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With the range of innovative technology at marketeers’ fingertips, now more than ever it’s possible to follow our customer’s online and offline footprint to create truly bespoke communications (thank God for data!). However, the devil is in the detail, and bad channel orchestration often leaves customers feeling like they’re really just a number. Ironically, the answer to the problem IS all in the numbers: get ready for programmatic marketing!

The norm: A broken customer experience.

Meet Lisa. While scrolling her Instagram feed, she stumbles on a post by a good friend showcasing a swanky new shoe purchase. Lisa’s been looking for some fresh kicks for months, and these are exactly what she needs! She likes the post, asks her friend for the brand, and gets Googling.

Arriving at the website, she’s on a scrolling mission to locate the chosen pair. When she finally tracks them down, she selects two different sizes and adds them to her shopping basket. Lisa’s in a hurry, but before checking out she wants to check what the deal is on returns. It isn’t immediately obvious so she decides to shelve the shoes and leave the website, but signs up for the newsletter before she closes the tab.

The next day, Lisa’s back online browsing her local news when she sees an ad for the exact same pair of shoes. At the same time, she receives an email with 10% discount on her first order – BINGO! She clicks through the email and sees…men’s shoes. Definitely not what she’s interested in. Regardless, she clicks through to the site and updates her profile settings to match up with her dream shoes once again. She selects two sizes, and after checking out the return policy hidden on another page, she orders the shoes.

Wow, the shoes look even better in real life! She decides to keep the larger size and drops the other pair back at the post office. Later that day a new email pops up: “Looking for another pair? Here’s 15% off!”. She’s not looking for another pair, but now every time she opens her Instagram account, or browser she’s seeing sneaker adverts. It’s driving her crazy – “I got my shoes, now leave me alone!” 

The vision: A holistic view on customer engagement.

The problem for poor Lisa is the brand’s siloed approach to marketing: tackling her dream shoe purchase without a holistic view on customer engagement. Each marketer works their own channel, with standalone systems. As a result, it’s impossible to track Lisa’s customer footprint across channels, and an excited customer becomes disengaged.

The remedy? Programmatic marketing to unite experiences across desktop, mobile, tablet, Apple watch, good old wired telephone, brick store…you get the picture. With programmatic marketing insight, the brand would have known that Lisa is a woman, that she wanted specific information on the returns policy, and that she purchased the same pair of shoes in different sizes. In essence, the marketing team would have been able to tie Lisa’s interactions together and provide her with relevant content, at the right time, across the appropriate channels in a highly personalized way. According to research by Aberdeen Group, “companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared with 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies” (via Internet Retailer). Makes sense, right?

The solution: A data strategy.

The key to programmatic marketing lies in your data. Effective use of data will help you drive sales and ROI, but you can’t sit back and wait for the data to organize itself. Data is your strategic partner and needs to be treated like one. Your data strategy will be one of the fundamentals that guide your organization into the programmatic marketing world, and it’s worth the work.

Before you dive straight into reworking your data strategy, let’s address some basics:

#HelpLisa – don’t leave her out in the marketing cold! Break down those data siloes and truly engage her with the best-in-class experience she expects: e.g. a relevant Instagram ad for an outfit that perfectly matches her style and brand-new sneakers, allowing her to buy directly on the social platform right when she needs it. 

Excerpts from Woil Tahboun, Technology consultant at Engagement Factory