Jeffrey L. Cohen
Personal relationships are all about communication. The more you know about your friends and partners, the better you can communicate with them. Talk about things that matter to them and they will be interested. And there’s no faster way to get them to tune you out than to prattle on about something that they don’t care about.
This has never been more true in marketing.
Marketers need to understand their recipients before sending each and every message to a customer or prospect. What do you know about them that can help result in a positive response to the message?
Data provides that answer.
More Data Than Ever Before
From the moment consumers open their eyes in the morning until they close them at the end of a long day, they are generating data. Lots and lots of data. There is the intentional data like what emails they open, what web pages they look at, and what purchases they make, but there is also all of the unintentional data like the location monitoring from their mobile phones, the number of daily steps from their activity trackers, and even the amount of time they brushed their teeth. Who ever thought toothbrushes would be connected to the internet to upload data?
Ninety percent of all data created has been created in past two years, according to IBM. If you look at the current consumer environment, you can be assured that data creation will accelerate, not slow down. More controlled devices at home, more messages sent to customers, more online transactions.
The Real Benefit of Data
Marketers look at all of this data and want to control it. Nearly half of marketers say that centralized control of data is the most important change that will provide the most value to their marketing with data. Not every marketing technology solution makes that possible. Having easy access to data and the ability to use it in daily tasks has many tangible benefits. It can increase revenue per email, reduce customer attrition rates, and even lower costs of marketing campaigns.
Building a single consumer profile with all available data sources is how to start a long-term relationship.
But the less quantifiable benefits may ultimately be more important for email marketers. It allows stronger connections with customers, clients, and guests in ways that show you know what is truly important to them. Building a single consumer profile with all available data sources is how to start a long-term relationship. This allows more relevant messages. More accurate messages. More personal messages. All of these add up to demonstrating a better understanding of customers.
Targeting and Segmentation with Data
Using customer data is really about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. This is not news to marketers, but the right software is required to use data to do this well. The more that is known about customers, the more relevant the messages can be. Data is the key to segmentation, to make sure that the right customers are targeted with the right message.
Consumers’ inboxes are flooded with emails every day. Long emails to everyone with sample products from every category will have less impact than segmenting your audience by previous purchases and only including items from those categories. It may seem easy to target customers who bought children’s items, but having full access to the order data allows you to remove customers who only shipped these items to a different address. If someone only purchased gifts from you, they are less likely to repurchase products in that category.
The best way to move a one-time buyer into a long-term customer or client is to reflect their preferences in the messages.
Personalization with Data
Another advantage to having access to first-party customer data – the data that customers provide and brands can use in accordance with their privacy policies – is the ability to personalize emails and messages with this information. The best way to move a one-time buyer into a long-term customer or client is to reflect their preferences in the messages. Don’t send an offer for something that they have never responded to.
A credit card offer is common from financial institutions, but they also come from retailers, travel and hospitality companies, and even associations. I get these every week in my physical mail and I have never responded to one. But email is different. These messages can be personalized for customers, clients, and guests. While they probably have not responded to a previous offer, you can compile data on recipients who have responded and use those types of data to attract new card applications. Present the offer as it relates to purchases, loyalty points, or types of accounts so the offer will resonate with your customers.
The more you know about your audience – primarily through data that they provide – the better you will be able to connect with them and provide emails that matter to them.
Jeffrey L. Cohen is the director of content strategy at Cheetah Digital, where he creates entertaining and educational thought leadership content to grow the brand. He’s an award-winning marketer, strategist, and author (The B2B Social Media Book) with a 25-plus year marketing career.