Stop Acting Like a Helicopter Parent and Improve Your CX

Posted on by Ocean Fine

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to advanced personalized marketing and customer experience (CX). Fifty-two percent of consumers said they may switch brands if their experiences didn’t meet expectations. And 71 percent of shoppers express frustration when their experience is impersonal.

Personalization is a key component to marketing campaigns, but data can be used unwisely and give brands a bad rap. We all remember the story a few years ago of Target pitching baby products to the family and friends of expectant women before they themselves could reveal their pregnancy to loved ones. Less dramatic but equally problematic, bad personalization can follow us around in an annoying fashion and bring out the moody teenager in all of us; in other words, consumers want brands to act more like friends than parents. That means creating customer experiences (CX) that provide real value so consumers appreciate it like they would getting a tip from a buddy.

To befriend customers, marketers should know where they typically go and how often. Location data should be utilized to enhance experiences with relevant information. Think about how much better Yelp is at recommending nearby restaurants because of location data. The same goes for home shopping with Redfin and getting around town with Lyft. It’s all about enhancing experiences with information you didn’t even know you wanted or guiding customers into action without being invasive.

Brands Already Getting It

In April, Zyrtec debuted a skill for Amazon Echo and Google Assistant that delivers daily allergy information. The Johnson & Johnson brand’s AllergyCast mobile app anchors the initiative, pulling in data from sources like,, as well as location data from mobile apps and social insights. From there, it generates stats about the current local pollen count for Echo and Assistant users.

HotelTonight homes in on in-stadium New York Yankees’ fans who may be willing to get a hotel around Yankee Stadium when a ballgame goes into extra innings. Yankee fans who start leaving before the game’s conclusion won’t receive a message via the HotelTonight app, while those who stay put get a special offer. A HotelTonight exec has lauded the program as a significant success.

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Zyrtec and HotelTonight are just a couple of examples among a steady stream of motivating case studies of brands connecting with customers due to location data. And, in more and more cases, location is the fuel that powers multichannel efforts. For instance, REI’s #OptOutside campaign has combined digital out-of-home and mobile ads with location data in Washington D.C., Denver and San Francisco to drive over 3.5 times more store visits.

Next-Generation Inspiration

Connected cars will eventually pave a few lucrative roads for cool use cases of location data, employing drivers’ whereabouts for brand messaging that’s relevant to their time and place.

Imagine this: You are driving home from the airport on Valentine’s Day after an extended work trip, thinking about your significant other, and as you idle at a red light near a flower shop, an ad offering $10 off a dozen roses appears on your dashboard screen. Or, after a car has been driving all night and then approaches a McDonald’s during the morning hours, the fast-food chain could serve a dashboard ad for Egg McMuffins.

Even mom-and-pop players will get into the location game soon. As one example, if you know that someone typically eats Greek on Friday nights and Italian on Sunday evenings based on their movements, special mobile offers from nearby Greek and Italian restaurants going into the weekend would seem like a friendly gift rather than ad targeting. Most folks welcome such messaging—75 percent are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends items based on purchases or knows their purchase history.

In sum, the above brand examples and scenarios show how companies that embrace location data can give their customers something they could really use in a time of need—like a good buddy instead of a helicopter parent. If you want to be a state-of-the-art marketer in 2018, you need to do the same and be the cool kid of CX.

Ocean Fine is vice president of agency & strategic accounts at Factual


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