Brands Missing Their Chance To 'Get' Us

I’m a die-hard Virgin America fan. I feel relegated to travel only to places where they fly. (It’s basically just the edges of the country.) 

Last year, I flew SFO->ORD/JFK a bazillion times — and almost exclusively. And still, when I log into the Virgin America site and click to book a flight- there’s no personalized “SFO->ORD?” at the top of the page. I have to go through that whole drop down menu thing like I’m a complete stranger. (Hello, we always exchange tweets when I fly!) 

And I get emails from them about flights from Dallas to Florida, and winning trips to San Francisco. What? I’ll never fly that route. Ever. And I live in San Francisco! 

The thing is I still love Virgin America. But I’d sure love them a whole lot more — and more importantly, I’d be inclined to fly them more if I got emails with offers tailored to me. How about an email for a sale on flights from SFO to anywhere in Mexico? “Hey Robyn, looks like it’s time to fly somewhere warm. Check out flights to Puerto Vallarta!” (Because it’s been a really long time since I’ve taken a vacation.) 



According to The E-Tailing Group 41% of people said they purchase more from retailers that send personalized emails based on past browsing and buying behavior, a sentiment that seems to be echoed with all the consumer research we’re seeing today. And yet, we’re not seeing much of that from brands — the ones who need it most. (Because, by the way, Amazon is starting to get pretty good at personalization.) 

Luxury brands are realizing that more personalized, relevant communications with high-value consumers (who also happen to come with high gross margins) are becoming a critical success factor in increasing lifetime value and winning market share.

Technology is finally articulating what brands need at scale, and luxury brands should be the first to hop aboard that train.

B2B companies have been nailing it for years, but the innovations haven’t previously trickled down to B2C brands. For instance, loyalty as a technology platform is a way to get consumers in the door. It’s a means, not an end. Loyalty as a stand-alone can’t deliver on its promise. What’s needed for brands to be successful is a comprehensive consumer management platform. Brands need to be connected enough, and know enough about consumers to quickly move them through engagement, to commitment, to relationship.

It comes down to three things: Connect. Understand. Act.

Loyalty programs are fantastic vessels for things like helping brands connect to users, incentivize more users to opt-in, discover which channels they’re on and what content they share. But as I mentioned, this should just be one part of a greater consumer management platform.

But when brands are looking to personalize, they need something more. According to a recent survey, 58% of customers want more compelling personal services and benefits. And we know that affluent consumers have even higher expectations of the brands they love.

Understanding and aligning with the values of your consumers is essential in keeping them active and engaged. Affluent shoppers aren’t driven by the Groupon/Coupon offering. They’re looking for exclusivity, quality, and experience. 64% of people cite shared values as the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. 

Consumers are investing in your brand, you need to invest in them and deliver on expectations that align with who they are and what they want. Grab the actionable insights out of the data you’ve been collecting and apply that information to personalized content targeted at the things most important to your consumers. 

When you do that, not only do you retain and increase revenue from existing consumers, you create advocacy that brings you more consumer look-a-likes.

The benefit to the brand is deeper, long lasting connections and increased revenue. The benefit to the consumer is more meaningful, personalized, relevant communications and offerings with things they actually find interesting.

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