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You’re ready to start your next direct mail or multichannel marketing project. You know your customers. You know their habits and patterns. You’re ready to dive in and start targeting your audience. Or so you think.
When was the last time you did an analysis of your database?
• How do you know who your customers are and what makes them tick? Gut feel? Experience? Do you have data on it?
• If you have data, how old is it? Don’t rely on gut instinct or research you did long ago. Customers and their needs change over time.
Leverage existing data to better understand not just who your customers are, but their lifecycle trends and buying habits. Know which channels they use, when they are most likely to interact with you, and how they make purchase decisions. As a marketer, you need to be able to not just read data and make charts. You need to be able to see correlations and causations that can allow you to tell clients that you know where the chart will move if they go with your marketing campaign.
Offline data can only tell half the story. You can learn a lot from things like activity on your website, interaction with your Facebook page, and click-throughs on personalized landing pages. Offline data can tell you things like what people buy and how much they spend. Online data can tell you the rest of the story, including why they buy and how they navigate the journey. Intermingling those two sides of the same coin of data will allow for the full picture to be displayed before you in regards to the data collected.
When you run a digital marketing company and you look at data, you tend to look at the aggregate numbers. But you want to know more than just basic demographics such as age and household income. Is the presence of children in the home a factor? What about location? Life stage? Even customers within similar aggregate demographic categories can think and act differently. Averaging is fine and well to get the initial idea that your audience is here. But to truly understand your audience you need to look at them as more than the average of a predefined amount.
Understanding the “when” is as important as the “what.” One telecom company had always sent follow-up printed pieces after phone inquiries, but it hadn’t tested the timing. Once it decided to test its timing, it discovered that a two-stage follow-up was most effective: an email sent immediately (within the first 24 hours), then a print piece two to three days later. As a result of these changes, it saw a double-digit improvement in its response rates.
Data is only valuable to your digital marketing company as long as it stays current and accurate. If your demographic data for single males aged 24-30 is several years old for example, you can reasonably expect that many of them have begun the stages to creating a family of their own and thus are not within that demographic at all. Customer demographics and needs are always changing. People change jobs, they enter new life stages, and their personal circumstances change. Stay current! Always be investing, always be reinventing, and you’ll get maximum use out of your efforts.