By: Carol Vercellino, CEO & Co-Founder
Even though businesses and schools are opening up, the rise of COVID-19 has brought on the beginning of a new era of digital engagement. Retail, healthcare, and even how you experience a museum has changed forever. And as such, the digital experience businesses offer their customers is more important than ever.
Our CEO and Co-Founder, Carol Vercellino hosted a Q&A with Madison Morgan, Director of Accounts at Well Refined Marketing Agency.
Watch the video below or read through our transcription to learn how you can use data to enhance your customer experience strategy to be empathetic, authentic, and trustworthy in this new era.
Oak City Labs: Tell me more about Well Refined and what you do.
Madison Morgan: Well Refined is a marketing agency based out of Raleigh and New York. We’re a team of creatives and strategists that help you solve your marketing challenges, so you can think big and act courageously. We like to take all of the marketing strategies in-house and partner with you to take on all of your challenges and help you find the perfect solutions.
I’m the Director of Accounts, so I oversee all of our clients and make sure everyone is well taken care of, and I oversee all of our marketing strategies.
OCL: Why do you think the customer experience matters?
MM: Your customer experience is really what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s what allows you to make a relationship with your target audience and keep them coming back to you – and not to other competitors in your industry.
As you build those relationships, you’re eventually converting these targeted people from leads into paying customers. And then they’ll become your fans and share your company with their friends, increasing your audience over time.
OCL: 90% of millennials state that brand authenticity is important. How can brands create authenticity online?
MM: That’s a really great question. My biggest piece of advice is to be who you are. But that doesn’t mean ‘Be Carol as Oak City Labs’; it’s more ‘Be Oak City Labs’.
So, create your brand identity, figure out what your tone is, what language you use to speak to your audience, and firm up that brand identity, and then stick to it across all platforms. No matter where your audience is meeting you – whether on social media or on your website – you want them to have that same experience with your brand across all platforms.
That’s going to not only create authenticity but also continue growing that relationship with your audience.
OCL: Why is data important when it comes to driving the customer experience?
MM: Data helps you understand your target audience better. And when used correctly, it helps you further strengthen that relationship we’ve been talking about. It builds even more authenticity and helps you make more informed decisions about what marketing direction you want to move towards.
It helps you see what’s working with what you’re doing, what’s resonating with your audience or what’s falling flat, and it ultimately should inform all of your marketing decisions and efforts.
OCL: What are some ways businesses can start to gather data on their customers?
MM: One key, big picture way that’s really easy to do is to survey your audience. Ask them what they want to see, what they want to purchase from you, and even their demographic information can help you speak to them better.
Email marketing is really important, so simply customizing your newsletters or welcome emails to include their first names. Or if you could tag products of interests by including that in the subject line or within the email, it helps build and strengthen the relationship. Ultimately, it can also help you create sales and nurture funnels to speak directly to those interests your audience has indicated.
You can also look at website traffic to see what pages are working well and what’s not. Or taking a step back and looking at general monthly analytics across all platforms. Where are you seeing the highest interactions and where are you not?
OCL: What are some of your favorite tools and approaches for collecting or analyzing data?
MM: For monthly analytics, it can be as simple as a Google Spreadsheet that you type in month-after-month what social media posts are getting the most interaction. Or what emails are getting the highest open rates. Or you can go a little more complex and use something like HubSpot or Sprout. Those are a little bit more pricey and not DIY, so there are pros and cons to both options.
My biggest recommendation is to use ActiveCampaign. It’s an email marketing platform that’s robust but also very simple for users who are just breaking into the industry. It has options that let you personalize your customer experience.
OCL: Once you have the data you need, what are 3-4 steps someone can take with their data to improve the customer experience?
MM: It’s going to sound really simple, but my four steps are to first, read your data and decide where you want to focus – just pick one target area to look at it. Then, collaborate with your team to see how you can strengthen that area or what you need to do to improve your interactions with customers. Third, create a plan of action with tangible next steps. And finally, revisit the data and pick another target area of interest to work on next.
OCL: How long should a business gather data before they start analyzing and using it?
MM: Checking in monthly is really good. I don’t think one month of data is enough to make any reasonable decision, but you do want to start looking at those trends month over month. After about four to six months, you can start making decisions and analyzing what’s working well and what’s not in a very informed way.
**The above interview has been transcribed for clarity and brevity.**