Question Stream 1.0

by Matt Bahr

With third party ad platforms being dealt crippling blows on a near-weekly basis at the hands of consumer privacy regulations, it seems the honeymoon of turnkey DTC growth is over. Growing a brand from here on out will demand legitimate strategy to differentiate yourself in an expanding market.

The silver lining is the lesson learned: if you rely on a single platform to grow your business, your fate is in the hands of that platform. When you actually get to know your customers instead... well, now you’re building a business that can stand on its own: a business built on customers as advocates.

There is one little snag, however: your customers don’t carry their own data stream around -- that’s what Fairing is here to change. We’re giving brands a conversational data stream built on the foundation of questions and zero-party data.

Meet Question Stream™

Question Stream takes individual, isolated surveys and turns them into an always-on data source; a string of persistent questions whose responses plug into business decisions. It’s how you’ll build a conversational data stream that is both unique to your customer, and unique to you -- a true competitive advantage.

Think of it as making each customer their own Marketing Director for the sake of retention optimization: instead of trying to herd your customers towards LTV like cattle, you let them walk their preferred journey to get there -- and check in with them every step of the way to make sure they have the tools and information they need.

The beauty here is that each check-in along that path becomes a breadcrumb of actionable data to help your brand nurture its unique relationship with that customer. It’s a dataset you simply can’t buy off the shelf.

Why Do You Need Question Stream™?

DTC brands typically use broad, lagging indicators to optimize marketing automation and personalization based on theoretical best practices. For instance: you might send a “refer a friend” discount code email 2 days after purchase, and analyze the email’s performance to decide what you should change. This is all very normal, but a couple points are worth noting here:

  • Because you’re using lagging indicators (email performance results), your best email is always the one you haven’t sent yet. This approach sacrifices current customer relationships in favor of future customers, since the optimization process is fueled by failed experiments.
  • Each of your customers are unique, yet you’re pushing them into stereotypical buckets for efficiency’s sake. Is 2 days the right time frame to offer a discount referral? For some customers, sure. For others, no. Email performance analysis won’t distinguish a disinterested customer from a not-yet-ready customer... they both look like failures on a CTR metric.

Question Stream takes a different approach. Consider the referral as a question: “would you like to refer a friend and get $20 off?” With this new Fairing platform, you can ask that question anytime and (soon) anywhere in the customer relationship. If they respond “no”, they can always come back to it when they’re ready. If they’re not ready, but still want to engage with your brand, they can move onto the next question (or return to other questions they haven’t answered). They go wherever they feel most engaged in the moment -- and in true zero-party data fashion, they also know exactly what information they’ve provided.

Every tool in your retention toolbox is improved with access to this conversational dataset, as questions trigger new forks in the customer journey. Here’s an example stream that connects some of our most popular survey use cases:

  • You ask a new customer about attribution (“how did you hear about us?”), and their answer (“Pinterest”) plus their high order value guides you to segment them as gift-givers. Marketing automation then sends a gift-focused email campaign, personalized with high-dollar items.
  • That customer clicks on the email campaign and makes another purchase. On this order, you ask them a CRO question (“how was your shopping experience today?”) and the customer answers (“Poor”). The order then escalates to Customer Service, because if a returning high-value customer following an email campaign CTA makes a purchase and is still unsatisfied, there are likely technical or communication issues with your campaign or store -- not to mention a potential damaged relationship.
  • Once Customer Service can make amends with the user, this relationship becomes much more intimate, and the customer can be segmented into another group: power users, or advocates. Product & Marketing can collaborate to send this group questions on product R&D, providing incentives and VIP access in exchange for feedback.

How Does Question Stream™ Work

We didn't call Question Stream “multi-question surveys” because Question Stream is inherently different. Surveys are typically created as singular data nets -- you launch one, and you get data on X. Launch another, you’ll get data on Y. Question Stream, on the other hand, lives in perpetuity throughout a customer’s life cycle. On their first order, ask them X, on their second order ask them Y, and so forth. The stream builds your customer’s lifetime journey, always maintaining alignment with the rest of your marketing and operating stack so that the data is actionable at the right time.

Question Stream™ is available now. To learn more, visit our documentation.

 Ready to better know your customers?

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