One of the underlying rules of a successful business is to “know your customers.” But even in this advanced technology-oriented era, getting a complete picture of your targeted customers is hard to achieve. Today, every e-commerce marketer is using a number of tools to gain deep customer insight.
We interviewed a lot of marketers, and it turns out that on average, a marketer uses five different marketing tools to get customer insights across different channels; some use as many as 10-12 marketing tools. But, the data remains fragmented.
The Biggest Challenge: Disjointed Marketing Tools
Some of these specialized marketing tools include the likes of Mailchimp, Zendesk, Google Analytics, SproutSocial, etc. Though all of these tools work great individually, they don’t talk to each other. In fact, each of them acts like a silo, trapping user information amongst them.
Customer diversity continues, and with it, the marketers are struggling to keep up with the deluge of data to get a better understanding of their customers.
Fragmented Data without a Complete View of Your Customer
Disjointed data is a problem that plagues all marketers. A recent IBM study reported, While 81 percent of marketers think they have a “holistic” view of their consumers’ information, the reality is very different.
Now, let’s take a look at a common scenario faced by marketers using disparate marketing tools:
Your email marketing tool has all the customer interaction data on emails, campaigns viewed, opens/clicks, when did they interact with your email messages, etc.
Your website tracking tool has all the data related to the pages viewed, visit duration, session details, activity status, etc.
Your live chat tool has all the information about the chat messages exchanged with your customer; tickets raised, etc.
Now, in the absence of a unified customer view, marketers are left with no option but to get stuck in a rut of CSV exports and Excel spreadsheets to put all this data to good use. But, the problem is that there’s no alignment across these tools and, as…result, your marketing is bound to suffer.
For marketing to be able to connect with the customers today, marketers need a marketing automation platform that provides a holistic customer view complete with his interactions across channels, purchase history, and behavioral pattern. Only then you can do customer-centric marketing.
Marketing automation + behavioral data = Humanized marketing.
Move beyond a channel-focused approach to a customer-centric approach
There is no crystal ball to know about your target audience. What marketers need is a centralized repository of consumer data across all the touch points like the web, mobile, social, email and product interactions. The wealth of information collected across all devices and channels should have access to consumer’s multichannel activity, profile data, and behavioral data. Once a marketer has access to all this key data, only then he can use this data to send the right message to the right person with the right context.
Here’s what makes a good customer profile:
1) Demographic data
2) Behavioral data
3) Multichannel Activity
To get deeper insights about your customers, you should be capturing all the above information in real-time. The goal is to store your customer data in such a way that you can segment them based on their specific traits.
1) Demographic Data
Customer Demographics includes basic information such as age, gender, name, marital status, occupation, income levels, geographic location, etc.
The most common segments based on demographics include segmentation by gender, hotels & travel sectors use demographic details to segment their customer base based on the location.
2) Behavioral Data
Behavioral data is the treasure trove that can help you personalize your marketing messages effectively. When it comes to personalization, targeting your customers by their behavior will allow you to tailor your messages based on individual behavior.
Behavioral data can include information such as, the products & categories viewed, transactional data, messages viewed & interacted with, events done, the devices used, the time of the day at which your customer checks his messages.
Marketers are using behavioral triggers to send targeted messages based on the actions taken and events done as opposed to the traditional “batch and blast” messages.
Lifecycle marketing too is based on the actions and attributes of customers to drive relevant & targeted messages.
Most of the e-commerce companies have a wealth of behavioral data of their customers but without a unified profile, all this data exists in silos across all the different marketing tools.
3) Multichannel Activity
Today, the buying cycle is getting complex. Your customer footprints are spread across different channels. As the number of touchpoints has grown, marketers need to orchestrate their marketing across channels to drive a seamless customer experience.
Forrester report says that “90 percent of consumers with multiple connected devices switch between an average of three different device combinations every day.”
For example, a customer has started looking for products on your mobile site. He added few products in his cart but left without signing up.
Later that day, the same customer opened his cart on his home desktop but left the checkout process in between.
A day later, he opened his cart on his office desktop, signs up and buys the items in his cart. As soon as he signs up, all his multichannel activity before making the purchase too will be mapped to his profile based on his single, unique identifier key, which could be his email address or phone number.
And, the first step to cross-channel marketing is establishing a single customer view across all the channels. Only then marketers can create a truly personalized experience for their customers.
So, for all the marketing messages sent to a customer across multiple channels, having a unified customer view will ensure that there are no communication silos and all the marketing messages are aligned with a consistent experience across all channels. Besides, you’ll be able to find out which marketing channel is performing best for a customer.
For example, if you’re sending marketing messages to your customer by email, SMS, and push, but your customer checks his email more actively then you can personalize the future communications accordingly.
Choose a marketing platform that gives you a seamless view of your customer in real-time. Your customer profile should give you deep insights into the entire customer journey including his activity across channels, behavioral data, transactional data and even integrates your past purchase history for an enriched profile.
And, once you understand your customer completely, customer segmentation will help you slice and dice your customers based on meaningful data than relying on your instincts.