Friday, August 12th, 2016 | 6 min read
Digital marketers have a major customer data problem, and many still aren’t sure how to solve it.
Here’s how it goes: Your marketing message is spread across an an ever-growing range of touchpoints and consumer services. This might include your website, mobile app, email newsletter, online or physical store, Google search results, and social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. From these touchpoints, you have a massive amount of customer engagement data flooding in.
That brings you to the challenge of how to actually use the data to deliver the best possible experiences for your audience.
You’re probably thinking, “Too many numbers! Too many platforms! Too many different customer journeys!” You may have even convinced yourself that there’s no way to organize it all. To spare yourself the headache, you’ll likely look at the data in parts instead of as a whole. As a result, you’ll struggle to work with a strategy that’s cobbled together, rather than comprehensive.
The good news is that there is a solution to this problem. There is a clear-cut way to harness all of your customer data to deliver effective, personalized consumer experiences across multiple platforms.
The first step of this solution is to use the data from your touchpoints to build different audience segments. Why? Because you want to be sure you communicate with each segment in a unique way. They’ve each gone through specific customer journeys and will likely respond more favorably to personalized messaging. After all, someone who’s been buying your products for years shouldn’t receive the same ads as someone who has never made a purchase from your brand.
On the most basic level, you might divide your audiences like this:
Ultimately, the audience segments you choose to create depend on the goals you’re trying to reach with your ad messaging. Is the end goal to generate positive ROI, or is it to change brand perception? If the answer is the former, consider creating segments of people who generate high revenue, since they are most likely to help you reach your objective.
The number of segments you create will also vary from business to business, depending on goals and product offerings. For example, if you’re a retailer with 1,000 different products, you could dynamically create 1,000 unique audience segments; you can retarget customers who’ve expressed interest in a specific product, while excluding those who have already purchased that product.
On the other hand, if your brand has one or two products (like a credit card company), your audience will likely be divided into a smaller number of segments.
Here’s another way to look at it: think about these audience segments in terms of friendships. You probably wouldn’t talk to a new friend the same way you’d talk to a friend you’ve had for years, right?. The former might need to warm up to you first, while the latter is open to starting new conversations. At the same time, you want to be careful not to bore the longtime friend with old or irrelevant stories, because they might lose interest.
Now that you’ve established your key audience segments, you have to figure out how to deliver your ads to them.
Ideally, you’d be able to take all of the data from your different social networks and import it into your customer relationship management (CRM) system. But, of course, social networks don’t want to give you that data. It’s in their best interests to protect user privacy (and use that data to attract advertisers), so it’s locked into their platforms.
Instead, the social networks have provided a way for you to use your CRM data to directly target people on their platforms. For example, Facebook’s Custom Audiences lets you target people from your own lists (email subscribers, purchasers, etc.) in a privacy-safe and secure way. All you have to do is upload your customer information and they’ll match it to their social audiences.
To put it in perspective, for the first time, digital marketers have a way to use all of this customer data across different siloed touchpoints and really deliver content that’s more personalized, relevant, and engaging than ever before.
Easier said than done, right? Despite a clear-cut plan, managing all of this data can still be costly, time consuming, and well, pretty complex. That’s why it’s crucial to use technology that can pull this data for you and package it up so you can target unique, dynamic audiences across multiple social networks. This way, you can ensure that your audience information and targeting options are always accurate and up-to-date.
If you’ve spent the past few months feeling like you’re buried at the bottom of a web of customer data, know that you’re not alone. Right now, it may seem like there’s no simple solution to your problem. But trust that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and once you reach it, you’ll be ready to take your marketing strategy to the next level.
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