The client at the core of the relational strategy

The world of digital marketing is expecting a major transformation in 2017.

As announced a few weeks ago in this article by the Catalunya edition of the economic newspaper Expansión, the need to properly identify our clients intensifies and 2017 is promising to be the year of the final customisation of our digital strategies.

We live in the days of a highly evolving e-commerce ecosystem that directly modifies our buying habits with the constant increase of its different devices and digital assets.

Thus, the task of identifying the user becomes increasingly important and complex. It is easy to get lost among the concepts in a multichannel environment where tracing the customer journey and place him at the centre of the strategy is a top priority for companies so ... Here we go!

MULTI VS. OMNI: THE CUSTOMER IN THE FOCUS OF THE STRATEGY

We all know the cookies that have managed to solve much of the enigma about identifying single device users, but what happens if we want to identify those buyers whose purchase process goes through various assets and devices, multi-device users?

This is the big deal. We have reached the first key point. This is where we refer to the aforementioned multi channel, how we communicate with our users through multiple channels, without an interconnection between them and without a joint strategy.

The complexity of the subject could end here but our buying habits do not slow down so we need to dig deeper and imagine what happens when your buying process goes through the online and offline environments. Can we then trace the customer journey that easy?

Now we reached the second point. We refer to the well-known omnichannel, that is, the integration in a single strategy of all the channels of the company with the target of controlling the user interactions and giving a unified experience from any point of contact where we can impact our customers.

But, how much of this is true? Is this integration possible? Can we know exactly who is doing the online purchase on the web, send a WhatsApp text to make a change to an order, ask on Facebook if it's got to the store, pick it up in the physical store and repeat on another occasion via the app?

ON AND OFF, THE PERFECT 2 X 1

We are constantly talking about the differences between physical stores, online stores, landings pages, web pages, social media, apps, etc., that is because we all understand that the future of retail is in the integration of its different channels. Only then we will be able to offer powerful experiences to our buyers that will help position our brands.

We can take a look at the latest report on the results of the 2016 retail sector to understand the connection between both worlds. We'll see that, in most of the sectors, physical store purchases are always preceded by online information searches.

Therefore, offering experiences that integrate both worlds seamlessly is vital to our brand's success. Of course, we need to know our customers better so to know how to retain them and learn from this experience to keep impacting new customers.

We must put together the strategy that allows us to feed both elements back. Is this possible? Of course, it is, but there is no magic wand that does it by itself, although there are numerous strategies that will allow us to have a very good approach to what we call "on/off integration".

NOT B2B, NOR B2C, NOR B2D, WE SPEAK PERSON TO PERSON (P2P)

Who does not want to be offered relevant products and offers based on their purchasing profile? To be able to easily search for information that interests us in this vast market? Is it feasible booking the trip we want? Buy our concert tickets?

We are consumers that demand products tailored to our specific needs, it's really difficult to make us happy with boring, standard products, so companies have to start to change their mindset to create a closer relationship with us.

Companies begin to worry about establishing a constant contact, about having a real knowledge of the person and the profile, and they rely on this knowledge to improve the relationship with its users and make them provide new consumers to their base.

From the digital side, we have Google Analytics User ID or Adobe Analytics Visitor Stitching from Adobe Analytics, and on the other side, we have a CRM, responsible for storing all our offline data. Can you imagine what we could do if we were to integrate them?

When an ID is sent to GA along with the related data obtained during a number of sessions, you can put the individual actions of the users in context and begin to analyse the existing relationships.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a software responsible for managing and storing as much information as possible about the company's customers and prospects, with the aim of generating long-term relationships and thus increase their satisfaction levels.

Can you see the potential of having such kind of information in our analytical tool and being able to use it to perform analysis based on these profiles' attributes? And what if you could have offline conversion data from these users? Well, the tools already allow adding this type of data sets in order to be able to include the data in our analyses. In Google Analytics, for example, we can use the Data Import functionality to pass information from our CRM.

CROSS DOMAIN TRACKING

The cross-domain tracking becomes essential if we want to measure the navigation of the users between our different domains, as these different domains belong to the same conversion process.

In GA, multi domain tracking gives a customer ID value for each hit and stores it in cookies, which are stored according to the domain.

The websites of a given domain cannot access cookies for another website, so if we need to track sessions in multiple domains, the customer ID value should be transferred from one to another.

How do we do it? Well, with the Analytics tracking code that allows the source domain to put the client ID in the URL link parameters, where the destination domain can access it and this way we can register the two related site sessions in a single one.

CROSS-DEVICE TRACKING USER IDENTIFICATION

Consumers and even those purely digital natives are constantly looking for content across their multiple mobile devices, so cross-device strategies are key.

This marketing technique seeks to analyse and exploit the user's behaviour based on the device they use and with that provide information about their profile.

How many, which devices and how do they usually use them to browse? At least pc, tablet and of course your inseparable smartphone. The use of each of these devices match with different types of products and it's likely for you to combine them during the same purchase process.

It is possible that purchases in your favourite e-commerce will happen from your home laptop, the tablet app or the mobile app, but always from where you will be "logged in". Depending on when you associate the use of each device, it's more than likely that we can relate to the purchase of different products. For example, if you are at work you may buy products related to your sector, if you use your smartphone then those products would be leisure related and if you are using your tablet it may be reading products, games for children, e-learning services, etc.

In short, the fact of using one device or another makes you inclined to consume different types of products and, therefore, brands get to know what to suggest through each device.

CONCLUSIONS

Our world constantly changes: socially, economically and technologically. One of the consequences of these changes is a new approach when implementing our digital strategies. Instead of creating products and finding customers for them, why don't we get to know them and create products that fit their needs? That's what we call relational strategies.

Companies are starting to understand the value of their customer relationships beyond their capacity to acquire products and services.

In short, we are facing a new economy, called by many Economy of Care, where our time as consumers is limited, and an asset that we decide who to devote, so we must take this fact into account when it comes to relating to potential and current buyers.