller. “We need to figure out how can we lower our call volume by anticipating the problems that are going to come up.”
Miller continued, “The email address is becoming the new social security number. It allows us to connect all the first-party data together and is the key to connecting digital channels.”
Miller pointed out that communication with customers is becoming more challenging because there are new messaging channels all the time. “There’s social, there’s texting, there’s posting on Facebook. I don’t think we, as consumers or customers, are more demanding than we used to be, it’s just that it gets amplified quickly and can go all around the world,” he said.
“There’s social, there’s texting, there’s posting on Facebook. I don’t think we, as consumers or customers, are more demanding than we used to be, it’s just that it gets amplified quickly and can go all around the world.”
“We have a lot of customer data—more than advertising and marketing channels—derived not only from customer preferences but also from their behavior. We’re able to deliver consistency across channels by managing urgent and personalized messages, driving user engagement with mobile apps, and using geolocation to trigger mobile experiences. People are now willing to give up location data to drive personalization and create better experiences. Mobile is a great opportunity to grow our subscriber lists. It provides a lot of ways for people to opt in,” he said.
“How can we incentivize people? Early access, or inviting them to join a club. They can just text a key word and a short code to join your program,” said Miller.
In summary, Miller recommended:
• Making advertising a one-to-one channel—re-engage inactive customers and extend the range of email with ads.
• Putting customers at the center of your business—“Embark on a customer journey as if you didn’t know anything about your business,” said Miller. “Do it on desktop, mobile, iPhone, and Android.”
• Embracing the culture of immediacy—“This isn’t a choice; it’s a must-do. We have to react to customers, most of whom want it now.”
• Getting smart about personalization—“Ask yourself if you have all the data you need, do you have access to that data, what data don’t you have, and what data do you need to identify where you can personalize the customer experience by leveraging all that data.”
• Don’t fear disruption—become a disruptor. “Don’t try to play your competitor’s game; play your game. Your greatest asset is your first-party customer data.”
ABOUT BLAKE MILLER
Blake Miller, Director of Product Marketing at Salesforce, has 20 years of experience working in media and Internet industries, primarily in product development, sales, and marketing. For the last decade, he’s been focused on email marketing and advertising technology, helping brands create 1-to-1 marketing at scale. Prior to joining Salesforce, he worked at ESPN and CareerBuilder. He has an MBA from DePaul and a BA from Baylor.