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Dec 18, 2018 | 3 minute read

This Holiday Season, Give Your Customers a 360-Degree Marketing Strategy  

written by Darin Archer

The holidays are upon us. If you’re like millions of others shopping for the perfect gifts for your  family and friends, you know the drill. Maybe you finally find the new kitchen gadget for the culinary-inclined cousin you drew in the gift exchange. It’s ordered and on its way -- you’re done!  

Now cue the endless targeted ads and emails about pasta-makers headed your way. 

Never mind you can’t cook to save your life and you’d never shop for that product outside of the holiday season. Never mind that you’ve already BOUGHT the product and don’t need to see ads about it for the next month. You can guarantee these ads will be following you around for a while.  

This common scenario is of course annoying for consumers, but it highlights an even bigger problem for brands: Despite advancements in digital marketing strategies, brands still don’t have a single view of the customer. As a result, customers still see ads for products they already own and interact with sales staff who have no clue who they are. Without this single view, you’ll never be able to create a cohesive, personal commerce experience. 

Holiday shopping reveals a fundamental mistake
Let’s walk through that kitchen gadget example from a brand perspective. The shopper buying a KitchenAid or Cuisinart as a gift would be flagged as a new customer interested in culinary products, despite being unlikely to purchase again. The brand wastes ad dollars trying to target this new customer, without realizing she’s only buying a gift. Further, the brand is missing that the cousin she’s buying the gift for is actually one of their loyal customers, who frequently buys kitchen products.  

This problem is heightened during the gift-giving season, but it highlights a critical year-round issue for brands that’s tricky to solve for. With customers buying products in stores, online, and even through new channels like pop-up stores, how can you gain a single view of all of your customers’ shopping behavior?  

Marketing silos obscure critical insights
For too many brands, key customer insights are siloed across disparate departments. The email marketing arm might know one thing while the commerce team knows another. And they likely have no idea what’s occurring offline. It’s crucial to know if, for example, a customer researched a product online before making the purchase, but only after seeing it in store. Too often, the marketing team has no clue that the in-store experience was what inspired the final conversion.  

An effective, future-proof marketing strategy relies on a brand’s ability to integrate online and offline data to create a 360-degree view of a customer. Yet almost half of businesses still fail to implement the single customer view. These businesses can’t compete with brands who not only better understand their customer journey, but leverage insights to create unique commerce experiences.  

With a single view, brands can create more personalized experiences
For example, brands with a single view of their customer easily abandon traditional rules-based personalization in favor of less limiting machine learning-based strategies. Using AI tools informed by every customer touchpoint with your brand -- be it in the mobile app, on the website or in the store -- you can more accurately tailor marketing messages to each individual customer to nudge them along the purchase process. That way, you eliminate the clumsy tactics (like advertising products already purchased or bought as gifts) that cause customers to roll their eyes.  

Let’s face it -- they should be rolling their eyes. Your customer doesn’t look at your brand as a multichannel experience, and you can’t treat it that way anymore. No more redundant or poorly aimed marketing messages informed by off-the-mark insights. In the new year, prioritize your customer by adopting a single view of their journey and strategizing accordingly.