August 18, 2015

Three Key Ingredients of a Data-Driven Approach to Heightened Customer Loyalty

It’s a hot bed of competition out there in the marketing space—with companies using every trick in the book as they vie for customers. As a marketer, your job is to use every tactic at your disposal to attract buyers and make them stick by your brand for the long haul.

What’s the very best approach you can use today to achieve this objective? According to the results of a survey conducted by Forbes Insights, one proven strategy is to implement a data-driven content strategy. In fact, 47 percent of respondents said that data insights help them achieve higher customer loyalty.

As you know, relying on gut instinct to drive your marketing campaigns has gone the way of the horse and buggy, replaced by gleaning insights from the big data generated by the digitization of business. Successful campaigns can now be precisely mapped and measured using today’s advanced technologies. They are crafted based on information gained from your gated assets, business contact database and social media platforms, among other vehicles.

This data adds no value in a vacuum, however. Your data-driven strategy must be accompanied by customer insights gained by engaging first hand with consumers. That is, strategies must be backed by inherent knowledge of your market to guide the development of your campaigns. Tomorrow’s successful marketers will have learned to use data analytics combined with their own understanding of their brand’s key targets to inform their campaigns from conception through post-delivery review.

Here are the three key ingredients for keeping data at the center of your marketing strategy to heighten customer loyalty:

1. A proficient database: Ensure your team is working from a clean and current contacts database, i.e., no old phone numbers, names or job titles. Otherwise, your efforts to launch campaigns will be thwarted by inefficiency; think address labels for a direct mail campaigns and direct reports for analytics. Keeping your data clean requires diligence by every member of your team. For instance, everyone should follow the process you set up for normalization of data, such as screening contact data before it is uploaded (that is, no dumping of entire Excel lead sheets). As well, there should be a standard naming convention for all uploaded data items to ensure that every record is assigned correctly. When entering records, everyone using the database should submit complete information, and should update the data every time a new activity occurs with that company. Finally, run regular audits for data quality, followed by data cleansing as necessary.

2. Customer segmentation: Before you can determine your marketing message, you need to develop clearly defined key buying targets based on your brand’s position. Use your data (from brand surveys, previous purchases, demographics, behavioral trends, etc.) to create strong buyer personas that enable you to segment your marketing assets based on what consumers actually want to hear. What goes into this analysis? B2B and B2C organizations must collect several different variables but, in general, consider a variety of demographics such as corporate position, company size and average budget. Don’t neglect to assess their pain points, including how they feel about available solutions in the marketplace. The list of items you should consider goes on and on when building your personas. When all is said and done, however, remember that you’ll want to direct your marketing efforts toward high-volume customer segments to make your efforts worthwhile.

3. Content channels: Now that you have clean data and specific buyer personas, how should you best distribute your marketing messages for greatest impact? First, look into a variety of marketing vehicles from blogging to social media to white papers. Then, identify the channels that work best based on the data you have collected. For instance, if your target buyer is extremely verbal and apt to read a lot of collateral before making a purchasing decision, you can confidently invest in a blogging platform.  Keep in mind that each channel speaks to specific consumer segments so be sure to perform your due diligence to ascertain whether your brand can produce the type of content expected in each channel. As always, stay true to your culture and value proposition.

Today’s marketing leaders are learning that they can retain more customers when they base their marketing decisions on data. So … are you ready to become a data-driven marketing leader? If so, it’s time to revisit your existing content marketing strategy to focus on how to use key data insights to better drive marketing decisions.  

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