Wilson Raj, Global Director of Customer Intelligence at SAS, examined what it takes for a business to foster long-lasting customer loyalty during his presentation to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2017 Leadership in Digital Marketing Forum in New York City on October 12. In his presentation, “Ignite Lasting Customer Loyalty in Today’s Digital World,” Raj shared the keys to growing a loyal and profitable customer base.
According to Raj, loyalty programs often play important roles in digital marketing strategies. Loyalty programs enable marketers to reward customers and build loyalty, yet few marketers capture the full value of these programs consistently.
If marketers use loyalty programs to collect consumer data, they may be better equipped than ever before to obtain deep customer insights. Then, marketers can discover unique ways to connect with consumers, leading to improved business results.
“The application of knowledge is power,” Raj said. “You have gobs of knowledge, but there are challenges in applying that knowledge to your industry.”
Furthermore, marketers must use loyalty programs to both save and seize customers’ attention, Raj indicated.
“You have to have continuity of experience from one media type to another … and from one environment to another. That is the key.”
A loyalty program provides a valuable opportunity to foster long-lasting customer partnerships if marketers continue to reward customers over time. However, marketers must look beyond rewards to regularly engage customers via loyalty programs.
“You need to ask whether you’re saving the customer’s attention or seizing it,” Raj noted. “We need to identify pain points in our customer process that are creating friction … to create and seize the customer’s attention.”
Although digital technologies frequently are used to assess the customer experience, marketers must be ready to look beyond traditional customer experience data to generate the best-possible business results.
Today’s marketers can access large collections of consumer data. With data analytics tools in place, marketers can effectively analyze this information and use it to understand how to deliver “continuity of experience” across the customer journey, Raj said.
“We have to have a consistent customer experience, but I deny that,” he stated. “You have to have continuity of experience from one media type to another … and from one environment to another. That is the key.”
In many instances, setting up milestones along the customer journey can make a world of difference for marketers.
If marketers analyze all stages of the customer journey, they can ensure consumers receive timely, relevant information at each stage. As a result, marketers can boost the likelihood that consumers will get the information that they need to make informed decisions.
“The application of knowledge is power. You have gobs of knowledge, but there are challenges in applying that knowledge to your industry.”
Plus, marketers who take a stage-by-stage approach to analyze the customer journey may be better equipped than others to establish realistic business objectives. These marketers also can determine the best course of action to accomplish myriad business goals.
“To make the action, you have to have a goal,” Raj indicated. “Break up the customer journey … and for each phase, you can identify very tangible business or marketing objectives. Then, you can apply the appropriate analytics.”
When it comes to data analytics, marketers must take a comprehensive approach to optimize the value of consumer data.
Many data analytics tools are available, and marketers must consider a wide range of options. That way, marketers can implement tools to understand all aspects of the customer journey and tailor their day-to-day customer engagement efforts accordingly.
“You need to be able to take all of the available data … and apply the appropriate models to get more insights out of it,” Raj said. “As a brand, you are trying to adjust your marketing parameters to the prospect or customer to increase his or her receptiveness.”
Marketers must be prepared to use consumer data throughout the entire customer journey too, Raj said. If marketers focus exclusively on data at the beginning or end of the customer journey, they may miss out on actionable insights that otherwise could help a company bolster its customer partnerships.
Lastly, marketers must be open to new ideas and stay proactive as they perform data analysis. The sheer volume of data available to marketers sometimes can be overwhelming, but a consistent approach to data analysis can help marketers get the most out of this information. As such, marketers can use a consistent approach to uncover deep customer insights to adapt to a highly competitive global marketplace as needed.
“If change is happening on the outside faster than it is happening on the inside, then the end is in sight,” Raj pointed out. “You have data … and you need to find the data that is available in all customer interactions and apply analytics to unlock insights from it.”
Wilson Raj is the Global Director of Customer Intelligence at SAS. Collaborating with customers, industry influencers, partners, and product teams, Raj is responsible for global marketing to establish, evolve and evangelize SAS’ analytics-powered marketing solutions.
With twenty years of experience in multiple industries, Raj has built data-driven brand value, engagement, and loyalty through expertise in integrating advertising, digital marketing, social media, multi-channel relationship marketing and public relations. He has held global leadership positions in marketing at Fortune Global 500® companies such as Microsoft, Novell. Medtronic, and Philips. He also advised C-level executives on digital strategy while at Publicis and also at VML and Wunderman—both of which are WPP-owned agencies in the Young & Rubicam Group.
Raj is frequently quoted in global media outlets and major industry publications such as Adweek, CMSWire , CNBC.com, CRM Buyer, Direct Marketing News, eMarketer, InformationWeek, MarketingProfs, ZDNet, and more.
Raj holds a B.A. in English and an M.B.A. from Brigham Young University, and a Certificate-in-Education from the Institute of Education in Singapore.