Skip to Main Content
Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Experience Matters in Next-Gen Customer Acquisition

By Mike Zaruba — Client Partner
Woman on her laptop at a wooden desk with artwork behind her
Experience Matters in Next-Gen Customer AcquisitionClient Partner — Mike Zaruba
Woman on her laptop at a wooden desk with artwork behind her

Customers are increasingly expecting delight and differentiation when they make purchase decisions. To be competitive, businesses and brands should be recognizing their customers are no longer buying just products – they’re buying experiences. The more personalized, relevant and unique, the better.

In this article, we’ll dive into how next-gen customer experiences impact how people execute marketing solutions through data analytics insights and AI and how that affects customer acquisition. Then we’ll discuss what brands of all types and sizes can do to stay ahead of rapidly changing (and increasing) customer expectations.

Data analytics is more accessible – and impactful – than ever

There is more data than ever about customers and potential leads that companies can leverage, but they must be harnessing this data in a meaningful way for it to impact the bottom line. Companies can use data analytics to acquire new customers, and provide valuable insights that find even better new customers – ones who will be loyal and connected to the brand.

According to IBM, data science combines math and statistics, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to uncover actionable insights hidden in an organization’s data.

Just because companies have access to a wealth of data, that data is not automatically useful and there is no need for a properly-funded, formalized data analytics program. These programs used to require significant investments and advanced knowledge of data analytics. But with AI and the power of customer data platforms (CDPs), strong data analytics and insight are within reach for all companies, but note new technology itself won’t solve the entire need for better data analytics. With the help of robust data analytics driven by technology and supported with human application, brands can work smarter, not harder, to acquire customers. So, while data analytics is important, it’s the insights that brands glean that drive effective next-gen journeys.

Consider the following data analytics applications:

  • Uncover areas of friction in the customer acquisition process that can be streamlined for better experiences. For example, using data from a website pathing analysis can give a better understanding of how a customer engages and interacts with content which can help the brand curate a better experience for customers.

  • Track and analyze customer acquisition data from different marketing channels — such as email, search engine marketing, community engagement, and social media — to find which is the most effective and has the highest ROI.

  • Perform trend analysis on current customers to identify new acquisition targets. Data can identify the customers with the highest lifetime value so brands can find more like them. Using data analytics to highlight the value of different segments of consumers will be an important way to create custom next-gen journeys.

  • Key challenges in modern customer acquisition

Even with these data-driven tools, customer acquisition isn’t easy. Companies face many challenges as they work to align marketing efforts with evolving customer journeys. Here are a few potential obstacles to consider:

  • Evolving customer expectations. A recent survey found that 50% of businesses say their biggest challenge with customer acquisition is understanding customer needs. What customers expect is continually evolving, and their demands are increasing.

  • Uncertain market conditions. Even with a relatively stable economy, consumer spending is trending down, and many consumers are reluctant to make purchases or connect with a new business. To acquire customers, brands must first put their financial fears at ease and build trust.

  • Cutting through the noise. Communication is another major challenge for marketers and sales reps, especially as customers connect with brands through more channels than before. With so many messages coming from so many channels, companies must stand out to be noticed by potential customers.

AI makes scalable, personalized marketing a possibility

The world has just barely begun to scratch the surface of what artificial intelligence can do, and it’s rapidly expanding into one of the most powerful tools in creating next-generation customer journeys. With AI, brands have a strong marketing partner at their disposal to uncover data-driven insights, create compelling content, and acquire new customers at scale.

AI allows marketers and sales reps to create hyper-personalized messaging for potential customers, build a personal connection and cut through the noise. To stay competitive in an everchanging market, the ability to adapt these messages in bulk and at scale quickly is a gamechanger. Instead of having to recalibrate data and manually craft messages for every new campaign or trend, AI helps companies adjust and quickly create a wide variety of customized content.

That could lead to more effective marketing, impactful campaigns, and higher customer acquisition — without breaking the bank. Craft store Michaels saw this in action when it leveraged AI to strengthen relationships with customers and potential customers. The store used to personalize 20% of email campaigns. But now it uses AI to personalize 95% of emails, boosting the click-through rate of emails by 25% and undoubtedly leading to more customers and strong relationships.

Staying ahead of changing customer expectations

So, how can businesses stay ahead of the curve in understanding and meeting changing customer expectations? It can seem overwhelming to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world.

  • Listen to customers. The best learning comes from listening to customers in meaningful conversations. Engaging with customers through focus groups, surveys, and online conversations can shine a light on what’s next for them. Tracking customer activity, such as purchase information, can also showcase changing trends and activities.

  • Use technology to be future-ready. Modern businesses can’t wait to be disrupted. They must be willing to experiment with new technology and proactively use it to be future-ready when appropriate. That means fostering a spirit of innovation, finding new digital solutions, and always looking for ways to proactively boost the customer experience.

  • Lean into predictive analytics. While there’s no magic ball to see into the future with total accuracy, predictive analytics comes close. Data can pinpoint when customers might experience changes and need different product recommendations, what factors could influence a lead’s willingness to sign with a company, or what industry trends might impact future purchases.

As customer expectations change, providing a contextually relevant, timely and personalized experience has never been more important. But luckily for businesses, the tools to provide next-gen experiences are also evolving, allowing for a data-driven and strategic approach to connect with customers now and into the future.