Your customers are engaging with your business across an increasing number of touch points – websites, social media, in-store, mobile and tablets. But regardless of how they engage, they expect a customised, personalised, and consistent experience.
This expectation continues to be a challenge for businesses, which have to manipulate enormous amounts of data to try to understand how to effectively engage each individual.
The importance of data
In this landscape, data needs to be collected and analysed in real time, and any data needs to be instantly actionable, preferably in a predictive way. Without these capabilities, marketing messages are less compelling and response rates fall.
Conversely, brands that embrace real-time contextualisation through powerful and flexible big data see huge uplifts in campaign responses.
Marketers are now recognising the imperative of these omnichannel, contextualised communications with their prospects and customers.
Building your marketing strategy on a solid customer data foundation will pay dividends for years to come
The more personalised the experience, the happier the customer. A happy customer isn’t just a customer who wishes to purchase more, it’s a customer that is retained, up sold and – perhaps most importantly – the customer who becomes an advocate for your brand.
Even so, how many times have you heard your peers and colleagues complain that they don’t have proper analytics capabilities, which means that they are limited in return on investment (ROI) view, optimisation and progressing the digital experience? Or that connecting all the activity and data across multiple channels and departments, and unifying them for monitoring measurement, evaluation and future marketing activity is challenging?
And how about that disparate systems and data make it hard or impossible to personalise campaigns and gather, test and analyse customer data?
In my mind those are pretty flimsy excuses. There are powerful customer and marketing analytics tools out there, and many will enable marketers to understand their customer’s behaviour not just by answering questions, but by asking ‘what can I do with this information?’
How well do you know your customers?
Take these questions as jumping off points:
- Do you know how many people visited your stores, purchased, or left without buying?
- Do you know how long it takes for a customer to make a return purchase, and then another?
- Do you know when a customer becomes inactive or lapsed?
- Do you know what your most loyal customers look like, and how to find more of them?
- Do you know how to apply what you learn about your customers and turn that into personalised conversations?
- Do you know how to monitor changes in consumer behaviour, and act on it quickly?
- Do you know how to use affinity reports to determine the knowns – people who buy ‘x’ will buy ‘y’ – but also the unknowns and the new marketing opportunities they provide?
- Do you know how to shadow customers to determine the right time to contact them? Do you know how to track trending behaviours, such as identifying ‘repeat refunders’ or repeat returners?
Marketers need to be able to act on data, not just pore over numbers in spreadsheets – there is a difference between a data question and a data driven insight targeted call to action.
Marketers need guidance about what is relevant, what their customer indicators and churn indicators are and how to action all of this in an automated fashion.
Basic reporting arguably amplifies the volume of data out there, but it also adds to the information that marketers struggle with.
As a marketer, you should ask yourself the question: If for example you knew 40% of customers who shopped in the last three months were new to your brand, and out of those, 10% have bought again and most within two weeks of their initial purchase – would that be a valuable insight?
In addition, if you could then use a tool that identifies new customers who have not repurchased by the two week mark and automatically re-engages with them – leveraging relevant content using your marketing cloud software – would that be beneficial to your business?
If the answer is yes, you should consider using technology that is out there to help move you towards the ultimate goal of providing only relevant and timely content and marketing messages to each of your prospects and customers.
Remember that building your marketing strategy on a solid customer data foundation will pay dividends for years to come.