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Observations from DMA Customer Engagement Conference


Last week I attended the DMA conference ‘Customer Engagement 2017’ at the British Museum. Alongside the lovely surroundings and usual carb overload, here’s my overview of what I took out from the day:

1. In a new uncertain world loyalty could be a winner

Foresight Factory reported an increase in consumers staying loyal to certain brands. It doesn’t take much of a leap to get to my first thought on hearing this – staying loyal to what you know can be a way of creating familiarity in uncertain times. Putting aside the uncertainness of the world, this could provide a strong opportunity to put focus behind loyalty and giving your customers reasons to stay with your brand.

2. There are two sides to loyalty

As Clive Humby observed – it’s not just about customers being loyal to a brand, brands need to be loyal to their customers too. We can’t expect behaviour from our customers which we’re not willing to provide ourselves. Data, as we all know, can help deliver this but we all need to start focusing more on personalising loyalty to reward customers with a stronger sense of value just for them. A requirement referenced by Foresight Factory. Delivery though can be a challenge – an interesting space to watch growing and progressing.

3. There are two sides to the explosion of data

We all know that the more data we have the better content and offers we can provide to consumers. But we sometimes forget that consumers don’t always think this way themselves. But this could take us down an interesting path as raised by Clive Humby was very interesting on this subject and talked about the potential rise of digital ghettos – what happens to consumers who don’t want the app or to share their data? Do they become ostracised from all messaging, offers and promotions? Is the future deal that you have to give us your data to get anything?

4. Email can really work

The break out session run by Brand Alley created quite a talking point. The revelation that they emailed their customers twice a day and still had a strong engagement rates stunned a lot of people. How was this possible? For me, the learning was that you only get to this by testing, testing & testing again. Having a truly dynamic programme in place which supports ongoing change to drive optimisation can work wonders.

5. Tell one overall story but have some fun

The afternoon case studies were an interesting session. The key lesson that came out of it for me was that customer engagement is far more than communications. It has to permeate throughout a business and be thought about at every touchpoint. Consumers these days have high expectations and are quick to be disappointed by different stories from different parts of a brand. But engagement has to be fun too – tell stories which really resonate and which have a sense of purpose and you’ll have engaged customers staying loyal to your brand.

Victoria White, Senior Planner, TMW Unlimited

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