A measured approach to technology adoption and implementation has led to deeper and more meaningful relationships with its customers, Starbucks’VP of Marketing Technology & Quality Engineering, Barbara Spiering reveals.
Outlining this more ‘human approach’ to the brand experience in the latest instalment of Cheetah Digital’s Signals Executive interview Series, Barbara highlights four key elements critical to their success with their relationship marketing platform:
- Don’t Let Tech Take The Wheel
Prioritise technology that enhances customer relationships and enables greater personalisation. Tech should never interrupt the connection between a brand and its customers. Used properly, technology can strengthen relationships across formats, with personalisation as the foundation of all communications.
“The goal of technology is to create that bridge between the physical and the digital.” Barbara said. “So customers feel as seen and known in all of our digital channels as when they walk into the store, and that it’s a seamless experience.”
- Personalisation Is Everything
More than 60% of all Starbucks orders are customised to the individual customer. That highlights the need for useful technology that allows them to keep the personal connection authentic throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
“Customers (need to) feel as seen and known in all of our digital channels as when they walk into the store,” Barbara said. “Because that’s why people come in, they want to be seen and known from the digital, to the physical. We know who you are, and it’s throughout the entire lifecycle. And that is really our goal, to create that connection.”
- Clean Data > Big Data
Data is only as good as its accuracy. Tech is great at collecting data, but it requires a guiding hand to ensure the data collected is accurate and useful. That means technology partners must share the same vision for executing relationship marketing at the highest level possible.
“You need to have really strong data governance practices, machine learning at scale,” Barbara said. “If you don’t have clean data, you’re never going to send the right message.”
- POV Matters
Brands need to stand for something when communicating with customers in order for the message to be authentic. That means developing a point-of-view and ensuring it’s reflected in all customer interactions.
“You need to understand the message that you want to send to your customers and why you want to have that dialogue”, Barbara said. “Because personalisation won’t be effective unless you understand what you want to say and what relationship you want to have. Bring the head with the heart, and that’s your message.”
Emphasising the importance of a well-functioning customer relationship and personalisation strategy, the most recent Cheetah Digital 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index survey found that 74% of global consumers want brands to treat them as an individual (a 110% increase from 2021), and 71% have a favourite brand as it strives to develop a relationship with its customers. Both are critical factors for brands to consider as the economy points to more challenges ahead.
“As brands move to acquire zero-party data to future proof their advertising and relationship marketing efforts, they can look at Starbucks as the blueprint,” said Wendy Werve, Cheetah Digital’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Our clients are bracing for a potentially turbulent economic landscape ahead by reinforcing their investments in owned channels such as email and SMS. This is where zero-party data and personalisation can impact the bottom line, especially as cookies and third-party data continue to disintegrate.”
To learn more about how Starbucks is using technology to deepen customer relationships and drive engagement at scale, watch the full interview here.
About Cheetah Digital
Cheetah Digital, now part of CM Group, is the leader in Relationship Marketing solutions enabling global enterprise brands to acquire, understand, engage and retain customers across the entire lifecycle. By bridging the gap between data and real-time contextualized consumer signals, their Customer Engagement Platform ensures that marketers can easily and fluidly understand their customers, activate on insights in real-time, and deliver personalized experiences across all channels and touchpoints.
Many of the world’s best brands, including Starbucks, Hilton, American Airlines, and Williams-Sonoma, trust Cheetah Digital to deliver a unique value exchange with their consumers, create personalized experiences in all channels and drive revenue throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
To learn more, visit www.cheetahdigital.com.