Using a Customer Profile with Internet Data: Section 2

Retail Customer Data

Why do 93% of major retailers say customer profiling is important to their business strategy?

A Customer Profile gives you detailed assumptions about your customer's characteristics and behavior. It's the place to start, but the next step is to fine tune those assumptions with data generated by the actual actions your customer takes.

In the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of this information. And here’s the good news: this type of analysis is available to companies of any size, regional chains, single store operations, and even individual entrepreneurs. All you need is a Marketing Plan, an Optimized Website, a Content Strategy, and Internet Marketing Analytics. The data trails are there for you to mine.

From there, analytics tools can be used to help you learn what potential customers are interested in, how they are searching, and where your site is drawing searchers from. But it doesn’t end there. You can also decode online behavior to create more advanced customer profiles, monitoring everything from what term they searched for to arrive at your site to how long they spent on a particular page.

Local Retail Marketing OnlineThe key is to create a targeted plan to gather the information you need to make key decisions:
  • What behaviors should you track?
  • What demographic data is pertinent?
  • How comprehensive is the picture you’re creating?
  • What timeframe should you cover?
  • How does this data map to your existing segmentation?
  • What is the purpose for gathering the data?
  • What can you learn about the decision-making process of customers?
You can also supplement the data you gather on the internet with data gathered from brick-and-mortar sales. Simply by asking customers for a zip code, you can gather a wealth of data to help you flesh out a more accurate profile for your most frequent customers.

This is a process that requires experience. Even getting it 90% right can lead to you making incorrect assumptions about your audience, wasting money and effort by targeting copy, keywords, and promotions at the wrong people.  Working with an expert can help you to better look for weaknesses in your data-gathering strategy, and to understand what’s relevant and what’s an anomaly.

Let’s look at just a few ways you can get value from internet data that tracks a customer profile you have built:

Improve customer loyalty programs. The cost of maintaining a relationship with existing clients is much less expensive than seeking out new business. Are you providing the right incentives to encourage repeat business? You won’t know if you don’t understand enough about who your customers are and what they want.

Target customers with specific offers. Companies consistently see drastic improvements in lead conversions when they use more detailed information to send different offers to different customer segments. For example, a mother of a newborn has different needs than a mother of a 10-year-old, so appealing to those needs and targeting more appropriate products for a promotional mailing can result in better returns.

Capture a sale before a customer leaves the site. If your customer profiling occurs in real-time, you can monitor what customers search for, click on, and put in their shopping cart. Many customers are almost ready to make a purchase… but then don’t.  If you’re tracking your customer behavior, you can react immediately to encourage them to commit to a purchase. For example, you can send them an email offer with an additional discount or a pop-up with a last-minute special deal.

Get better ROI from marketing investments. The more granular you get in building a customer profile, the more targeted you can be with your promotions. This allows you to focus your efforts and marketing budget where you can expect the most return, whether you’re considering an event promotion, buying a mailing list, or adjusting your PPC campaign.

So how do we begin building a customer profile? The first step is to segment your best customers into lifestyle groups, which I’ll discuss in my next blog post.

Posted: 9/26/2013 2:27:06 PM by Shep Morrow