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Digital Personalization: Love & Money

I have a friend, let’s call her Izzy, whose grandmother once gave her the following life advice; "Marry for love, not money … but only look for love where there is already money.” Izzy went on to marry a wealthy guy and lives a high-end lifestyle. Whilst I find this story both amusing and a little perturbing, it recently came to mind in a business context.

As I work with businesses to help calculate “value” from digital investments, I see opportunities to apply a twist of the grandmother’s advice. Many businesses are working hard to build better relationships with their customers, but often they’re focused on the relationship details not the wealth potential. So, to repurpose the advice; businesses should look to build relationships with their customers … and build those relationships where there is money, or value.

Of course, most businesses already focus on customer experience (CX) and many advisers now talk about “obsessing over the customer.” In a 2008 New York Times article, Jeff Bezos, from Amazon, said (I paraphrase) “I believe the success we have had over the past 12 years has been driven exclusively by customer experience.” Since then, focusing on customer experience has become a big thing, as has Amazon.

Businesses can also shoot for customer love. Apple is a classic example. Just look at the queues outside Apple stores during new product launches. This level of connection; brand loyalty, brand advocacy and wallet share resulted from Apple’s obsessive, customer-focused design. Many an organization envy this position and hold Apple up as a case study to emulate. Apple is certainly a rare breed.

My point here is for a stronger tie between customer experience and wealth potential. In personal relationships, the the term “gold digger” has negative connotations. It implies a person who cultivates a personal relationship in order to attain wealth alone. In business, on the other hand, it’s entirely acceptable to be a gold digger. Business is business; ultimately it’s transactional. Yet few businesses have carefully calculated the value proposition of the digital customer experience.

In April 2016, Accenture Interactive and Forrester Consulting completed a survey which corroborates this last point. They evaluated a number of global enterprises’ customer experience (CX) efforts and found that although "executives have woken up to the importance of digital in forging great customer experiences, one word defines business executives’ attitudes toward digital customer experience (CX): complacency”.

This complacency is hard to justify when the same Accenture Forrester study also found that, depending on industry, a 1 percent increase in CX scores can mean $10 million to $100 million-plus annually for an individual brand. The wealth is out there. Businesses just need to get more focused on building the relationships to access the wealth potential.

So, how can Acquia help? And what has the grandmother’s advice got to do with all this?

  • Relationship Building: Core to Acquia’s own strategy is providing a powerful digital foundation for delivering world-class customer experiences. With the Acquia Platform, organizations can realize the vision of personalized, contextual and real-time customer engagement for the right person, at the right time, on the right device. As Acquia’s cofounder, Dries once said, “Content is gold, but delivering the right content to the right user at the right moment in the right format is platinum.” In short, we can help businesses focus on significantly improving the customer relationship experience.
  • Attaining Wealth: We can also help organizations focus on value, prioritizing areas of customer experience and personalization. We can help model how different personalization use cases might impact a business. A McKinsey study recently found that personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50 percent, lift revenues by 5 to 15 percent, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by 10 to 30 percent. This is a summary finding, but we can work with businesses to estimate specific value opportunities.

So, where do we start? First, a business should set a goal. My friend Izzy -- heeding her grandmother’s advice -- set a goal. I don’t think she was ever going to settle for a low-net-worth guy. Equally, businesses looking to build relationships should set goals. Acquia Lift, for example, can be used to collect customer data and use this data to segment and better understand all customer types. We can help deliver personalized experiences across any channel or device. This can help build better relationships, by:

  • Driving Engagement (e.g. measured by time on site)
  • Increasing Conversion (e.g. registration and purchase)
  • Optimizing Customer Satisfaction (e.g. brand loyalty, NPS, wallet share).

These three relationship factors can typically equate to wealth factors;

  • Shorter sales cycles (closing business faster, at reduced costs)
  • Greater revenues and wallet share (more money!)
  • A higher chance of repeat business (recurring revenue)

Ironically, Izzy probably also had to think about engagement, conversion and satisfaction, albeit with different meanings, in reaching her goals. Although I can’t say I approve of Izzy's actions (in a personal context), I admire them (in a business one). In business, attaining wealth by cultivating relationships is entirely acceptable. We should be structured and calculating in this context. Acquia can help if you’re a B2B or B2C organisation looking for one-to-many customer love and money.

So to conclude, any digital reinvention or evolution must focus on the value the company provides to customers, through its products and/or services. Organizations should ask, “how will improving the relationship change wealth potential (value)?” We should be structured and calculating in assessing how improving the customer experience will increase revenue, and / or decrease costs. Let’s not be complacent. Look for love, but look for it where there is money. In business, being a gold digger is a good thing.

If you would like to discuss how we can help your business complete a value assessment for implementing personalization please get in touch.

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