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Fastcoworks Created for and commissioned by Adobe
Fastcoworks Created for and commissioned by Adobe
Telltale Signs Of Unsubscribers (And How To Win Them Back)

Preventing online churn is hard, not because marketers don’t know why you’re leaving, but because they often don’t even know who you are. But these potential lost customers do have telltale behaviors.

At the Adobe Summit conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, there was an entire session devoted to these patterns, not because they’re the key to shopping churn (although they might be). Rather, spotting the activities is the key to growth in digital channels.

"You need to be able to see your customers, and your potential customers, and understand they’re the same type of people," said Krista Vezain, senior solution consultant and audience manager at Adobe. "You can actually message them like they’re already customers and give them the warm and fuzzies. That can really help drive conversion."

Of course, it’s only possible to assemble the proper clues by tracking what people are doing online—from device to device and from site to site. That’s a tall order. And even if you succeed in precise tracking, the data is sullied any time a friend or family member browses on the same device.

But back to those patterns: What are they? They’re a combination of online and offline activities: calling customer service; visiting a company’s FAQ page; filing a complaint; checking out competing sites or searching to comparison shop.

The next step is matching a known customer to an anonymous online visitor. It’s a precarious calculation. Message a shopper the wrong way, and you risk turning off a new customer instead of converting him. Doug Moore, another senior solution consultant and audience manager at Adobe, said these faux pas usually originate with the data sources used to create visitor profiles.

"Those data sources are going to be run by different people at your company who have different ideas about how to push that data out, how to target people, even how to define an audience," Moore said.

Platforms for data management, or DMPs, centralize what a company knows about its customers so marketers can trust that the messages are going to the right eyeballs, and can avoid spending twice to reach the same person.

But the risk of customers falling through the cracks isn’t nearly as big as the risk of over-messaging or mis-messaging them, said Vezain—especially when it comes to Millennials. They have little sympathy for a tone-deaf campaign.

"A lot of people are thinking, ‘I don’t want to trim anything off my campaign!’" Vezain said. "But in some cases it’s a way better experience for your consumers."

This article was created for and commissioned by Adobe, and the views expressed are their own.