Companies are increasingly using analytics to improve how they market products and services. At the heart of this effort is customer data analytics, which enables marketers to take customer behavior data and use it to make key business decisions based on market segmentation and predictive analytics. It can influence direct marketing, site selection and customer relationship management, and ultimately be used to greatly improve the customer experience.
The digital era provides more customer behavioral data with which to work than ever before. Consumers now use technology to engage with suppliers in whole new ways, readily volunteering their buying habits, patterns and preferences in pursuit of an enhanced, more personalized service. Marketing now has the raw materials to provide products and services that will satisfy the most demanding generation of customers ever.
In both the B2B and B2C arenas marketers are now capturing data across areas like identity, quantitative, descriptive and qualitative. Identity covers basic individual identification details like name, gender, age, social media and contact details. Quantitative data enables marketers to understand how customers behaved, and tracks measurable activity between a customer and supplier, such as transactions, communication records, online and social interactions.
Descriptive data outlines who the customer is beyond the identity basics, so includes family details like marital status plus lifestyle, hobby and career information, while qualitative data encompasses attitudinal information based on customer experience, opinions about products and services, motivation for buying a product such as location, price and quality. The depth of data that customers are now prepared to share is far greater than it has ever been.
More than just targeting customers
The depth of data collected means companies can set out to identify and target customers, incentivize them and create value in both the short and long term. By focusing on the customer experience first, customers have a memorable engagement and this creates interest by default.
In the past marketers may have struggled to find ways to fit data analysis into marketing plans and by extension the business strategy. This was likely because the data was insufficient and the technologies were not in place to make the customer experience a continuous, mutually beneficial one. Today’s data mining, modeling, profiling and integration tools have made analytics much more accessible.
Think about your new possibilities
All this data generated opens up all kinds of possibilities for marketers to exploit. Think about your end goals, focus on the customer experience as a route to getting to them, and customer analytics can deliver potentially great results. Some best practices about when using customer analytics to improve your marketing include:
- Your customers’ digital footprints are now bigger than they have ever been. So centralize fragmented customer data sources across your entire operation. If you have point-of-sale systems, e-commerce platforms, mobile applications and social engagement with customers, pull it all together in order to streamline the data you gather.
- Remember that this is not ultimately about “data”, but about the decision-making that data enables. Smart companies will thrive by generating insights that improve decision-making. Do not get bogged down in data, leverage it as part of your wider strategic goals and create a top-down view of customer behavior and motivation.
- Conversational commerce has become one of the most used terms in the digital era, and is influential to delivering an enhanced customer experience. Omnichannel communications with customers can be improved by increasing the number of fields companies gather on prospects and customers – it enables greater personalization and ongoing engagement. The more unique a supplier makes the digital relationship, the more engagement marketers can expect back. Further, by expanding the number of data fields gathered, analytics too can be expanded.
- Think about how data and analytics can help you match sales personnel to ideal customers and prospects. The power data analytics gives marketers means you can match the most appropriate sales or account managers to specific demographics – helping boost close rates, improving customer satisfaction and again, enhancing customer experience.
- Consider how you can find – and subsequently plug – any gaps that exist between what consumers desire and what your competitors offer them. Available data can help you mine what customers really want and compare that to your competition’s offerings, capabilities and weaknesses.
- Go granular. Data analysis can enable you to fine-tune your products and services – but also your audience. Marketers can now gather much more than just the basics about who is responding to their marketing campaigns and tactics. Messaging can then be tailored more specifically and previously unreachable prospects and customers engaged in the process.
These are all practical examples of how companies can use all that data, analyze it to make it useful, and take major steps forward to transforming it into tangible strategic business benefits. And with the pressure on marketers and CMOs to deliver – a recent Gartner study 2017 will see the CMO’s influence and total spend on IT exceed that of CIOs – technology tools that advance marketing are going to be more important than ever.
To read more about how Orange is helping transform companies and entire industries by leveraging the power of data analytics.
I’ve been writing about technology for around 15 years and today focus mainly on all things telecoms - next generation networks, mobile, cloud computing and plenty more. For Futurity Media I am based in the Asia-Pacific region and keep a close eye on all things tech happening in that exciting part of the world.