A lot of companies like to talk about data. It’s a definite buzzword for those of us doing business in the digital era. However, most who like to talk about their marketing data really don’t use it to the best of their ability.
Sure, it’s collected and organized into tidy little spreadsheets. But are you leveraging it in the most effective way possible?
Probably not. Enter marketing database.
What is marketing database?
Marketing database consists of customers’ and prospects’ information to which marketers can send personalized communications for marketing purposes. It’s typically used in direct marketing endeavors, but they can be incorporated in any other marketing tactics and strategies.
Marketing database can stands on its own as a fully-integrated service, but it can be a part of an omni-channel customer engagement platform, including but not limited to real-time touch marketing, cross-channel campaign execution and business intelligence (BI) analytics.
How to incorporate marketing database in your overall marketing strategy
Here’s 5 ways to make better use of that marketing data, so you can serve your customers better and make more money at the end of the day:
1. Create and continually refine predictive models
When it comes to defining predictive modeling most experts tend to fall short, leading their students into nothing but despair with long-winded definitions, charts, algorithms and the like. Simply put, predictive models use historical data, in this case customer data, to try to anticipate what will happen when A, B and C happens. Or when X, Y, Z – or A, C and X takes place.
Essentially, your data can tell you, with a fair amount of accuracy, what will happen when your customer lands on your website based on what they’re clicking. Or what items work best as a point-of-purchase impulse in your retail store. Predictive modeling can also tell you what the most common items are that they’ll pair with certain items.
For instance, look at the “People also bought…” suggestions that come up on Amazon when you put one item or another in your cart – Amazon is using historical customer data to suggest these items to you, so they can increase both your satisfaction and the website’s profits. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Predictive models can also tell you when a customer is most likely to leave, where fraud is most likely to happen in the business, and when/where efficiency is down in a given department.
2. Make a more personalized shopping experience in-store and onsite
In the context of online shopping, this is as easy as analyzing your cookies and finding out what’s appealing and what’s not. Direct customer feedback (discussed below) is also important, but if you’re constantly on the warpath toward finding out what they like and want most, big sales are soon to follow.
In store, you have to come up with way to analyze your displays. Constantly juggle what items are put where, and which upsells work best with which product until you find out what works best.
Use all this information to make personalized recommendations, maximize cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, and to contact customers when you can make an offer that will most appeal to them.
3. Leverage feedback to improve on existing and create new products and services
And to improve on that which customers do not like about your current customer service practices. Feedback from the customer is your most vital tool for staying in business. No amount of management, accounting, or hiring of killer sales professionals can sell your business to people forever when something’s severely broken or outright missing.
A functional and broad-range marketing database will allow you to track and better collate the most common complaints, while keeping other pressing concerns at the forefront of product and customer service development in your company. You might sell ice to an Eskimo once, but what’s the chance they’ll keep buying again and again?
4. Use data to keep in touch with customers via email
This tip is pretty simple. Once you can predict with some certainty what your customers want and like, you can custom-tailor your email marketing and content-sharing blasts to put relevant offerings and information right in front of them.
While email marketing can be tempestuous when it comes to how your customers will view them, the more relevant what you offer or give them is, the better it will be received. Particularly if you’re smartly using the 80/20 rule.
5. Develop loyalty programs using customer data
Another really simple tip for how best to use your marketing database to serve your customers better, and increase profits. Customers want to be treated like they’re important.
Ever been behind someone in line at a product or service business of some kind, and bared witness to someone screaming about how they’ve been a customer for “X” number of years, asking why can’t they have an extra pickle on their sub or free oil change for their car?
We’ve all been there. Finding out who your most loyal customers are, and what they like or want most from your business allows you to put together loyalty programs such as loyalty cards and events that won’t just bring in existing customers, but also attract new ones eager to cash in on the programs you offer to your most faithful patrons.
Can Your Business Survive Without a Functioning Marketing Database?
This is a common question with a pretty straightforward answer. For most, the answer is “Not likely, for sure!” It’s hard to imagine any business out there, aside from a few, that can’t benefit in a huge way from more marketing data.
And not just data, but well organized, easy-to-access data that can be analyzed and used rather quickly to improve all aspects of sales, service and development. If your not collecting and using marketing databases to make your business better, you can bet the most successful among your competitors are.
There are solutions out there available for you. I would recommend for you to ask around for recommendations, as well as browse the web for the right solutions for you. Please note that while DIY your marketing database is possible, it’s a more cost-effective decision if you use a third-party solution, as the provider has done all the heavy lifting when it comes to database and analysis software, so you can focus on what matters most to your business and customers.
I would personally recommend alwaysOn marketing database platform from Web Decisions. It consists of a fully-integrated marketing database and real-time marketing solutions designed based on years of experience and best practices.