Growing up, I remember going shopping with my dad to a locally owned men’s clothing store off of our town’s main street. I enjoyed our visits to the shop as the owner and his son knew my family by name, always offered us iced tea or coffee (depending on the season) and from time to time they had homemade cookies. My dad liked shopping there because of Dale, his salesman who knew what size shirt, suit and trousers my dad wore in just about every brand they sold. The store has been a part of our town since the 50’s and is still going strong today.
It’s not a mystery why this business is successful at a time when most people choose to shop at the mall or online. What sets this men’s clothier apart from larger retailers is its commitment to building strong, engaged relationships with customers and their families.
Many larger retailers have taken a cue from this small town men’s shop. I shop at one department store not because they carry my favorite brand but because the sales associate who helped me the first time, still sends me handwritten notes notifying me of sales, new styles and upcoming events. My parents would probably argue that’s the way retailers used to treat customers.
B2C marketing goes back to basics
B2C marketers have realized there’s a lot of “noise” out there. Prospective and current customers are getting hit from every direction by advertisements and other marketing tactics. Brands need to stand out, provide personalized content (like the notes my sales associate sends me), remember the details (like Dale knows my dad’s shirt size) and offer benefits that keep customers coming back for more (like iced tea and cookies).
Fortunately for B2C marketers, big data provides information such as a shirt size, favorite designer or email address. The trick is using the data to reach the right people at the right time with the right message. This customized “old school” approach may be a step back in marketing strategy, however it’s a leap forward in how we use marketing technology.
Marketing automation can help the B2C marketer develop and execute highly personalized campaigns; however, only lifecycle marketing focuses on the individual person and their journey with your brand. By understanding where a person is in their lifecycle, B2C marketers can better determine how the contact is communicated to, by whom and how often. These are all important factors in building relationships and driving engagement, much like the men’s apparel shop in my hometown has been doing since 1959.