If the failure of many pollsters to accurately predict the results of the 2016 election taught us anything, it is that data, without unbiased interpretation, can be dead wrong. Data is supposed to reveal the truth, and truth is the very essence of successful marketing. Data marketers know this, and they also know that great marketing campaigns are built on one particular truth: whatever it is that really matters to your customer is what must drive the campaign. In order to know what really matters to them, you must know your customer. How can data help you do that?
Know more about your customer
The first rule of effective marketing is: know your customer. You must understand what touches them and what drives them to purchase. The best source of information in this regard is the customer you already have. You acquire this information through disciplined practices and the use of a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to build profiles of the people who are already buying your offering.
Implementing a CRM tool and using it in a disciplined manner allows you track exactly where your customer is in the buying cycle, and what prompts triggered their purchase. Stored in your CRM tool should be a wealth of data on your customers. What have they purchased, and when? What have they purchased more than once? What emails were ignored? Which moved them to buy? Did they call your customer service department? If so, what was the result?
Knowing what your best customers look like
External data can tell you a lot about the behavior of consumers in your area, people who may or may not be your customer. On our blogs, we have provided a lot of information on how age, gender, and even home zip codes can impact consumer behavior. This is all valuable information on potential customers passing by retail locations, but no external data will tell you as much as the information you already have about your most valuable customer: the one you already have.
If you’re just starting out and have little customer data, you can start building a picture of the customers you bring in with the first sale. A year from now, you will have learned a lot. External data will help give you an early understanding of your potential customers and thereby help attract new customers.
A CRM tool will help you track the details of who your customers are by logging age, gender, home zip code, purchasing habits, preferred methods of communication, and other information relevant to why and how they buy. This will allow you to build customer profiles so that you can go and find potential customers who share the same traits as your best existing customers.
Your Web site provides even more
Tools like Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics are a goldmine of information about what your customer likes and doesn’t like about your Web site. It tells you where they spend time, where they don’t, and can let you know when they back out of a sale. It will also tell you the following:
- Where your customers are geographically
- What keywords people are searching for on your site
- What people click on most
- What content they like the most
- What content they aren’t interested in
- Where they are when they abandon their cart and don’t purchase
- What browsers your visitors are using
- What keywords brought them to your site
- How they’re viewing your site: mobile, desktop, or tablet
- Who they are: age, gender, and interest categories
Analytics is often overwhelming, but it is so incredibly valuable from a data perspective. Like your CRM tool, analytics can provide a wealth of information about the people who are already interested in your offering, and Google offers free courses to help you understand how to use it.
Merging all of the information
Through your CRM tool and Google Analytics, you have gathered a tremendous amount of insight into your existing customers. Now, what can you do with it all?
First, build a profile of your best customer types. Look for the similarities in the ones who spend the most money with you. What is your gender split? And what parts of your messaging appeals to which gender? What is the age range of your best customers? Where do they come from geographically? What products do they buy most often, and when do they purchase most? Answering these questions and creating an image of your best customer type can inform all of your marketing. You can also integrate your CRM information with Google Analytics to create Adwords remarketing.
You already have access to all of the information I’ve described. The power comes from you implementing a disciplined system to collect it in a format that is useful. Using an affordable Web-based CRM tool, like the solution SAP offers can help you harness your knowledge and find more customers like your best customers.
This post was originally published on digital.sap.com in December 2016.