How digital profiles reveal greater marketing insights

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Jay Henderson
Jay Henderson

When customers interact with your website, open or ignore your email, and author or consume opinions via social media, they produce a gold mine of data. Seasoned marketers already report on this data to understand performance.

However, a more granular look at these digital interactions can also reveal greater insights, such as your customers' individual interests, needs and motivations.

Unlike data overlays, these digital interactions are completely proprietary — only you can observe your site visitors or track which offers appeal to them, and only you have the chance to use these insights. As a result, you can create a competitive advantage and more relevant dialogues by enriching customer profiles with attributes based on digital interactions. Typically, the most insightful profile attributes come from one of three primary sources:

  • Website behavior: As customers interact with your website, they open a priceless window on their interests, intentions, needs and desires — a wealth of precise information. Yet, historically, there's been a gulf between collecting this data and using it to inform marketing decisions. Website behavior easily trumps other data sources in its ability to help marketers identify the most relevant marketing message or offer for each customer.

  • Marketing responses: You can track responses to search ads, website promotions, email offers and other marketing messages. You can also track whether or not people responded favorably by clicking through a link or unfavorably by ignoring the message. These actions reveal a lot about an individual's interests — knowledge that you can use to refine how and what they communicate to whom.

  • Social media activity: Product rating tools, social networks, blogs, photo and video sharing sites and community platforms provide numerous options for Internet users to generate, forward or comment on digital content. Most organizations engage customers through a social media presence already — measuring and monitoring reach and sentiment. However, few marketers systematically incorporate social media data to better understand and interact with individual customers.

Jay Henderson is the global strategy director of IBM's Enterprise Marketing Management division.

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