Develop successful CRM loyalty programmes with marketing automation

Fuelled by the growth of the urban population, and rising household disposal income, the food and beverages (F&B) market are expected to grow exponentially. While driving the demand for new and innovative F&B concepts, discerning diners are also looking for more customisations and personalised dining experiences.

In recent years, marketing automation has emerged as an efficient software tool to create and manage marketing campaigns, and to track campaign performance. Indeed, marketing automation platforms enable business owners to attract new leads, convert leads to customers, and build brand loyalty with better business results. Alignment with corporate strategies and other organisational functions such as customer service, the on-ground operations team, marketing and sales, will improve the effectiveness of marketing programmes.

To build stronger customer relationships, here are four key points to keep in mind when building a successful CRM programme with reference to a case study in the F&B market.

1. Real-time data integration across systems

Many brands are still struggling to connect data seamlessly across different systems. Siloed data prevents marketers from stringing together useful information to build a consistent understanding of their customers’ preferences, spending patterns and behaviour, for personalisation and future communications. The fundamental step in building a meaningful database is to integrate the data generated by different systems at various customer touch-points to allow the unambiguous identification of each customer.

For example, joining CRM (Customer Relationship Management) data, transactional data, social data and behavioural data into a single environment will be required to create valuable customer insights. In these times where brands are always fighting for attention, knowledge and understanding of customer behaviours would be the first step to building more meaningful and loyal brand advocates.

Many current systems support real-time data transfer through an application programming interface (API), though legacy systems may require additional technical expertise to customise and script data connectors/interfaces. Real-time data processing enables instant gratification such as crediting/redemption of rewards, upgrade/downgrade of tiers, and ultimately, a better customer experience.

2. Customer lifecycle

Customers are not homogeneous. Applying customer lifecycle marketing to different customer segments allows marketers to clearly design the right CRM marketing campaigns to target different segments effectively. The lifecycle process also allows brand owners to better identify and focus on the critical marketing efforts required currently, and hence, be more effective in budget and resource planning.

At XGATE, we adopt a 5As customer lifecycle approach – aware, attempt, adopt, advocate, and abandon.

At each stage of the lifecycle, we design different marketing programmes aimed at evolving the target segment – from leads to first-time buyers, and then to brand advocates. At the aware stage, the main marketing activity is to create awareness for the brand by targeting marketing messages at selected audiences on various channels. The aim is to motivate visitors to interact with the brand and then convert them into leads – attempt.

Encouraging product adoption by nurturing leads to become paying customers is the key in the adopt stage. For new brands, most of the marketing efforts will likely be focused around activities within the first three“As”, for example, sampling programmes, and the offering of free trials. For more established brands, the focus may also include building strong brand advocates and loyalty within the active member base.

When members exhibit inactivity over a period of time, they are at risk of abandoning exhibit inactivity over a period of time, they are at risk of abandoning the brand. Re-engagement programmes can be put in place to reduce members leaving the brand when they become inactive.

3. Multi-channel marketing automation

With different marketing programmes to run at the different lifecycle stages, multi-channel marketing automation platforms have gained popularity in recent years. Such platforms enable marketers to design and program campaigns triggered by time, rules or events.

By targeting digital campaigns at the right customer/lead, at the right time, and with the appropriate messages on the suitable channel, brands can look forward to better campaign response rates, thereby leading to better customer experiences and business profitability. Most marketing automation platforms enable real-time tracking of campaign results, for example, SMS deliverability, new members’ sign-up rates, click through rates for offers, etc.

When integrated with transactional data from Point-Of-Sales (POS), sales conversion data from different campaigns can be measured effectively as well, thus giving brand owners and marketers up-to-date information on the revenue generated from marketing campaigns. With the aid of automation, mastering the art of CRM marketing will further propel more interesting and engaging marketing programmes, and grow brand loyalty through value-added services and experiences.

4. Customer analytics and business intelligence

Customers generate lots of data at various touch-points that reveal a lot about themselves.

It is imperative that brands capture such data to understand their customers and capitalise on the insights and opportunities presented. For example, customers may click on certain items of interest when browsing EDMs or interacting with a brand’s website. The data point may reveal the aspiration or desire of the customer.

With the aid of sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms, different data sets can be meshed together to generate more accurate predictive models of customer segments, behaviour patterns and tendency to purchase. The continuous stream of data further helps to optimise the models and predictions.

Ultimately, brand owners will be able to predict even during the early stages of the lifecycle, the customer lifetime value generated by a customer if he/she exhibits certain purchasing patterns or propensity towards certain services or offers.

Equipped with such business intelligence, marketers can plan appropriate campaigns and respective budgets more effectively to optimise customer acquisition costs or forecast potential revenue.

This post has been written by Dr Tang Pak Kay, XGATE Singapore, under the Master Report series of Marketing Magazine, published in the March 2020 issue.