In 2017, the word ‘woke’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. We are, it seems, becoming increasingly wary and questioning of the information we receive.

How is that changing things for brands? We’re a skeptical bunch at the best of times, but we’re likely to be even more distrustful of brands attempts to “connect with us” in order to influence our behaviour.

No one wants to feel they’re being targeted because of loosely understood data they created online 18 months ago. Or that they’re nothing more than a faceless IP address being fed into a brand’s marketing machine.  

In our increasingly ‘woke’ world, customers are more demanding, and it’s harder than ever to win their trust and retain their custom – even if you have systems in place to run targeting techniques across multiple channels. That’s because people don’t want to be targeted, they don’t want to be part of a demographic and they don’t want to be tested on. They want to be treated as individuals, understood and they don’t want to feel like they are part of a generic campaign.

By popular demand

The interaction between customer and brand must be treated like a relationship and not as a transaction. Customers want quick, appropriate responses. They want businesses to understand and remember their preferences.

How many times have you received an email from a brand that has no relevance to you whatsoever? Even worse, how many times have you received further emails from the same brand, with the same issue again and again and again? It’s frustrating, and a sure-fire way to put you off ever doing business with them.

It’s time to get truly personal. To move a level above channel-specific, isolated interactions that are costly, time-consuming, difficult to measure and hard to predict. It’s time to rethink campaigns and power them with customer journey insight.

Up close and personal

We call this new way of thinking a ‘‘Campaign Supernova”. It’s about using real-time insight, context and omni-channel journeys to make campaigns more relevant and personal to your customers, treating them less like a target and more like a human being.

What can you do now to start embracing the next generation of campaigns? Here are six things you can do now to get you on your way:

1. Start by thinking about your campaigns as an invitation to a conversation. Like any conversation, it needs to be contextual, act in real-time and consistent wherever it’s taking place. There needs to be value created between your business and the customer, with a view to building a long-term relationship.

2. Build customer profiles that provide a comprehensive view of individual’s needs. These should include everything you know about your customer with an understanding of their intent, context and how they interact with your brand across every touch point.

3. See the journey in real-time to understand where your customers may be encountering bottlenecks or having issues, or where your campaigns might be falling short.

4. Once you understand your customers and how they interact with you take a step back and be honest with yourself. Are systems working together as well as they should? Who needs to be involved in an omni-channel campaign? Then which teams need to work closer together and what data do they need to create one experience for your customers?

5. Use the latest in decisioning technology to optimise individual customer interaction by accurately positioning products and services, but suppressing customers from irrelevant campaigns based on their changing behaviour and context.   

6. Set new KPIs based on your new objectives. By using real-time information on customer lifecycle stages, you can more accurately measure the success of your campaigns. You’ll start to spot new opportunities, and get more bang for your buck.

You’re already spending a lot of money on campaigns; the last thing you want is for them to be a complete turn off to customers who are increasingly “woke” to attempts to influence their behaviour. Turn your campaigns into conversations and make it your resolution to meet the needs of your customers’ in 2018.