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There isn’t an obvious connection between analytics technology and customer loyalty, but the two are more closely linked than marketers might think. Marketing campaigns built on obsolete or inaccurate data can make consumers question just how well brands actually know them, for example. Ashley Stirrup, CMO of data integration company Talend, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about how brands can avoid taking customer loyalty for granted.
eMarketer: What are some of the biggest mistakes that companies make when it comes to data?
Ashley Stirrup: Companies believe they know their customers well because they’ve invested so much in gathering data. But consumers still feel like brands don’t know them as well as they should. That’s because there’s still data out there that companies haven’t captured, so the consumer feels like they’re not listening. Plus, even when companies do capture information, they don’t go the last mile to leverage that data and change the customer service experience. They don’t follow through in the application of the insight that they collect because there’s not enough feedback between the data stack and the marketing technology stack.
eMarketer: What’s causing this data disconnect? Are marketers investing in the wrong data tools or the wrong marketing technology?
Stirrup: They’re overlooking certain pieces of data and therefore are not feeding them into their marketing technology stack. For example, our recent research shows that less than 50% of the companies we surveyed are using tools to analyze and implement social data, and that’s crucial.
Also, not enough companies are operationalizing customer survey data or feedback from customer support interactions. If a customer has recurring issues with a certain product, for example, they don’t want to see email marketing related to that product. Companies don’t have technology in place to analyze unstructured feedback. That data is in a separate silo, and it’s a missed opportunity.
eMarketer: What impact does that have on customer loyalty?
Stirrup: We’ve all had that experience where we’re subscribed to a cable company, and we get offers from them in the mail, inviting us to subscribe. At that point, we all say, “I’m already a customer—why are you sending me marketing material on this?” Instead of taking the opportunity to up their game, they deliver redundant content. That hurts loyalty.
eMarketer: What types of brands out there don’t fall into this trap?
Stirrup: Our customer Lenovo does a good job of mapping out the customer life cycle from initial research through purchase, including post-purchase interactions and feeding that into their marketing stack. They’re not only gathering customer feedback through social media and surveys, but also capturing information from call center interactions. And they’re leveraging natural language processing technologies to analyze calls.
eMarketer: How does Lenovo filter out the noise associated with social media and call centers to positively influence their marketing efforts? Is the effort worth the reward?
Stirrup: They’ve built analytics dashboards that enable them to pick up on customer sentiment, and they use that insight to improve customer experience and marketing. For example, when they zeroed in on social listening data related to their brand in particular, they found that 97% of what was out there was not relevant for them, but the other 3% was incredibly valuable. Figuring out how to extract that 3% meant getting closer to understanding customer sentiment, so it was worth the effort.
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