Can retail analytics help CMOs create brand loyalty?

Retail Writer

Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Facebook topped the Brand Keys 2015 Loyalty Leaders List, which ranks consumers' loyalty to brands. While these brands have massive market share and revenue, they also earn consumers' favor with their customer service and retail analytics efforts.

Robert Passikoff, president and founder of Brand Keys, offers insight into what makes these brands consumer favorites: "Brand loyalty is being driven by emotional engagement, and the 2015 rankings, especially as they relate to consumer outreach and entertainment, make it abundantly clear that consumer expectations regarding connection, customization and engagement have become the ultimate loyalty yardstick."

A superior consumer experience triggers stronger loyalty and encourages consumers to buy more, stay longer and recommend the brand more often, and CMOs can achieve all these goals with a little help from data analysis.

CMOs need to consider customer experience

Because customer experience is such an important part of a buyer's journey, it needs to be a core practice at every retail company. CMOs are expected to lead the charge and should be properly equipped to do so. A Gartner report on CMO leadership found that their responsibilities are expanding to include spearheading cross-functional customer experience and, ultimately, increasing consumer loyalty.

However, with all the information available to help consumers with their buying decisions, winning their loyalty has become more challenging. It has become nearly impossible to make a customer-focused strategy work without collecting and analyzing data that indicates how customers interact with brands, their progress through the sales cycle and what their buying preferences and patterns are.

Data analytics help brands win at customer loyalty

With brand-customer interaction taking place on more channels than ever, general data strategies using point-of-sale information are not enough. The brands that will get ahead of their competition will be the ones that embrace smart, comprehensive data tactics:

  • Adopting an industry-specific approach: Because purchase motivations and triggers vary by industry, retailers should use data to identify what influences customer loyalty for their market. The results can inform decisions on building a program to isolate those behaviors and drive greater customer loyalty.
  • Bringing disparate data sets together: The goal is to keep customers happy and turn them into brand advocates, but this can only happen if the company knows them well. This is why brands need to bring all possible data streams together, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, to create a complete customer picture. This happens when existing customer info, such as customer relationship management data, is merged with online, social media, transactional and geo-analytical data.
  • Personalizing interactions: Retail analytics tools can help brands navigate the dynamic customer service landscape to analyze data, segment customers appropriately, understand buying patterns and deliver valuable, personalized interactions through the entire purchase cycle. Also, analytics tools are instrumental in identifying and tailoring marketing to your most valuable repeat customers. the value of big data

Even if CMOs recognize that they need to build stronger relationships with consumers through data analytics, many of them still struggle when it comes to sifting through the vast amounts of data, coming up with actionable insights and then implementing them.

"With the explosive proliferation of media channels and related 'data fumes' to power intelligent marketing comes the challenge to create unified and synchronized messaging," Matt Weiss, CMO at Havas Worldwide, told HubSpot. "That's easier said than done."

To make this process as hassle-free as possible, CMOs should ensure that they are analyzing only the most useful information and doing so in a way that enables them to derive meaningful insights to provide tangible benefits. CMOs need to evaluate their analytics processes with these objectives in mind to discover if they are using data and analytics efficiently or merely dabbling with large data sets with no concrete outcomes. Third-party analysis software that includes graphic representations and real-time dashboards may be useful to this end, as it allows CMOs to view the information quickly and in an easy-to-read format.

If CMOs of retail companies can use analytics to in this way, they will be able to better engage their customers and drive brand loyalty. Visit IBM's retail solutions page to develop a targeted strategy that leverages analytics.