Personalised content is a game changer for customer retention

26 Apr 2023

From engagement to retention: how personalised content keeps customers coming back for more

Customer loyalty is crucial to sustained business growth. The trouble is, the proliferation of digital marketing channels, increased competition for attention online, and ever-increasing customer expectations make winning loyalty more challenging than ever.

CMOs and marketing managers tell us they have a customer retention problem. And they might – but the real issue often hides deeper.

Declining or stagnating retention rates arise from an inability to identify customer preferences, anticipate customer needs and personalise customer experiences.

(Notice how the customer, not the organisation, is always the focus? That’s important.)

Personalisation is more than a trendy tactic. Relevant content delivered at the right time via the right channel can and does improve customer retention, customer lifetime value (CLV) and revenue per order. 

Personalised marketing also reduces churn likelihood 

“Churn” occurs when potential customers exit the pipeline before purchasing. Although there are many possible reasons for churn, personalisation is one powerful panacea that keeps leads interested.

We’ll talk about churn shortly, including how to identify leads at risk of exiting the pipeline and what you can do to retain or re-engage them.

Why we’re talking about personalised marketing now

We’ve seen about a decade of digital marketing evolution occur in the last few years. This compression – attributable to many things, including COVID-19 – created a surge in online interactions. Along with that came expectations of personalisation.

Personalised marketing was already in the zeitgeist before 2019, but now it’s both crucial and more complex.

  • Companies that excel at personalisation generate 40% more revenue (McKinsey)
  • 74% of customers use multiple channels during a transaction (Salesforce)
  • 78% of banking customers would remain loyal if they received personalised support, but only 44% of banks are delivering it (J.D. Power)
  • 52% of customers expect personalised offers, up 3% from 2019 (Salesforce)
  • It takes an average of 8 touchpoints for B2B marketers to get a meeting with a new prospect (Rain Group)

How to personalise cross-channel marketing campaigns

Give customers more control over their data

Email is a valuable marketing channel. So when customers or leads unsubscribe from marketing emails, brands lose more than a CRM contact. They lose potential revenue.

Re-engaging unsubscribed contacts is significantly more complex than personalising marketing communications. Here are a few personalisation strategies that can improve marketing KPIs, including email open rates, website conversions and cross-sell success. 

  • Use personalisation blocks

Dynamic content is good, but personalisation blocks in Adobe Campaign are better. Dynamic elements customise specific details like salutations. Personalisation blocks contain rendering code that personalises an email’s overall appearance and interaction, including dynamic content. 

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Make better use of your investment with tailored Adobe Campaign training through TAP Academy.

  • Be transparent about cross- and up-selling

Enterprise marketing analytics tools like Adobe Customer Journey Analytics (CJA) make tracking complex cross-channel customer journeys easier. Marketers use CJA, often combined with Adobe Analytics, to personalise offers based on purchase history or real-time behaviour. 

Being transparent about this level of personalisation builds trust. For example, insurance companies offering policy add-ons should explain the benefits for existing policyholders. Another good example is abandoned cart emails containing a one-time discount. 

Audiences know their data is being tracked. Let’s give them something in return.

  • Build a preference centre

Email preference centres give your recipients granular control over the communications they receive, making them less likely to opt out of all emails. Keep preference centres simple to make the user’s life easier. 

Read more about building a preference centre in Adobe Campaign.

Offer personalised web experiences

Marketers have more than enough data to personalise web experiences nowadays. The challenge isn’t gathering data but knowing what customers want.

The answer is most often in existing data. With the right martech, you can automate personalisation at scale, freeing up time for strategic pursuits like A/B testing or campaign optimisation. This is where the Adobe Experience Platform really shines.

  • Get creative with cross-channel personalisation

Adobe Experience Platform centralises cross-channel data, enabling marketers to build a cohesive customer profile and deliver personalised marketing experiences throughout cross-channel journeys.

It’s not enough to just gather data from different touchpoints. You need to be able to unearth insights and deliver personalised experiences based on seemingly disconnected behaviour.

For example, we worked with Petplan, part of Allianz Insurance, to design and implement an on-premises CRM solution. A key enabler in our success was bringing together disparate data to:

  • Create behaviour-based Adobe Campaign workflows
  • Personalised content based on customer attributes
  • Use granular data to move beyond generic messaging
  • Implement post-send data analysis processes

As well as giving Petplan more visibility over customer data, our solution resulted in matured customer communications and increased loyalty.

  • Segment audiences on arrival

Customising landing page content based on the link that brought a visitor to your site is a good start. It provides continuity, which reduces friction in the customer journey. Let’s take that idea further and look at ways to segment or personalise marketing messaging on owned channels.

  • Customising experiences by device type
  • Triggering CTAs that respond to behaviour, e.g. a low-engagement CTA for low-engagement behaviour 
  • Connect martech platforms to create a single customer view
  • Remember customer preferences so they can pick up where they left off

Of course, expecting to get personalisation right on the first try is unrealistic. That’s why TAP CXM offers Adobe Target consulting to help brands implement cross-channel A/B testing, leading to sharper personalised marketing at scale.

Is your investment delivering below expectations? Request a Platform Audit to get your martech back on track.

Identify and address churn

Some churn is natural. But in our experience, organisations that lose sight of their customers experience above-average churn rates, both in terms of voluntary and involuntary churn.

Churn doesn’t just occur in the pipeline, either. Personalised marketing can also help to re-engage dormant customers, increase renewal rates and retain customers as competition increases. 

  • Use different attribution models

Adobe Analytics’ contribution analysis tools are a goldmine for insights. By combining intelligent anomaly detection with algorithmic attribution modelling, marketers can predict which audience segments are more likely to exit the pipeline.

This insight can help to proactively engage leads at risk of churning. If you want to get really slick, an integrated Adobe Experience Cloud stack can handle automations that work to re-engage customers based on their interaction history. 

  • Personalise contract renewals

Contract renewals are a tenuous time for subscription businesses like insurers and telcos. Traditionally, the approach to stemming churn at renewal time is based on macro hypotheses like demographic and usage data.

But we know the value of tighter segmentation and next-best-action renewal messaging. For example, looking at the time horizon for customers who are considering switching providers can help to reach out at the right time. Similarly, addressing pain points such as cost-of-living inflation, customer support enquiries and setup processes can encourage renewals.

It’s all about empathy. Brands that use customer data to demonstrate their understanding of, and appreciation for, returning customers are more likely to earn loyalty.

  • Re-engage dormant audiences (gently)

If a customer has gone quiet, it could be that they’ve lost faith in the brand or are exploring alternatives. Aggressive engagement campaigns are likely to scare them off. A more subtle, sophisticated approach can help to build trust and reduce churn rates.

In practice, this means using personalised marketing to add value at different customer touchpoints rather than forcing a CTA. It could mean building Adobe Campaign workflows that exclude at-risk customers from aggressive marketing campaigns. Or it could look like a Marketo Engage campaign that targets best-fit accounts with value-added communications.

Personalised marketing at scale isn’t easy

The reality is that personalisation at scale is a long-term goal. If it were simple or instant, every brand would do it, and you wouldn’t be reading this article. 

But it’s certainly not out of reach. The important takeaway for CMOs and senior leaders is that customer retention relies on good data, robust systems and scalable martech

That’s where TAP CXM can help. As experienced CXM consultants, we help brands get closer to their customers through personalised experiences. Our expertise has enabled some of the world’s best-known brands to overhaul their martech, deliver personalisation at scale and retain more customers.

Get in touch to speak with a customer experience specialist who can help you identify and retain loyal customers using industry-leading marketing strategies.  

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