Customer Data And The Power Of Now

If a fly on the wall of most marketing departments took notes, it would know there is a massive amount of data out there.  It would also know that, of all the data that’s available, not much of it is being put into action. During the past few years I’ve heard many of the biggest brands express the same lament: We have a lot of data we’re not even using, so do we really need more?

The answer is yes, with the caveat that you need it to be the right kind of data.  And the right kind of data means fresh and immediately actionable. You need it NOW and you need to use it VERY SOON. The data of NOW is what is needed to support better customer experiences, drive engagement and generate conversions from your email and cross-channel marketing campaigns.

To date, customer data has typically been managed in a very linear way. Data is generated via email opt-ins, account set-ups and preference or profile pages. It’s neatly housed and stored away for future use. But, just like many a “life altering” nifty gadget purchased via late-night infomercials, often the data never gets used.

So how can marketers tap into the NOW factor when it comes to customer data? Here are four key steps:

1.     Understand your customer lifecycle

2.     Define key consumer engagement and action points

3.     Capitalize on data gathering mapped to these key points

4.     Put the data into action, NOW!

When you take a closer look at the customer lifecycle and key action points, opportunities to trade value for data will begin to emerge. The following scenarios provide a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  • New subscribers opting into email -- Prompt consumers with a few key questions post sign-up to gather preference information. Then put this data into action by providing an email welcome campaign that caters to their stated product or service interests.
  • Setting up an account -- Why not provide a streamlined, fast track to account set-up, including a social login option to harness valuable social data attributes? And, from there, prompt subscribers with optional, incremental preference questions? This data can fuel site and email personalization.
  • Opening and clicking on an email -- Gather data via email in the form of polls, surveys and content click-throughs. For example, a home furnishings retailer might ask customers if their area of focus is the living room, kitchen, bedroom, bath or office. With this data immediately in hand,  the retailer can tailor subsequent messages with information and offers specific to the customer’s  immediate decorating plans.
  • Adding to a Wish List -- Ask Wish List users what their motivation is: are they planning for a move, going to college or retiring? Questions like these gain insight into customer areas of interest.  Use this data to drive personalization and messaging relevance across channels.
  • Making a purchase -- When a customer has just made a purchase, prompt them post-purchase to use social login, thus harnessing social data to derive brand affinity and other actionable data attributes.
  • Returning a product -- Even when something has been returned, reach out to gather more details on the customer’s preference. Ask which sites they prefer to shop on, what brands they prefer and what their key motivators for buying are, such as convenience, price, quality, etc.
  • Opting into SMS alerts -- With consumers engaged on mobile, send a quick, one-click survey link to ask them questions that will help cater to their needs in the here and now. For example, a restaurant could ask what foods customers are craving this week and then send corresponding SMS messages that feature that food category, or even let them vote on a menu item to come and try at the restaurant.

Consumers will share rich data when it translates into more meaningful and contextually relevant experiences.  The key is actually delivering those enhanced consumer experiences.   And that requires gathering fresh, immediately actionable data NOW, then turning right around and applying those insights VERY SOON. 

How are you tapping into the data of NOW and putting it into action to drive better customer experiences? Let us know in the comments below.

Tags: email
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