How to Enrich Customer Data for Efficient Marketing Analytics

[Posted by Christophe Kuhner, Senior Product Manager, Neolane]

In the last blog post we explored a three-step process for more effective marketing analytics whereby marketers seek to understand, execute, and monitor data (See A 3-Step Approach to Marketing Analytics. This cycle allows marketers to add context to analytical decisions that form the basis for more effective and optimized marketing. It also helps emphasize periodic analysis that can be automated with cross-channel digital marketing platforms and a core system of record for customer data.

The problem is, many organizations still struggle to aggregate and centralize customer data across channels. That’s because it’s all too common for organizations to invest in a fragmented array of marketing technologies that rarely integrate. More than likely, the data you need is being captured somewhere, but unlikely to be used in ongoing analysis or incorporated into business rules to optimize the customer experience. The core of the marketing analytics cycle is a robust customer database. And the core of a robust customer database is a data enrichment strategy. But how do you collect and aggregate customer knowledge for use in analytics?

Data Enrichment Strategies

Let’s explore some of the most common ways organization can collect customer data to enrich and augment the customer data repository for more relevant, timely, and personalized conversational marketing.

Web Analytics: Online behavior offers rich data about customer intent and interests. Cookies allow your organization to link behavior to customer records for a detailed view of products or services that may be of interest to customers, inferred purchase timelines, and other communication preferences. This data can be used in conversational marketing campaigns that offer highly relevant product recommendations and offerings via preferred channels of communication.

Email Behavior: Forrester estimates that the average consumer will receive approximately 9,000 emails a year by 2016. That means every time you actually get some sort of engagement via email, you need to recognize the odds and use that information wisely. Monitor how customers click, when they click, and how often they engage in email interaction. It could reveal some key insights about how to optimize the frequency of digital communications and messaging.

Form Capture & Progressive Profiling: Form capture on landing pages that offer value such as a download or special offer in exchange for customer information are a natural source of customizable data capture. But asking too much information on a form could have a negative effect on form completion. Progressive profiling allows your organization to ask a few questions at a time over a period of months or years thereby slowly augmenting the customer record over time. As long as your target audience sees value in exchange for sharing personal information, progressive profiling can become a rich source of insight to enrich the customer database.

Surveys: When in doubt, ask. Customers who know your brand are more likely to provide information that they feel will help you customize and personalize their customer experience. This is a great way to capture communication preferences on channels and preferred frequency.

Loyalty Programs: Loyalty programs offer a rich source of insight into how your best customers engage with your brand. They could even provide some data points around new segments or optimal product recommendations. Loyal customers who have been rewarded for their loyalty are also more likely to participate in surveys. You might find certain incentives work better than others in capturing the attention of your loyal customers; lessons that could be applied elsewhere in marketing efforts.

Social Media Profiles: Social media is a rich source of insight into real-time and often localized engagement with a brand. At the same time, the unstructured data that is often collected likely contains quite a few nuggets of information, but extracting those insights can be difficult without a robust marketing tool. Social media is also a great vehicle for other database enrichment activities such as survey promotion, landing page promotion, and web behavior. Some social media properties, such as Facebook, will even share information about customer hobbies, likes, and associations that could add a new layer to segmentation and communication analysis.

Database enrichment empowers marketers by aggregating data that can be used to engage your target audience at the just the right time with just the right message. Once you understand key insights, you can execute business rules that optimize engagement. Then it’s critical to monitor these efforts over time to optimize marketing efficiency and effectiveness on an ongoing basis.