So you’ve made initial contact and you have the customer’s basic information. If you want to turn this into a fruitful relationship, you’re going to need more than just their name and email address. But to get more personal information, you’ll first need to generate trust. Offer—and deliver—value. Keep in mind that they don’t have to give you anything. It’s not just about what you want. It’s about consumer and brand coming together in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Consumers want personalized experiences. They want to feel heard and seen as individuals. And whether we like to admit it or not, we all like to talk about ourselves. So ask them their interests, their needs, and their preferences, and tell them what they’ll get in return. Remember the whole Value Exchange idea? Customers want to tell you about themselves, as long as you use that information to improve and customize their experience, and you use it responsibly. In fact, 55% of consumers are comfortable sharing data about themselves in return for better service. That data they give is called zero-party data.
“Zero-party data is that which a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize her.”Forrester
This is the time for Data Enrichment. It’s the “getting to know each other” realm of the relationship, when a basic data point (like a name or email address) transforms into a real person—with unique likes, dislikes, and motivations. Only when you begin to know your customer can you begin to engage with them in any meaningful way.
But one or two interactions does not make a relationship. Enrichment is the key here. What you know about your customer should expand and deepen with each exchange. It’s a continuous progression: collect information, enrich what you already know, engage better, repeat. Data enrichment is ongoing and ever-evolving. There’s always more to learn about someone. As you know more, you can develop increasingly effective ways to connect with your customers.
To intelligently and efficiently act upon the collected data, marketers need a true single view of the customer that pulls information from a variety of touchpoints into a comprehensive data platform. Customers are interacting with brands on the web, in email, at physical stores, on social media, and through purchases or transactions. All of that information is relevant, it paints a more well-rounded picture of your customer, and it’s necessary if you’re to understand how to take the relationship to the next step.
Robust customer profiles can set the stage for increased customer engagement, conversion, and lifetime value. Engaging with customers the way they want to engage and providing more relevant experiences makes for a happy customer and, hopefully, a loyal one. And that’s the ultimate goal, right? It’s what Relationship Marketing is all about, after all: establishing long lasting relationships, with data, insights, and delivering on them in the right moments that matter. American Airlines sets a great example of successful data enrichment. The airline asked customers how, when, and where they planned to fly, then delivered personalized content and offers to match the collected zero-party data. From these efforts, they saw an 84% experience conversion rate, a 50% higher open rate, and ultimately a lift in revenue per customer. Check out The Zero-Party Data Playbook 2022 for more details on how American Airlines and other leading brands leverage consumer-provided data for better company-customer relationships.
So, it’s great to collect that first-party data (basic info). It’s better to beckon that zero-party data (the info the customer intentionally offers). But that’s not the end of it.
It’s critical to nurture your customers. Yes, the data is what forms your understanding of the customer. But remember: they’re actual people. Real, live, people. Through data enrichment, you’re transforming data into people. And people change. Their needs, wants, habits, and purchasing potential can change. So check in with your customers (according to their preferred frequency, of course) and continue to refine and deepen your knowledge of them to deliver a better experience that will, in turn, deliver increasingly higher lifetime values.
We’re cultivating relationships here. Be an active participant.
Check out this supplementary content to learn more about the value exchange economy and how it can help you build deeper customer relationships while increasing lifetime value: