As an operator in the Leisure and Hospitality sector, it is highly likely that you have a database of all of your customers- in fact, I can’t think of any company we have worked with who hasn’t created, and isn’t using, its own database on a regular basis.
That database is likely to have at least basic information on your customers who, at some point or another, have given you information about themselves along with their permission to use that information- sometimes unwittingly it has to be said. As a minimum, this is likely to include gender, age and email address. Occasionally this might include postcode and/ or postal address.
Mechanics to gather that information can include, but are not limited to, paper (eg customer comment card/ business cards), websites and social media (eg Instagram, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook). Most operators are using as many points of contact with the customer as possible to collect information on them. Retailers also collect information at point of sale/point of pay and via provision of electronic receipts – mechanics which our sector is beginning to adopt Building a database of customer information is not new. Operators have been using email marketing for at least the last 30 years- in particular to build loyalty schemes around families or the over 60’s for instance. Over these years though, data collection methodology and email campaign analysis have both become extremely sophisticated. As an operator, you are likely to know, almost to the minute, when to send the right email to the right person with the right offer based on this detailed analysis. You will be able to anticipate the results and the ROI of every single campaign and build your consumer email campaign plan around past successes (and failures).
Data collection though can sometimes still be somewhat basic- just age, gender, email address and, potentially, postal address. Even intense analysis of email campaign results will not hide the fact that your customer information is, potentially, relatively sparse and that there is only so much you know about your customers. In this day and age, there is no reason for this to be the case In fact, it cannot continue to be the case. Customers are becoming increasingly irritated by junk email and junk communication. In fact, it doesn’t just irritate them, it alienates them from the sender. They’re highly cynical: a study by Experian in 2016 revealed that 60% of customers now feel uncomfortable giving out any kind of personal information.
This is incredibly important in a world where customers decide for themselves what they want to read and see- they will positively seek you out if they want and they will make a conscious choice to receive communication from you, if they want. Or don’t want. They are no longer passive recipients of company advertising. This is about ‘pull’ communication vs ‘push’ communication. It’s about focussing messaging on what your customers want to know rather than on what you want to tell them.
According to Mintel’s 2017 Pub Visiting report, 43% of customers now notice email advertising, whilst social media is very close behind at 41%.
The former is dwindling, the latter is growing which is interesting given the fact that social media effectively gives the ‘user’ the power to govern how often they see communications. Frequency is key and absolutely a balancing act – according to Hubspot, 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from a company’s emails because they were receiving too many emails from them Statista states though that 86% of consumers are happy to receive promotional emails on a monthly basis. It’s a question of judgement at the end of the day.
It means then that your business needs to collect as much linked information on each customer as possible so that you can make each piece of communication to each and every customer as relevant, personal and bespoke as possible. Age, gender and postal address information, needless to say, is not enough. Single customer view (SCV), as offered by Acteol for instance, where all relevant information is collected on a customer by customer basis, is the way forward as many sector operators already know. It is the critical element to ensure all your cross channel marketing efforts are connected, seamless and optimised.
It’s not easy. As the old saying goes ‘If you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out’ so the data you collect has to be reliable and captured in the right, consistent, way. It can be expensive. It can be time consuming. It needs to be led by marketing and supported by all the other functions. It has to be, by its very nature, completely customer focused.
Data for SCV will be obtained from many different sources- your existing database, calls to action, your website, landing pages for different promotions, your social media activity competitions, your tills, your payment app, your online booking system and your loyalty scheme etc etc. Apps are another route being explored- in 2016 M&B developed five new brand apps which, together, have had more than 400,000 downloads.
SCV can also include information on complaints and customer service. It can include information on social media dialogue including Trip Advisor. SCV should include every single piece of information on every single customer that you can possibly think of -and collect
SCV pools all this information in one place on each of your customers. Patently analysis of this information in a meaningful way is just critical. You can do this in house or you can use an agency, like Elliotts, to do this for you and then use the output to determine and plan all customer communication using this analysis.
In SCV, each of your customers on your database is allocated a pin number and all information on that customer is then appended to this pin number. This data will include gender, age, email address, postal address but can include so much more- visit patterns, buying patterns and preferences, spend, frequency, group size, loyalty scheme information- the list goes on. Importantly though, it can include social media profiles, in particular Facebook profiles.
Its Facebook profiling which is so interesting and compelling. If your customers log onto your WiFi via Wireless Social for instance (which 62% of customers will do when they log onto WiFi), then your business will have access to their Facebook profiles (of course customers will have given their permission for you to have this access). On average, Facebook users, tag 252 likes. These likes provide a wealth of information on SCV
This is the holy grail for many pub/ bar and restaurant businesses. SCV, particularly when it includes social media information, can be segmented and analysed in so many ways. It will help determine even more precisely what should be communicated to which customers by when and allows for personalisation almost down to individual level. Critical given that personalised messages now improve click-through by an average of 14%, and according to Experian deliver 6x higher transaction rates. It allows for real engagement with your customers. If you communicate with them in this way, they will trust you and you use you.