This sponsored post is produced in association with Sailthru.

The world of marketing has been in the batch-and-blast game for too long. Brands segment millions of target customers into a handful of groups, then broadcast their marketing messages through campaigns hoping for a click.

But what does this traditional process yield? Usually, a broken experience and a broken relationship.

Case in point: far too often a customer who purchases from a website gets an email with a free shipping offer just minutes after she checks out — a campaign was triggered on an adjacent marketing channel and was sent minutes too late.

Worse, these triggers and campaigns are in virtually every marketing channel, which means it’s almost inevitable for customers to experience this multiple times from the same brand. Crossing a customer’s threshold means that they will not flock back to buy from the same company again.

What goes wrong in the traditional marketing approach

Consider the hallmark of a great customer experience: a salesperson receives customers to their store on a regular basis and knows patrons individually, what they want, and what business they’ve done with the company in the past.

If for some reason this salesperson suddenly stops remembering customers and acts based on campaigns instead of consumer information, the very experience the brand delivers to its patrons becomes drastically negative.

Yet this is what happens in the digital realm.

Say for instance a company launches an email campaign and sends promotional messages to its user base telling them to download their new app.

Once the mobile app takes off, 20 percent of the user base migrates and now the brand has email and push notification capabilities. At the same time, KPIs are showing that their email marketing channel is lacking in performance because fewer people are opening emails, but this turns out to be because of the 20 percent of users who now actively use the app and are also receiving push notifications. To catch up with the performance of push notifications, the brand decides to be more aggressive with email.

The KPIs aren’t surfacing the fact that it’s the same users – and they’re getting increasingly annoyed at the same marketing messaging

Unfortunately, because this is an established process, brands are confident that if they launch a certain campaign, they can expect an X percent increase in revenue afterwards. It’s so easy to cycle and repeat. But it’s more than a broken methodology, it represents that the customer experience has shifted, yet brands have not.

When marketers segment, broadcast, and tweak their campaigns, they’re missing a crucial factor in their efforts: an actionable single view of their individual customer. Reducing the consumer experience into separate campaigns risks making every individual consumer journey crass, irrelevant, and annoying.

In today’s digital customer journey, that in-store salesperson is analogous to each and every point of interaction a brand has with its customer base. And collecting the data of every single customer to build an interconnected experience for them across all channels is the only way to replicate the same relationship that an actual salesperson builds for the brand.

The challenges facing marketers today

This conundrum highlights the major problems marketers face today:

  • They don’t have an actionable, single view of individual consumers that includes their behavioral history and past interactions with the company. Instead, they rely on campaign-based information and attempt to fill in the gaps with data from other silos.
  • Without that single view of the customer, they cannot draw insights from previous behavior and interactions, and they cannot deliver meaningful, relevant, and interconnected experiences to their users. Furthermore, they cannot predict what’s next in any individual customer’s journey.
  • Finally, they cannot accurately connect the customer experience across channels.

So how do they start addressing these challenges? They need to collect every signal their customers are giving them, which means collecting the data at every interaction point between brand and user.

They need to have a unified repository for all this data and get rid of the silos that their marketing channels and campaigns are operating in to centralize customer information and thereby turn the data that they are currently wasting as digital exhaust into opportunities for better relationships and increased revenue.

The ROI of doing it right

In January 2015, The Clymb, an online retailer known for outdoor lifestyle brands, was able to increase purchases by 8.2 percent and revenue by 11.8 percent. They did this by leveraging on-site and email behavioral data from consumers to send personalized, relevant email messages. “Dynamic, machine-driven personalization helps make true the promises of 1-to-1 marketing,” says Craig Schinn, Senior Director of Ecommerce and Online Marketing for The Clymb. “It’s both simpler to produce and more effective than traditional, segmentation-based approaches.”

After seeing this lift, The Clymb incorporated behavioral predictions based on the same data, allowing them to better segment their customer base to create a new list of top customers. These top customers delivered 71 percent more email revenue and 72 percent fewer opt outs than any other segment.

Companies like Sailthru help brands like The Clymb with predictive capabilities: they know what to send and when not to send marketing messaging. And as it turns out, this is quite important.

In an interview with VentureBeat, Neil Capel, Sailthru’s Founder and Chairman, revealed that the company crunches millions of predictive models based around a single actionable view of a consumer nightly. When combined with Sailthru’s personalization technology, this machine learning allows brands to actually predict the next actions that customers will take.

“We can predict the behaviors that are tied to lifetime value: that a user will purchase in seven days or 30 days; the amount of revenue generated from a customer over the next seven, 30 and 365 days; and even purchase value, whether they’ll open a message, click or opt-out” Capel said. “You strategy has to be personal and predictive to a point where you can say ‘Let’s stop sending email to this user because they’re not engaged and they won’t open it.’”

This means that brands like The Clymb can avoid annoying a consumer and gain an opportunity to engage with the same individual at a better time, place, and channel with more relevant marketing messaging.

The result of this approach? According to Capel, in specific cases the company increased conversions by 24 percent, and even increased the purchase rate of the top 5 percent of customers by 206 percent.

Brands need to look past the short term gains of campaigns and change the focus to the long term opportunity of increased customer lifetime value (CLV).

The challenges they face may be Herculean, but the payoffs are equally monumental: every single time a brand delivers personalized, interconnected experiences to individual customers, they increase engagement, improve overall CLV, and directly impact revenue.

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