Published by Bizvoice Magazine – November 7, 2012
Byline article by Troy Burk
On the subject of customer data, there’s one complaint from marketers that we rarely hear: We don’t have enough. On the contrary, most marketers are dealing with all kinds of customer data, including demographics, purchase history, website visits and clicks, and social interaction.
Instead, many marketers are working to overcome the hurdle of not knowing how to make their data drive more revenue.
The challenge of becoming what I call an “Informed Marketer” is using data to better understand customer needs and preferences, and turning that knowledge into campaigns that will create stronger personal relationships with prospects and customers.
Here are a few tips:
- Take the 30,000 foot view. Instead of getting buried in the details of executing daily marketing campaigns, meeting specific metrics and checking off task lists, look at marketing from a broader and more strategic vantage point. Gather as much knowledge as possible before planning and acting. Understand corporate goals, become very familiar with customer needs and preferences, and filter this information through the lens of market dynamics. Then, formulate marketing strategies that will move prospects and customers closer to your goals via integrated marketing strategies that will drive stronger, more engaged prospect and customer relationships. Understand that daily tactics need to be executed, but don’t forget to set time aside for strategic evaluation and planning.
- Replace the funnel with the lifecycle. The trend of increasingly abundant customer data is making the traditional sales funnel obsolete. It is being replaced by the customer lifecycle model, which visualizes the path a customer takes from initial contact to having a fully engaged relationship with the brand. Whereas the funnel only targets individuals who enter it through marketing efforts and ignores other sources of sales revenue, the lifecycle model uses data to accommodate other revenue drivers, such as repeat business, customer referrals, upsells and cross-sells. Focusing on the customer lifecycle of an individual or company enables the Informed Marketer to communicate with customers across all channels, at every stage of the relationship, to further engagement and drive revenue.
- Channel your inner-geek. To harness the value of marketing data, you must ignite your geekiness and select technology solutions that will help you refine the data into useable insights that then can fuel strategy. Look for technology solutions that help you better understand customer needs and wants, and help you evaluate where customers are in their relationship with the brand. There are a number of technologies that enable Informed Marketers to reach prospects and customers in a way that turns these relationships into revenue-generating streams.
- CRM solutions: Informed Marketers use CRM solutions to capture relevant information about prospects and customers, and track how the company interacts with them. Campaigns are only effective if powered by quality data.
- Analytics tools: Informed Marketers can use analytics tools to glean important insight into the people a brand attracts and how they interact with the company, then use this information to hone the message and marketing approach.
- Marketing Automation suites: Marketing automation platforms can track, measure, manage and automate campaigns. Lifecycle marketing automation solutions are the newest tools in this category and provide the next evolution of features and functionality to help marketers track engagement and move prospects and customers from initial contact to brand advocate.
- Social Media suites: Social media can be a powerful tool, if it drives engagement and supplements marketing and nurturing campaigns. A social media integration and automation tool reduces the time needed to post updates.
- SEO tools: A brand’s online presence is how a majority of prospects and customers educate themselves on a product or solution. These tools simplify and automate much of the manual work and will save time for prospects, who are searching for you online.
Data is a powerful force driving much of today’s marketing and Informed Marketers know how to use the data effectively to advance marketing efforts. The goal should always be to create more engaged relationships with your prospects and customers that, in turn, drive more revenue over the lifetime of the customer.
Troy Burk is the CEO and founder of Right On Interactive, a lifecycle marketing automation software company that helps organizations win, keep and grow more business by building prospect and customer engagement. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article can be read on Bizvoice Magazine.
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