Why You Need a People-Centered Engagement Strategy

AllCloud Blog:
Cloud Insights and Innovation

Salesforce Marketing Cloud empowers your organization to connect with your audience at a highly personalized level and through a wide range of digital channels, yet many businesses struggle to achieve increased audience engagement.

While Marketing Cloud is an extremely robust solution, it is still a tool at the end of the day. As with any tool, it can only be as strong as your strategy for wielding it.

One of the biggest barriers we see that holds an organization back from getting the most out of Salesforce Marketing Cloud is sticking to an engagement strategy that puts the communication channel or department at the center. 

This approach splits your focus between digital touchpoints, making it all too easy to slip into silos that deliver a disjointed consumer experience.

For success with Marketing Cloud, or any marketing solution, your engagement strategy must be centralized around the contact profile — putting people at the center of all communications.

Here are three crucial reasons you need a people-centered engagement strategy.

1. Consistency across channels

Audiences expect a consistent experience when interacting with your brand, no matter the channel. Whether they send a direct message to your brand on Twitter, click on a branded Facebook post, read a marketing email, or call your service department, your audience wants to feel that they are interacting with a single entity. 

To achieve this, your communication strategy for email, mobile, web, and all other channels must leverage the same view of the contact you are interacting with.

If your teams plan and execute communication on different channels with completely siloed approaches, you may end up with wild deviations in the tone and style of your messaging from channel to channel — resulting in frustration for your audience at best, and a loss of loyalty or revenue at worst. Smart Insights reports that 63% of consumers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics.

With a people-centered engagement strategy that connects your CRM and marketing automation platform, you can achieve a view of each contact that takes into account any channels where they interact with your brand — from sales calls and marketing emails to customer service cases.

This allows you to deliver a consistent impression of your brand’s personality, values, and dedication to your audience, no matter the channel where they engage with you.

2. Consistency across departments

It’s important to acknowledge that audience engagement goes beyond just the marketing team. Your audience members engage with your brand every time they speak to a salesperson, make a purchase, or contact customer service.

With increasing expectations for personalization, consumers want to feel that your brand knows who they are and their history with your business, no matter which team member they are speaking to. Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer Report” revealed that although 76% of customers expect consistency across departments, they don’t feel businesses are delivering. As many as 54% of customers say it feels like sales, service, and marketing teams don’t share information.

If a person submits a support request for one of your services, and receives a marketing email that same day cross-selling them on a new service, this can break the feeling of a cohesive, personalized interaction. Similarly, if a consumer has just purchased your product, they likely don’t need to receive a coupon for that same product the following week. If a new donor has recently donated to your nonprofit, it doesn’t make sense to add them to your fundraising team’s call list for this month.

A people-centered engagement strategy takes into account all interactions that a contact has with your brand, across departments and team members. By bringing your software systems together to build a full view of each contact, you won’t miss an important touchpoint with one team that impacts the way your other teams should communicate with that contact.

3. Personalization based on stage of customer journey 

One of the most valuable benefits of a people-centered engagement strategy is that it gives you the ability to personalize communications to each contact based on what stage they’re at in their journey. 

The typical consumer journey, or cycle, that marketing teams look at includes stages of Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, and Loyalty. While these stages flow into each other in a cyclical motion, audience members may begin engaging with your brand at any stage. 

Modern consumers expect brands to meet them where they’re at in their journey, whether they’ve just heard of your brand for the first time or they are ready to make a purchase and looking for sales support. Google reports that 61% of people expect brands to tailor their experience based on their preferences. Doing so is worthwhile for organizations, considering that as many as 90% of leading marketers indicate personalization significantly contributes to business profitability.

To deliver a tailored experience, your entire organization needs to be aware of where each contact is on the journey, in order to cater the type of communication to meet that contact’s needs right now.

By creating a people-centered engagement strategy, you place the contact view at the core of all communication decisions. This empowers your teams with the context and information they need about each contact, to send them information that matches what they’re looking for at a given time. Matching your communications to each person’s stage in the buyer’s journey helps give your audience the comforting feeling that you know them — that you understand where they’re coming from and are ready to meet them. 

For People-Centered Engagement to be Successful, You Need Connected Systems

To be successful with a people-centered engagement strategy, you need to be able to create a holistic view of each contact in your audience — this should be data that all teams who communicate with your audience can access, see, and add to as they track interactions across touchpoints. 

This means it’s essential to integrate your CRM and marketing automation platform and to connect them with any other systems your organization leverages to engage your audience. With a people-centered approach to integrating and setting up your platforms, you can connect the pieces of each contact’s profile into one view that allows you to deliver messages and respond to their interactions in a timely, consistent, and personalized manner.

It’s not enough to simply implement Marketing Cloud, or connect it to your CRM, and start sending away. You need a strategy behind each implementation and integration, to achieve a well-rounded view of the most important piece of engagement: the people.

Looking to improve your audience engagement? Want help creating a people-centered strategy to leverage Salesforce Marketing Cloud for success? Reach out to AllCloud to discuss how we can help you implement Salesforce and strategize to get the most out of your systems.

Chris Zullo

Marketing Cloud Practice Director

Read more posts by Chris Zullo