Grow what you know: Getting the most out of your data

CRM and loyalty programs are designed to cultivate strong relationships with customers and prospects. The most powerful element driving these programs is data. A database marketing program can only be successful if it is data-driven and customer-focused. While data drives the relevancy that creates program success, it can also lead to failures. Problems stem from data latency, poor enrollment processes, and poorly maintained customer profiles. To avoid these problems, marketers must review their enrollment process to make sure they’re collecting necessary critical information.

Marketers may wish to purchase predictive data from a third-party source — often less costly and faster — to enhance their customer and prospect profiles.

This additional data can provide access to unique insights that you would not directly uncover from your own customer data. This customer-centric knowledge can dramatically enhance your understanding of your target universe.

To better communicate with customers and prospects, use data to delve deeper to uncover actionable attributes that tell you about the individual. Once you have this data, create a customer profile and keep this profile up-to-date. Without a complete view of the customer, you miss out on major opportunities to crossand up-sell and create relevance.

A final common blunder is data degradation. Customer attributes change over time. Major life events occur such as marriage, divorce, relocation and the birth of children. These events alter a customer profile and are critical marketing cues that should be taken into consideration.

With a sound customer data integration strategy, you can avoid these common pitfalls and effectively manage your customer data and drive positive results. Data is a powerful marketing tool when used strategically and methodically. Marketers must create a data-rich environment that is accessible and actionable, and then they can benefit from a greater ROI.

Data can be described in a number of ways. We tend to focus on two categories of data. The first is the person, household or business that is marketed to. The other category contains attribute and characteristic data about that entity. It is important to properly connect attributes to entities.

Consumers don’t want to be ignored; they want to have an ongoing relationship with your brand. Nor do they want you to waste their time with offers that are not relevant to their needs.

Information capture and proper data-mining techniques are critical to meeting these consumer requirements and growing your customer base and revenue.

Don Hinman is SVP of Epsilon Targeting. Reach him at [email protected].

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