Infographic: Segmentation Sorcery

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Transforming data into insights leads to truly magical marketing. And although a magician never reveals his secrets, consumers disclose their online activities, social behaviors, and past purchases, every day. But if marketers don't pay attention to their clients' data, their customers will quickly disappear.

According to the “Customer Lifecycle Engagement: Imperatives for Midsize to Large Companies” survey by email marketing solutions provider Yesmail Interactive and analyst firm Gleanster, 72% of B2C marketers cite revenue increase as an extremely important priority; however, less than half of the marketers surveyed (48%) say profitable customer retention is extremely important.

Perhaps if more marketers knew their customers on a deeper level, their retention and cross-sell efforts would be more effective. And while respondents  seem to know their customers at the demographic and transactional level—53% of marketers say they have an excellent understanding of their customers' purchase history and 42% say they have an excellent understanding of basic demographic data—few go beyond this surface-level information. According to the survey, just over a quarter of B2C marketers know their customers' household compositions (27%), and even fewer know their customers' channel preference (21%) and degrees of social media participation (20%).

However, many marketers are under the illusion that this level of data usage is enough. In fact, 88% of respondents still think they're effective at knowing the optimal message and time when communicating with customers. Even these marketing veterans could learn a new trick or two. Eighty-six percent of respondents believe they could do a better job at customer engagement if they had access to more data sources. Marketers also say that limitations in marketing tools (42%), poor data quality (34%), and fragmented marketing systems (34%) prevent them from sending personalized customer communications.

Then again, maybe marketers just aren't looking in the right places. For example, less than half of the marketers surveyed use online behavioral or Web browsing data (41%).

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