Customer analytics is not new, but it’s becoming a focal point of how to increase marketing success and revenue.  “Good marketing feels like a service, and the service is so good that it’s marketing,” said Jay Henderson, Strategy Director, Enterprise Marketing Management for IBM in a recent webinar as part of the DMA Analytics Council Presents series.  (View the full recording here.)   In essence, he said, marketing should be so relevant and compelling that people perceive it to be a service.

JH_159_80x83_IBMOne of the best ways to get to that level of marketing is to apply customer analytics to your program.   “Customer analytics and intelligence needs to be woven into the fabric of your organization,” he said.

In the webinar, he outlined seven ideas to use customer analytics more strategically.

  1. Bridge the gap between analysis and action.  Marketers are not often starting out with the actions that they want to drive when planning the analysis they are doing.  More than half (57%) of respondents to a recent IBM global survey say that the top bottlenecks to marketing success is measurement strategies and relevancy.  “Don’t just create interesting facts about your customers, but use insights to discover actions marketers can take to improve performance.” Actions can include: Attract, engage, persuade, grow and retain, he said.
  1. Identify needs and intent from digital behaviors.   You have a gold mine of behavioral data in your digital channels.  “Move beyond the basics, and take the data from digital behaviors and use it to inform activities and offers in both digital and traditional channels,“ Jay advised.  Web behaviors are indicators on what customers are interested in hearing from us, and so use that data to improve targeting to know your customer at an individual level.”  This is a data asset available to you for free – so use it, Jay advises.
  2. Understand how your customers are interacting with mobile channels.   A profile of your mobile customer behavior can be very insightful, just as digital profiles can inform cross-channel marketing approaches.   Most marketers have adopted mobile campaigns in recognition of the importance of devices to our digital lifestyles.  “Mobile is a device, not a channel – it’s mobile email, mobile search, mobile messaging, mobile apps, mobile websites,” Jay said.   Customer experience gaps across devices will quickly be highlighted by breakdowns in conversions or customer service complaints.
  3. Discover brand disposition and product sentiment from social data.  Social has a strong potential for discovering customer insights, Jay said, but the real promise is realized if you can move from the aggregate to the individual level. This is necessary to use social strategically – especially if it’s driving low ROI on its own, he said.  If you can show a contribution to even just same session conversions , then the customer intelligence can help justify your spend in this area.  Consider social insights at both an aggregate and individual level , he said, and move from Social Facts (number of followers, demographics by network), to Inferred Social Attributes (sentiment, influence, interests, expertise), to Personality/Persona (behavior, values, needs).  This provides a contextual view of the customer and helps you understand who they are as individuals as well as their relationship with your brand.
  4. Strategically nurture new channels.  Proliferation of channels is a major challenge for marketers – especially with the speed by which new channels are emerging and old channels are dying off.   The key is to not over invest in fast-fading fads like Second Life or underinvest in wildly successful things like Pinterest (which still could be the Second Life of tomorrow!).   Of course, both Second Life and Pinterest look a lot alike from the starting gate.   “Marketers are good at experimenting, and reserving discretionary budget to try new things,” Jay said.   “However, I urge you to use that same money to strategically nurture a new channel.  Move from one off, ad-hoc to a more strategic and structured process.”    That process needs to include measurement and success factors, and customer analytics can be a key component of a successful approach.
  5. Adjust marketing in real-time by understanding the context of the current interaction.  As customers interact with you, they expect that you will understand their needs in the moment. Customer analytics can help you take that context and use it to inform how you respond and treat that customer as an individual.  Now that real time interaction tools are available to most of us, we can increase the relevancy of the message we are delivering, Jay said.   This can span a wide number of channels – call center, kiosk, website, ATM, point-of-sale, as well as provide an understanding of customer disposition in addition to profile – things that were formerly not accessible to marketers outside of customer service interactions.  “Customized messaging that responds in the moment to a customer-initiated interaction is a huge marketing opportunity – it’s viewed as appropriate, relevant and valuable, he said.  “This works!  Among other successes, we’ve seen results from 4x revenue improvement for a financial services company and a 250% increase in clicks per day for a travel company,” he said.
  6. Measure what works and make adjustments.   “Never stay still,” Jay advises.  “Your customer analytics needs to adapt and grow with your customer and market.”   As you use customer analytics, you will find that your understanding will also increase, he says.  “We get so caught up in each discreet campaign that we don’t take lessons learned to define future campaigns.”


Editor’s note:  This webinar is one of six presented this year by the DMA Analytics Council with our series sponsor IBM.  Check out the full schedule and register now.   Many DMA memberships include Council participation – check with your account manager or email Stephanie Miller

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