When it comes to modern customer engagement, customer data is the building block of any successful strategy. This information—made possible by the rise of mobile and other growing digital platforms—provides marketing, growth, and engagement teams with unprecedented insight into the behaviors and preferences of their user base. But while ensuring your company is tracking and managing that data is job one, brilliant customer engagement takes more than just access to information: You have to know what to do with it.
To help brands better understand, reach, retain, and monetize their digital audiences, I sat down with Pomelo Fashion CMO, Jean Thomas. Pomelo Fashion is a leading fashion ecommerce brand headquartered in Bangkok that’s known for the brilliant job they do in understanding and serving their customers on their website and mobile app. Thomas has led Pomelo Fashion as they’ve refined and optimized their customer engagement strategy. Our conversation highlighted four key learnings that can help any brand drive stronger engagement and long-term value:
1. Embrace Personalization
According to MarTech Advisor, 90% of today’s consumers are annoyed when they receive irrelevant marketing. Yet, many brands are still failing to target and personalize the messages they send, increasing the odds that they alienate message recipients. With the right technology and marketing strategy, it’s possible to make that happen responsively, and at a massive scale.
For Pomelo Fashion, personalization starts at the very beginning of their customer journey. “We’ve been focusing on not just having a generic set of email as a welcome series, but actually having personalized welcome series based on a certain trigger people are having,” Thomas explained. “Let’s say you installed the app the first time you joined Pomelo, or if you were on the web first. If you bought [something] the first time, did you return it? Did you not return it? What was the reason? [It’s important to us to] have a welcome that is personalized.”
But while ensuring a personalized onboarding experience is key, the benefits of personalization don’t stop there. At Pomelo Fashion, personalization is also a main component of their strategy to drive customer purchases. “Let’s say someone had been browsing for an extensive period of time...or if someone filled a cart, then visited the app multiple times but didn’t check out,” Thomas told me. “The last big project we are really trying to complete right now is, ‘How do we personalize in a way that every time you come to our app and website, every single customer has a different experience based on their browsing behaviors, based on data collection, and so forth.” For brands that make it happen, the rewards can be immense. According to McKinsey, successful personalization initiatives lead to an average revenue uplift of 10-30%, which can do a lot to bolster your brand’s bottom line.
2. Every Country Is Different (and Respecting Those Differences Makes an Impact)
With the rise of mobile, it’s easier than ever for a company to grow beyond their original location and become a global brand. But while the ubiquity of smartphones and the platform provided by Apple’s App Store and Google Play make the technical side of the equation less challenging in years past, the regional and cultural complications that can come with cross-border expansion are just as pronounced in our modern world.
“Originally, [Pomelo Fashion] basically treated all the countries [we served] as one,” Thomas explained. “I think the next step for us in each of these [countries] is how to provide a collection which is relevant for each market. For example, maybe Indonesia and Malaysia are more conservative in terms of what they buy versus Thailand. Maybe Singapore is a bit more work-wear-focused...I think you have different ways you can do regional-type [marketing] without forgetting the local aspect.” For Pomelo Fashion, that meant carrying out “a campaign with top celebrities from each of the key markets we’re in and we put them together…[to] push around the community aspect of Pomelo.” The specific tactics may different from brand to brand and region to region, but the focus on providing a relevant, meaningful experience to every customer, regardless of country, is always going to be central.
3. Relevancy Trumps Frequency—But Watch Your Frequency!
No brand sets out to overwhelm and annoy their customer base with the messages they send. That said, too many marketers find themselves sending constant blast campaigns to their audience, often in the pursuit of short-term business objectives. But while this issue is often framed entirely in terms of frequency, it can just as often be about relevancy.
If the message you send is likely to be of high-interest to the recipient, you should err on the side of sending it. That said, not every message is created equally—and if a message isn’t a must-send, it needs to clear a higher bar if you’ve already sent a significant amount of outreach to that customer recently.
The key is assessing your messaging cadence and the likelihood of a message being seen as relevant and valuable based on each recipient’s region, unique behaviors, and preferences.
“Maybe in Singapore, your frequency cap needs to be much lower because Singaporeans absolutely hate anything intrusive, while in India, for example, people are much more likely to engage, and they don’t mind as much having multiple promotions [sent to them],” Thomas said. “I think in general you need to have a strong strategy, which is adjusted per market and for each type of customer. If your customer is extremely loyal, I don't think you need to basically push them so much because they're already buying with you so often. Then if you want to re-engage customers the same way, you don't have to push too much. You want to push the right message at the right time and kind of let the customer make their own decisions. You don't want to saturate them with your brand, basically.”
4. Thoughtfulness Matters When It Comes to Customer Engagement
Today’s marketers are operating in a world that’s been fundamentally changed by the passage of major data privacy laws like Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). It’s always been a good idea for brands to respect their customers’ data preferences and treat the customer experience in thoughtful ways, but with the rise of these new laws and the corresponding shifts in consumer expectations around how their data is handled, this kind of care and consideration are now essential.
That means brands need to be mindful of not just the messages they send, but also how the messages they send play in the large consumer environment. “Southeast Asia particularly is very promotion-driven. Everyone is getting spammed promotional [messages] across every single player, whether they are fashion players or marketplaces,” Thomas told me. “I think a lot of customers are looking for more engaging content and more educational content...You have to adapt to it, hence why the customer engagement part is critical.”
Providing your customers with brilliant experiences doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of thought and care—along with the right technologies, strategies, and teamwork—to effectively deliver the kinds of highly relevant, valuable messages that today’s consumer responds to. To learn more about the kinds of technologies that are needed to make that possible, check out our exclusive vertical customer engagement stack video roundup.