A Lesson in Digital Consumer Behavior and
the Power of First Party Data
I am a reader and even with my own company, we are still looking at new ways to connect to customers, understand how to take a sometimes-complex product, provide simplification and direction. At True Omni, we focus on the transformation of visitor experience through new types of touchpoints and the consolidation of channels and devices.
This morning I thought this may be helpful to those of you who have a lot on your plate but want to understand high-level the evolution of behavior and why first-party data is so important. I will let you in on a secret it all under thinks with Google. There is so much great free information and research I highly recommend when you have some time check it out.
Organizing the messy middle and a philosophy that continues to direct us today. Every business must understand the changes in behavior and key attributes that can move a customer in your direction. However, the one key thing that stands true is Give to getting, a core item in our value statement at True Omni.
Relevant points to consider for the Travel Industry
Consumers decide to book a vacation, hotel, and take experiences in many different ways, here are a few with my twist.
- Simplify information and make it direct
- Provide instant options for booking or connecting to information
- Use social and reviews whenever possible, to connect and reassure
- Use real people experiencing and talking about what they did and liked
- Provide consistency of brand and experience across every channel and device
- Provide ways to save money, or give them a reason, event, or experience to purchase or engage now
- Know your differences in the brand and use them to get the customer to the decision finish line
There is more below and studies you can download, it’s all-great information and you just have to put in your key attributes and concentration points to build your strategy.
To make this simple for everyone from an overview perspective I will take a little bit of jump to first-party data. If you are not aware of this term you want to be, it’s the understanding of what your customers do, where they go, what they purchase, and ultimately what they like. The goal for any business is to understand their customer better and by doing this to personalize the experience to their need. Security practices are making this much more difficult and online marketers will talk for days about things they can do. However, I will put the focus back on a quote I read 5 years ago from the coffee company CEO. “Everyone is worried about security until they can’t get there Latte exactly how they like at the time they want it”
What this means is people are willing to share information with you if you are giving them something in return. That can be simple sharable information, or it may mean more personalized ways to connect with experiences. This is the part the takes practice and doing this cross-device and channel is a great way to learn.
Marketing Maturity Indicators
So, from the 5 marketing maturity indicators below, I will do a quick high-level on first-party data and some things to consider getting more and better data. If you have ever talked with our company, we are not shy to say that visitor services are one of the weakest points of data in most travel organization’s data sets. High-traffic areas, visitor centers, etc. are notoriously bad getting and understanding data as travelers engage in destination.
Here are a few things to consider as you look at multi-channel multi-device technology and ways to use them to get better data. For this let me focus on new innovative ways to gather more data. I will do this in the context of interactive options.
1. Provide new ways for travelers to customize or engage with your travel brand through interactive screens and mobile, building consistency of brand and providing new tools and options
2. Interaction points such as Photobooth and sharing exploration through Kiosk and mobile, Interactive Trails, Itinerary suggestions and builders, Guestbooks, and local celebrity connections
3. Providing these new types of tools are a great way to pepper in questions to understand your traveler better as you give them cool things to use its ok to ask something in return
4. Rewards, Offers, and Deals – this can be as simple as providing badges when someone completes a hike or providing a T-shirt for answering cultural or sustainability questions. In each case, the user provides me more information on what they did and where they went
5. Exposure leads to engagement, the more consistent and relevant your brand information is the more people will engage, using digital signage and unique high-traffic areas to expose your brand will lead users to your digital tools and thus increase first-party data.
Messy Middle of Consumer Decision makings
- Category heuristics: short descriptions of key product specifications can simplify purchase decisions.
- Power of now: The longer you have to wait for a product, the weaker the proposition becomes.
- Social proof: Recommendations and reviews from others can be very persuasive.
- Scarcity bias: As stock or availability of a product decreases, the more desirable it becomes.
- Authority bias: Being swayed by an expert or trusted source.
- Power of free: A free gift with a purchase, even if unrelated, can be a powerful motivator.
- Ensure brand presence so your product or service is strategically front of mind while your customers explore.
- Employ behavioral science principles intelligently and responsibly to make your proposition compelling as consumers evaluate their options.
- Close the gap between trigger and purchase so you’re existing, and potential customers spend less time exposed to competitor brands.
- Build flexible, empowered teams who can work cross-functionally to avoid traditional branding and performance silos that are likely to leave gaps in the messy middle. See reference from Google.
A new McKinsey report shows that nearly all organizations, whether traditional companies or startups are reorienting their business models to be more digital as a direct result of the impact COVID-19 has had on changing consumer behaviors. Last year we reported that having best-in-class digital marketing can return brands as much as 20% extra revenue and 30% lower costs. At the time only 2% of businesses in the BCG research could be classified as ‘multi-moment’ marketers, with the rest fitting in earlier stages of digital maturity.