How well do you recognize your customers across multiple touchpoints? If the answer is “not well enough,” new research shows you are not alone.
In particular, “most global
firms fail miserably,” according to Forrester analyst James McCormick. “They fail to recognize their customers as they interact across many of their channels, and confess that a large
proportion of interactions are anonymous.”
The benefits of tracking customers across various channels are many, and include executing successful multichannel campaigns and holding
conversations with customers.
The difficulty for many marketers, however, is associating interactions to individuals or segments.
“Even with [a] rich trove of customer
data, firms struggle to translate knowledge of customers into an actionable outcome,” McCormick explains.
What is the solution? “There are links that identify a person at
point of sale, on eCommerce Web sites, on social media, and on every channel that we use to interact with customers.”
Forrester calls these links touchpoint interaction keys (TPIKs),
which vary from being constrained to single-channel and single session to multiple channels and sessions.
For example, first- and third-party cookies can link Web users to multiple
interactions across owned and third-party sites. Session cookies, however, tend to be limited to single interactions before disappearing for good, as McCormick notes. He stresses that TPIKs that
associate interactions to individuals have more uses than those that associate to a broad segment.
While great awareness builders, “reach channels” like search, advertising, and
out-of-home promotions have weak association to individuals, and limited ability to maintain dialogues across channels and sessions.
By contrast, “relationship channels” like
email, social communities, and direct mail make possible ongoing conversation with customers.
“The associated TPIKs -- such as social identity, account details, registration details
-- are strongly linked to individuals and can persist over many sessions and multiple channels,” according to McCormick.
Forrester has long advocated that marketers move away from a
funnel-based approach to thinking about their customers. Rather, the research firm believes marketers should consider the customer “life cycle” that involves how they discover, explore,
buy, and engage.