I’m a chronic phone loser. Yesterday, it was in an Uber (Thank you, Mohamed!). Today, it will be in a conference room. I hear at least once a day, “just retrace your steps, you’ll find it.” And that works — I haven’t actually lost my phone yet but it doesn’t make it a pleasant or efficient experience during the day.
Traditional marketing follows the same thought process. A customer takes X, Y, Z action — sees a Target ad for Halloween candy, goes to a Target location, and buys the candy. But there’s no way for Target to see that in real-time, send another relevant ad while they’re in-store about their costumes or to connect the ad that resonated with that customer to the point of sale. They have to retrace their customer’s journey.
So where did the customer start? They might have received a circular ad in the mail or was it the banner ad on their smartphone? They do know which location and what they purchased. Maybe Target collected their email address so they can send an email around Thanksgiving. But that’s not proactive marketing, that’s reactionary marketing to the masses — it’s not compelling or engaging. Its almost become offensive as a loyal customer.
Instead, why not take the lessons learned from retracing and apply them to leading the customer onward on his or her journey?
The retracing method isn’t the whole picture. It gives brands access to a customer’s basic demographics — age, gender, location — but that’s not enough to create real-time, personalized experiences that are compelling and engaging for a customer and it doesn’t give brands the ability to gather data around their customers.
By leveraging mobile marketing, apps, mobile pay and beacon technology, brands have the ability not only to follow a customer’s journey — what they’re interested in, what they’ve bought, where they’ve shopped — but also to gather data around their habits and behaviors to follow and lead a customer’s journey simultaneously.
So take it from me, it’s time to stop retracing. It’s exhausting.