Marketers today are wasting a lot of dollars by not knowing their customers. According to research by Janrain and Blue Research, 96% of consumers say they receive mistargeted information or promotions. The repercussions can be costly, resulting in lost customers and a big hit to the bottom line.
According to the research, consumers stated that types of mistargeting include:
- 71% have received, “An offer that clearly shows they do not know who I am.”
- 51% have received, “Mixed info across different methods of communication.”
- 41% have seen, “‘Mistakes made about basic information about me.”
Consumers expect brands to know them and are quick to act when they receive mistargeted and inconsistent communications. 94% of consumers have taken one or more of these actions:
- 68%: Automatically delete emails
- 54%: Unsubscribe from emails
- 45%: Categorize emails as ‘junk’ or ‘spam’
- 29%: Are less likely to buy products
- 13%: Visit website less frequently
- 10%: Never visit website again
More and more, consumers expect brands to understand their needs and expectations, regardless of channel. Ultimately, they want to be treated like people — and implementing smarter strategies to use customer data can help companies deliver experiences with a human touch, at scale.
Although many brands struggle to deliver this level of personalization, marketers do understand the importance. In the research by Janrain and Blue Research, 79% of marketers believe that customer personalization is very important to achieving their top marketing and customer experience goals, such as increasing customer satisfaction, building customer loyalty, and acquiring new customers.
Just as importantly, brands need to personalize experiences across channels. While many have mastered personalization across a single channel such as email, brands need to deliver these personalized and relevant experiences across multiples channels and devices.
In a Forrester Consulting study sponsored by PwC, brands most frequently personalize across the following channels:
- 87% personalize through email
- 62% personalize via social channels
- 51% personalize on mobile devices
- Only 38% are optimized to deliver real-time offers and campaigns across all touchpoints
To personalize experiences, you need to understand your customers at a one-to-one level. This type of insight needs to go beyond data such as name, address, phone and email and can only be achieved by utilizing your internal 1st party data and combining it with rich 3rd party data sets, both offline and online.
Pay Attention to Data Quality
Marketers talk about the importance of marketing data quality and hygiene, but in reality, records often contain incomplete or wrong data. Records may be missing basic data elements such as name, phone number, or email address. Data also erodes quickly and if you aren’t paying attention to the quality of your data, chances are that much of your data is outdated.
A Data Report by Dun & Bradstreet evaluated the state of B2B data and found some pretty shocking statistics. A gap analysis showed the following missing data elements in overall record health:
- 87% – Missing Revenue Info
- 86% – Missing Employee Info
- 82% – Missing Website Domain
B2C data is also plagued with errors, such as missing fields, outdated information or inaccurate entries. According to an Experian Data Quality Report, on average, U.S. companies believe 25% of their data is inaccurate. Poor data quality, for both B2B and B2C companies, is a direct result of not having a data management strategy in place. Additional finding from the report reveal that 66% lack a coherent, centralized approach to data quality. When a data management solution is in place, 64% of companies use third parties for their data quality strategy.
Use Data Enrichment to Append Your Records
93% of the Experian study respondents think some form of data is essential to their marketing success. Marketers stated that the top three types of information essential to marketing success are:
- 54% – Contact Data
- 44% – Sales Data
- 38% – Demographic Data
- 31% – Preference Data
While existing data can be cleaned and corrected, missing data continues to be a constant battle for marketers. To gain these additional insights, 94% of companies use a third party to append and enrich their data sets. The top three data sets businesses append are business data, geolocation data and demographic data.
Verify and Enhance Your Web Form Data – in Real Time
Data gathered through your online web and registration forms provide valuable information into customers and prospects that are actively showing interest and engaging with your business. By capturing this data and integrating it into a lead nurturing system or other type of outreach program, businesses can covert these form fills into sales.
In addition to the email address, the top types of data marketers want to know include:
- 59% – First / Last Name
- 53% – Role/Title
- 39% – Company Name
- 32% – Phone Number
Of course, the data collected is only useful if it’s accurate and people actually take the time to complete the form. Oftentimes, human error can lead to incorrect data or users will falsify information on purpose. Many users also won’t fill out a form if it’s too long, so marketers are forced to choose which types of data are most important to collect.
A real-time verification service can be added to web forms or order entry systems to verify and correct this data at the point of entry and to shorten web forms. For example, email addresses can be validated as deliverable including auto correction of some common typos. Web forms can be shortened to only require a phone or email address and additional information can be populated such as address, email, or alternate phone numbers. In addition to identification information, any number of data elements can also be appended in real-time, such as gender, ethnicity, occupation, marital status, or vehicle information.
Put Your Data to Work
Consumers share tons of personal information and they expect you to collect as much of it as possible to customize their experience. You may have collected all the relevant pieces, cleaned, and added missing information, but this data needs to be turned into actual insights to be useful.
Marketers must be able to answer questions about their customers and prospects such as:
- What do my customers look like?
- What products have they purchased and what is their purchasing behavior?
- Who are my best customers and what will keep them loyal?
- What is the best way to reach my customers and prospects?
- What patterns may indicate unhappy customers and how can I mitigate attrition risk?
The deeper your understanding of your customers, offline and online, including their buying habits and lifestyle preferences, the more accurate your predictions of future buying behaviors will be – and the more successful you will be at delivering the right offers to grow your customer base and lifetime value.
Integrate Data Across Both Offline and Online Channels
Today’s consumers use multiple channels from initial research of a new product or service to final purchase. With the introduction of so many new digital channels, marketing hasn’t caught up and data strategies are often divided between the offline world and the online world. It’s not uncommon for a company to have a digital advertising department, a social marketing team, and a separate team dedicated to offline or print strategies.
However, consumers don’t differentiate between channels and expect their purchase experience and every brand interaction to be seamless, whether they are offline or online. Research by Reponsys shows that customers tend to spend 30 seconds or less absorbing digital content, which makes it especially important to reach them across a variety of channels. Other research by Multichannel Retail shows that 40% of consumers said it was “very important” to have purchase choices both offline and online.
A VisionCritical study of leading social media platforms has found that social media encourages both offline purchases as well as online sales. Digital marketing can be used to boost trade show traffic. Or a print or TV ad can supply a Twitter hashtag to drive conversation to social media, while calls-to-action can direct viewers to online programs. The point is that marketers must integrate data to reach consumers across multiple channels. By using analytics and incorporating segmentation and rich third-party data sources, marketing messages can be tailored to appeal to a consumer’s online and offline preferences.
According to a report by Forbes Insights and Turn, “Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: The Rise of the New Marketing Organization,” organizations that are “leaders” in data-driven marketing report far higher levels of customer engagement and market growth than their “laggard” counterparts. In fact, leaders are three times more likely than laggards to say they have achieved a competitive advantage in customer engagement/loyalty (74% vs. 24%) and almost three times more likely to have increased revenues (55% vs. 20%). Effective marketing strategies rely on a powerful platform of data to power the right connections with the right audience at the right time.