What Consumers Want From Brands: Personalized Apps, Location Responsivity

'Consumers expect a frictionless environment,' said Hathaway's Erin Levzow, VP Loyalty & CRM, in a keynote highlighting customers' top expectations.

By now, marketers know that customers expect personalized experiences, but Hathaway’s Erin Levzow, VP Loyalty & CRM, put a numerical figure on the trend in a keynote at Brand Innovator’s Dallas event this week: The largest segment of consumers (35 percent) list “mobile apps/websites that are more personalized” as their top priority and future expectation from brands.

Other top consumer priorities included faster payment methods (33 percent), ordering “on the move with faster delivery (27 percent), and apps that can adapt and react to location (25 percent) — all important for brands to consider, and all essentially variations on the personalization theme. After all, responsiveness to location is just another way to provide that customization based on context.

GeoMarketing: You shared the statistics about consumers’ top future expectations. What do they want most, and how can brands cater to that? 

Erin Levzow: The biggest takeaway is that consumers expect a frictionless environment. They expect us to be able to do everything [in a personalized way]. This includes, for example, the time I ordered Panera for delivery; they knocked on the door, and I said, “Come in.” I wanted them to bring it all the way to my sofa.

It’s really about creating [experiences] where I want, when I want, where I want. It’s something that we’ve said for a long time, but now it’s just getting more aggressive. [The abundance] of data [is what] informs that.

What is Hathaway’s approach to helping create that “what I want, where I want it” personalization?

Hathaway’s approach is really a math-based approach: it’s an “if, then” statement. If a customer does this, then they do this — it’s about mapping affinities.

It’s about the fact that every customer has a different journey, and every journey is different. The fact that, when you talk to brand marketers, they say we have three separate journeys. No, there are millions of different journeys, and we need to look at it that way.

How do you do that? What future building that kind of experience — and of loyalty — in your mind? 

It’s about creating purpose. It’s about taking it to the next level of really creating influencers and advocates of a brand — and less about discounts and offers.

Those offers might be something that you use to incentivize the already loyal customer, but it’s really about getting that customer to talk about your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing is still number one.

Leveraging social media is one major way to do that. 

Right. Social media, you have a lot analytics all ready on, and a lot of data you can pull from; but social media is just one piece of the very big puzzle. But it can be used very, very effectively for targeting as well as behavioral insights.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.