As a marketer, how many sales pitches for marketing “solutions” do you receive every day? A dozen is a slow day for me. But most companies have the prescription for marketing ailments within their own grasp. It’s good, solid, usable customer data.
Sometimes data can be seen as a headache-maker because of its complexity. But handled properly, data can be your prescription for acquiring customer insight, engagement and ROI. Here’s how to make it happen:
1. Reduce guesswork. Good data is reliable and measurable, which can help you avoid being pushed around by the hot-solution-of-the-day. But making the data “good” means unwavering focus on customer data collection efforts. Customer data will give you a solid foundation for your marketing decisions. Collect customer data from every customer interaction you have – from complaints, service calls, online comments or referrals, warranty data, enrollments, purchases, dealers or retailers. Get it all. Use data in the public domain to supplement and complement your own (think public registrations, licensures or governmental regulatory requirements).
2. Data talks if you’ll listen. Because even the best data collection isn’t enough, only insightful analytics will mine the truly valuable information out of the raw information. Analysis is where the light bulbs pop on. Successful analytics come from organizing the data into a high-utility and automated database. It’s easier than you’d think because you can manipulate the data to tell you about customer behaviors and characteristics, from value measurements to brand preferences. By using a data synthesis system that you build or buy, you can bring access, reliability, measurability and predictability into your database. Now that’s when the data talks to you.
3. Now, use it. Start by segmenting your customers, digging into where they are in their lifecycle with your product or brand. Are they a prospect, loyal customer or brand advocate? Segmentation gives you clues for relevant messaging and channels. It’s the ammunition to win the day when conflicting opinions about the right marketing solution emerge. You can prove effectiveness and ROI with a marketing campaign built on a foundation of solid customer data. Sound data brings unprecedented focus to your engagement with the customer. It illuminates your path to develop the customer from raw prospect to passionate advocate. And of paramount importance, you glean the dollar value and brand value from each interaction. Maintaining tight focus on the customer is the only authentic competitive advantage for any business today.
4. Wins create more wins. The data from each customer interaction uncovers repeatable trends, making it the fuel for your next marketing campaign. Customers reveal their preferred channels and messaging. Because you have a superior data foundation, you’ve got the tools that tell you the key elements you need to know from customers:
- Their favorite communications channels;
- How they want to be talked to;
- What they care most about in relation to your product;
- What will incent them to become advocates for your product, service or brand; and
- A prediction of possible timing for another transaction.
5. Optimize channels. Avoid being pushed to a particular “hot” marketing channel. Again, data will illuminate your path toward the best messaging, content, creative, channel combinations and timing. And don’t be afraid to leave poor-performing channels in the dust. Use sophisticated data to spend your budget only on the most effective, proven channels.
Look to your marketing agency for help to gather, organize and analyze data. If they can’t deliver, find an agency that is instinctive about data analysis and can help you build a data-driven and customer-centric marketing program. Vitamin D – for Data – is a prescription that is a guaranteed winner.