Today’s advertising climate is very focused on “big data,” but sophisticated advertisers have been making use of consumer data for decades. Many are sitting on top of reams of demographic and life-stage data within their CRM systems – valuable information that can teach them about existing and prospective customers.
But rarely do CRM systems have complete information on every customer. Even the most sophisticated CRM systems contain hidden, high-potential customers that can slip through the cracks. For example, while CRM data can help indicate consumers who might be interested in buying a product or service, it does not often uncover the subset of shoppers that are likely to have the financial capacity to make a particular purchase.
No CRM system is perfect, and even if a brand were to market exclusively to customers already within their system, they’d likely still be allocating a great deal of budget to reaching consumers who aren’t a good fit. Brands need to better identify their high-potential customers to make more informed decisions about how to allocate marketing resources and prioritize efforts. To do this, they need to incorporate their CRM data with outside data sources that help complete the picture.
With this additional data in place, it may only take three steps for marketers to make the most of their CRM systems, enhance their marketing models, and identify which consumers are optimal prospects for marketing and sales efforts.
1. Analyze existing high-value customers
Marketers should start by examining their highest-value, “best” existing customers by assembling a persona that takes likely financial situation, attitudes, and purchase preferences into account. Marketers can do this for their overarching brand, and also go even deeper to build pictures of high-potential customers for specific products or sub-brands.
2. Activate CRM data to narrow and prioritize the prospect audience
Once marketers have a persona of the ideal customer, they can apply the same attributes across the CRM system, identifying consumers that have similar characteristics, including estimated financial and attitudinal tendencies. This helps the marketer identify the customers hidden within the CRM system that are more likely to be good matches for the product or service being promoted.
Marketers who perform this task often find that the majority of their high-potential customers are part of two or three “clusters,” which can then be used to find other similar consumers.
For many marketers, there’s a desire to separate likely buyers from “browsers,” so it’s possible to differentiate even further. They can apply minimum thresholds for total estimated income, discretionary spending, and other estimated measures of financial capacity, depending on the product or service being promoted. Additional filters, such as geography and other third-party data types, can be incorporated to further optimize the prospect audience. Combined with the picture of the optimal shopper and applied to CRM records, this narrows the prospect audience for marketing efforts.
So, while marketers may have 500,000 shoppers in their CRM database, the number of shoppers that match the buying profile of a certain promotion — in terms of likely financial, attitudinal, and other characteristics — might only be 50,000, but could also be as low as 5,000 or even 500.
3. Leverage high-potential customer personas in marketing efforts
An audience that represents 1% or less of the total customers contained within a CRM database might seem small, but the specificity of those consumers makes them an incredibly valuable segment. Once identified, brands can focus marketing efforts on these high-value consumers.
Additionally, these buying personas can be incorporated into predictive models and used in a variety of marketing and sales tactics, including direct mail, display advertising, addressable TV advertising, and lead prioritization. For example, the same persona used to find optimal shoppers within the CRM system can also be applied online to better target digital ads via desktop, tablet, and mobile.
The bottom line is that these steps can help improve the cost efficiency of marketing efforts across the board. By narrowing the target audience and focusing on shoppers that are more likely to purchase a certain product, either because of estimated financial capacity or attitude, marketers can enhance and improve their campaign performance. In doing so, marketing teams can feel more confident that their efforts are being directed at shoppers that are more likely to have the ability and interest to respond to each marketing promotion.