Our holiday gift to you: Customer data management best practices for 2016

December 4, 2015 | By

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Yesterday, we hosted a webinar about best practices in customer data management for 2016. If you couldn’t make it and don’t want to listen to the recording (it’s only half an hour – honest), here’s a brief summary of what we covered and some of the key takeaways.

In our view, there are really three key benefits of improving your customer data management and they affect all three core objectives of the broader marketing program. The first is that you get smarter about how you advertise and acquire new customers. The second is that you’re able to run personalization efforts that have clear conversion objectives – whether a sale, sign up, or request for information. And third, you can focus on what high value customers really look like, the unique traits that characterize them, and the best ways to build long-term engagement. Better customer data management gives you the knowledge about your individual consumers that helps you drive better outcomes for your business.

Best Practice #1: Embrace the customer life cycle as the foundation of your marketing

Customer data management best practices for 2016

The shift from structured, outbound, mass-media campaign communications to more fluid, flexible, and real-time marketing engagement has been underway for some time. But the core of moving from the funnel-based mentality to one driven by individuals’ activities and needs depends on an approach to data management that understands the journey on the micro and the macro level; in other words, what a person is trying to accomplish in that moment and also what the person’s longer-term series of engagements with the brand is like.

Best Practice #2: Use first party data to get smarter about customer acquisition

Click-through-rates are flat for digital advertising, despite considerable investment from the brand. Even an incremental improvement in CTRs would translate into a significant ROI, but ad tech partners are limited by their lack of insight about what kind of customers should be targeted in order to improve outcomes. One way this acquisition best practice comes to life is by using your first party data – from activity on your owned properties, historical CRM insight, or social identities, to name a few – to create rich segments that you use as the basis of your look-alike modeling for acquisition campaigns. Another approach is to match interests with messages. A US-based insurer is working with TruEffect, which can deliver dynamically created ads based on segmentation, which BlueConic creates based on individual activity and interests from the website.

Best Practice #3: Discern intent and engage in response

The second phase of the life cycle strategy – engagement – spans a lot of disciplines and objectives. Studies show that the more time an individual spends on a brand’s site, the more likely they are to convert and perform meaningful actions, but typically companies struggle to create personalized experiences at scale that lead to meaningful outcomes. A publisher can be radically better at suggesting content when it isn’t solely based on what other people read and instead on what time of day the person is reading, what they’ve read in the past, and what they’re browsing at that instant. Or a retailer can dynamically adjust offers based on the shopper’s priorities, be they shipping (because they read the shipping terms) or discounts (because they went straight to the sale section).

Best Practice #4: Unify the brand experience by emphasizing post-conversion utility

The leading companies are embracing a more holistic approach that ensures any communication – regardless of who within the company “owns” that interaction – is fully up-to-date with data from other touches, particularly the digital ones, along that individual’s decision path. This ultimately leads to far more relevant and personalized conversations – whether they happen in a call center, in print, or on social media. The benchmark of success for this approach is whether or not you’re providing real value to your consumers after they have engaged with you and taken important action. This can take a number of forms but fundamentally helps an individual get to what they need faster, introduces them to something genuinely relevant they might not have encountered otherwise, and/or reduces friction in a process. Follow the lead here of a North American asset management company which, based on the funds a financial advisor has expressed interest in, makes sure that that advisor knows when new commentaries are available without having sign up for any kind of notification or put in a request.

Check out the webinar for more info on these themes and have a great last month of the year!

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