What knowledge lies untapped in your customer database?

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John Gardner
John Gardner

Companies collect a myriad of customer data through a number of sources — from call centers and store credit card programs to in-store and online transactions. Are you leveraging this valuable information to improve customer relationships and profitability or is it languishing in an untapped database?

Business data and technology must be used as an enabler to support a sound sales and marketing strategy. The traditional business model that was once the standard is now being transformed. A new year brings a new breed of customer — those that have access to a proliferating number of new media, emerging channels and choices. There has been a shift from a cookie cutter push model to a preference-based model, that when coupled with an integrated marketing communications plan will help companies succeed in this new environment. Here are some key strategies to using customer data and technology to build an advantage over your competition.

Leverage your greatest asset: data. Like treasure hunters, marketers either know where the prize is or will search for it until it's found. Using your customer and business data in marketing efforts can drive new levels of financial, emotional and customer value. Go beyond what you are currently doing by exploring the potential and power of relevant data. Learn to ask the right questions to accelerate the use of data in your marketing strategy.

Optimize the customer experience over time. The customer experience starts with the first impression and develops only if cultivated. Marketing has evolved from a one-way message to a two-way dialogue. Look into your data and develop a deeper understanding of what motivates your customers. Learn to listen to what they have to say about your brand, product, people and approach and use that feedback to accelerate your marketing momentum and optimize your customer experience.

Make it personal. Look beyond just using a customer's name to develop true relationships by tailoring your direct marketing communications to meet their unique needs and tastes. Using data to understand your customers will help you to speak to your customer base in a personal and relevant way. The return on your marketing investment will grow as customer communications become more relevant.

Measure your marketing. You can develop and execute all the eye-catching marketing programs your budget can handle but the real power comes in developing initiatives that produce measurable results which impact the bottom line. Every day, marketers are being asked to present financial results directly tied to marketing strategies and execution. If you have not already been asked to prove return on marketing investment, be proactive and take your marketing department to the next level. Make sure to tie marketing strategy and execution back to the bottom line through data capture, analysis and presentation.

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