Is it Really All About Data and Analytics?
By German Sacristan Kodak Return On Marketing Investment
I keep reading papers and articles that make me feel as if marketing today is only about data analytics. Surely analyzing data is critical but there is more to it than just that. I see marketers making decisions based on the data that they have and failing because is not the data that they need. It is not about collecting as much data as possible and analyzing it for the sake of it but about defining first what data you need to help you be more relevant when communicating with your target, then having a strategy in place to build that data through market engagement and research.
This is a very old process that sales reps have been doing successfully for hundreds of years while visiting their customers face to face. When I hear people talking about data it is overwhelming and the truth is that we don’t have to look at everything that comes our way but only what is important to us. Again a sales person does it all the time, they only listen to what is important disregarding the rest, and use just that to be more effective in their communication towards closing the sale.
The main purpose of having the right data is to help you profile your target successfully. Organizing your target into different profiles will provide you with the information that you need to be more relevant when communicating with your target. It is always easier to sell to someone that you know that someone that you don’t know. Profiling is so important that if you get it wrong you might end up talking to the wrong person, with the wrong message, at the wrong time and in the wrong way.
How to Create Successful Profiles
When you create profiles you also create a blue print that will help you find your target. Classifying your target into different profiles will also help you address them in a more personal way. Finding and classifying your target should be an ongoing activity and part of your main strategy:
1. Define the profiles based on what you need to know from your target:
What are their personal characteristics? Based on what you sell and where you sell it you need to ask yourself what personal characteristics you need to know that will help you communicate more effectively with your target. You might decide that it is important to know their age, gender, income, status and political tendency. Then you will profile based on that. It is not about creating thousands of profiles but creating the ones that will help you be more relevant when communicating with your target. Looking at your existing data to see who is currently buying what from you will help you further form your profiles. You can also look at who is not buying what from you and analyze why. This analysis will help you find out if some individuals or companies (in the case of B2B) are not buying because: they are not a target or because you have failed promoting to them.
Why would they buy from you? You need to be aware of the different buying criteria linked to the products or services that you sell.
When would they buy? Knowing your customer’s purchasing timing and frequency is priceless.
Where? You will need to make it easy to your target to buy from you so knowing if they’d buy online and/or offline will help you drive them to their prefer place of purchase.
How? It is all about knowing your targets purchasing behavior and habits.
What other products or services have your target already bought? Purchase history is very relevant for a cross and/or up-sell strategy.
Often just by looking at your target’s personal characteristics profiles and analyzing your existing customers purchasing activities you can make low risk assumptions about buying criteria, time, frequency and place of purchase and purchasing behaviors and habits.
As you can see it isn’t just about analyzing data but providing guidance on what data needs to be retrieved and looked at or analyzed. We still need to use our brains and be a critical and active part in the process. Software can help marketers but can’t replace them.
2. Now that you have created your profiles you need to start classifying your target into each one of them. In order for you to do that you need information:
a. You have all the information you need in order to place your target in the appropriate profiles. Sometimes you will know something about your target but not all you need to know. In these cases you might be able to make intelligent assumptions with the information that you have to help you classify your target. Look at your CRM to see if what you know is enough to help you learn what you don’t know. For example knowing the address where people live can provide relevant demographic information about those people. e.g. I do not know my customers income and it is important for me to know in order to be more relevant when I communicate with them, by knowing their postal address I can make a low risk assumption on what their income could be.
b. You buy the information that you need from a company that sells it.
c. You build information through market engagement and research
Describe your Market Engagement Channels
Human: Customer Service & Hotlines, Technical Service, Billing, Direct and Indirect Sales Channels, telemarketing, on and off-line communities and social events.
Non-Human: On-line Shops, on and offline advertising, other campaign marketing activities.
Build a Market Engagement Plan to constantly retrieve relevant information, Market Research when possible:
Train human channels on how to pull customer information and set up an incentive plan for them to do so.
Set up incentive plans to encourage off & online visitors to provide information
Put in place a strategy to follow customers on-line.
Launch marketing campaigns with the only objective of retrieving information.
Use the customer information that you have to get the information that you need.
Make it easy to your target to provide you with the information that you need:
Utilize all relevant communication channels and enablers. E.g. send a QR code with an incentive for people to quickly register online.
Link engagement channels (human & non human) and marketing activities to your CRM.
Customer’s websites in the case of B2B
Customers in their social media networks
There aren’t guarantees in marketing but you can increase your chances of a better return on marketing investment if you describe your profiles correctly and have a data collection plan to help you organize each potential customer in the right profile. For more tips and real examples about digital and direct marketing you can read “The Digital & Direct Marketing Goose” book. It is available at Amazon.
German Sacristan offers a wealth of international sales, marketing, and business development experience. He has proven ability to grow market share from 26% to 80% and successfully launched direct marketing campaigns, achieving double-digit response rates in the process. Highly passionate about sales and marketing, German values the basics and fundamentals of face-to-face marketing and enjoys using new technologies and channels to apply those fundamentals in today’s marketplace.