Using your data to know your customers
The answer really is in the data — you just need the tools to find it
Marketers are bombarded with solutions, plans and tips to increase campaign response rates, especially during economically trying times. But they can’t use a campaign management solution without a solid foundation of clean, enterprise-level usable data.
It’s not just about lowering the costs for marketing campaigns. Today’s customers expect marketers to not only know who they are but also what they want. For example, it’s neat when the grocery receipt comes with a handful of coupons for products you are likely to buy. These customized coupon systems rely on a vast database of customer transactions. But glitches occur and it can be a bit jarring to get some entirely irrelevant offer like a diaper coupon when you’ve just sent your youngest child off to college.
A similar phenomenon occurs when customers interact with your company online, in person or by phone. Customers expect marketers to have a record of their last service calls, what they purchased last month or what flowers they order every Mother’s Day. And they expect recommendations that match their interests. Importantly, as some companies improve their customer experience management capabilities, customers’ expectations rise.
Customer demands increase the complexity of storing, managing and analyzing data. In turn, this increases the potential for trouble. Marketers can’t afford to create an expensive marketing campaign based on faulty data or offer instant recommendations that are based on an incomplete picture of the client. So what can they do? Here are some ideas:
If data is kept in silos, marketers need to integrate these silos to get a complete view of the customer. It’s quite possible that the Web team can’t merge lists with the direct mail team because the two maintain customer data sets in physically disparate systems that are not integrated with each other.
The value of this is in obtaining a full view of the customer. Marketers can’t predict what a customer will want to buy and push out that offer if they don’t have a clear picture of what they’ve bought already. For example, the leading provider of customized coupons processes 250 million transactions a week. These help its clients create incentives that are redeemed eight times more often than traditional incentives. Response rates sometimes reach 25 percent.
Fresh data can provide a boost to marketers’ efforts. One marketing support firm created a decision-support service that delivers data monthly rather than quarterly, helping its customers improve marketing ROI by 10 to 15 percent. The data is delivered to a desktop with intuitive options for analyzing it.
The most critical takeaway is that it is important to record and analyze every customer interaction. This information helps marketers answer questions such as what the customer is likely to buy next and what kind of conversation a marketer should be having with customers. An integrated platform enables them to not only store data but to take that historical information and start predicting what will happen next.
With an integrated platform, marketers can direct investments toward customers that have the capacity and propensity to be profitable over the long term. Marketers never want to lose a customer just because their needs have changed. The trick is knowing when that is about to happen and what they can do to anticipate and satisfy that emerging need.
The answer really is in the data. Think about the customer who got the diaper coupons right after sending the youngest child to college. A careful parsing of the grocery order might tell the real story: Fewer snack food purchases may be due to an empty nest. That nugget of info gives the grocer the option to promote items that appeal to people moving into a new demographic group before another grocer takes their business.
It’s all right there – you just need the tools to find it.
This article originally appeared on the Chief Marketer Web site, Feb. 11, 2009: www.directmag.com
Jeff Gilleland is the Global Customer Intelligence Strategist at SAS. Karen Heath is a Managing Practice Principal in HP’s BI Solutions Group.
Jeff Gilleland is the Global Customer Intelligence Strategist at SAS.
Karen Heath is a Managing Practice Principal in HP’s BI Solutions Group.
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This story appears in the Third Quarter 2009 issue of