What is customer intimacy, and why should marketers care?

1 Nov, 2017
5 Min Read Dan Ward

What is customer intimacy, and why should marketers care?

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Imagine that you are about to buy a present for a friend. As you wander the shops or browse an online store, you search for something they’ll love by drawing on everything you know about them to help you choose the perfect gift. The more you know about your friend, the better choice you can make. And the same is true for marketing: the more we know about our customers, the better we can serve them. Knowing more allows us to offer more of what they want and need, which ultimately creates deeper customer connections (AKA customer intimacy).

Companies benefit from improved customer intimacy in many ways, including:
  • Faster sales cycles
  • Lifelong brand ambassadors
  • Organic marketing
  • Ideas for innovation, problem solving and strategies

Customers also benefit, through:

  • Time-saving (having their needs met quickly and efficiently)
  • A sense of value
  • Stronger emotional connection
  • Financial savings via personalised rewards and discounts

With such far-reaching benefits, fostering a marketing culture that supports customer intimacy is not just important. It’s essential. But how do we create customer intimacy? How do we get to that point where we know our customers so well that we can anticipate their wants, needs, likes and dislikes?

Here are five strategies to help your organisation improve customer intimacy:

1. Identify opportunities to learn more

Luckily, we live in an age where customer information is abundant. Social media, permission marketing, face-to-face customer interactions and the ability to track it all through customer relationship management (CRM) software, means most companies are able to compile and store copious amounts of qualitative customer data. And it’s often customers who are driving the effective use of this data to make life easier. CRM powerhouse Salesforce, for example, surveyed 7000+ global consumers and business buyers on their expectations for a smarter customer experience. It found that 52 percent of consumers are highly likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalise their communications. 63 percent of millennials are happy to share data in exchange for personalised offers and discounts. And in a B2B world, 77 percent of business buyers agree that technology has significantly changed expectations of how companies should interact with them.

Action: Identify every opportunity to learn more about your customers.

2. Examine touch points

Customer intimacy doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of continued consistently positive experiences with a brand over time. However, by failing to capture data at every touch point, you fail to learn anything to help you serve customers better next time.

Action: Evaluate all customer touch points. Identify opportunities to increase the quantity, and examine the quality and consistency of each one. Lastly, look for ways to record customer experiences so you can learn from them.

3. Put customer experience first

Customer experience is paramount – from a chat with a salesperson to the product and service range, display and brand aesthetics, and ease of providing feedback. When customers feel valued, they offer more of themselves. This “more” becomes inherently valuable when collected and used to inform strategies to create an even better customer experience.

Action: Use data to avoid treating customers like data. Invest in feedback, employee training and better lead capture processes to create highly personalised customer experiences.

4. Balance social media give and take

Social media offers exceptional opportunities to engage with customers on a personal level. Most marketing strategies focus heavily on social media “giving”, i.e.: What can we give out in content, information and promotions to improve reach and engagement?  But improving customer intimacy requires “taking” what customers are willing to share, and insights available through Facebook data, and using it to develop a deeper understanding of customers.

Action: Balance social media give and take by using information gained through comments, shares, likes and Facebook data to create better customer profiles.

5. Collect and interpret data properly

The nirvana of customer intimacy is reached when targeted campaigns elicit targeted responses, which are then used to create even more targeted campaigns. This beautiful cycle results in the best kind of customer intimacy – one where you truly know what your customers need, and your customers can’t imagine getting it anywhere else. It may seem impossible to compile, manage and interpret customer data from all possible sources to achieve this nirvana state, however, clever software companies are making it easy with intuitive CRM systems.

Action:  Your CRM can do a lot of the hard work for you, if you know how to put it to good use. Want to discover the quickest route to achieving customer intimacy nirvana?

Download our white paper: Digital Trends 2017: Harnessing data to build customer intimacy.

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