Understanding your customers is an essential part of building a successful growth marketing strategy, yet it is often overlooked. Why? Because customers are complex and making sense of their behaviors can be complicated. Marketers have to work hard to create and execute a robust customer insights plan that can lead to action.
That may sound intimidating, but I hope it doesn’t scare you away! While customer insights aren’t always easy, a deep understanding of your customers will lead to high payoffs. You will know how to best market to current customers to create long-lasting, unbreakable customer relationships. And if you know all about the profitable customers that you already have, you can reach new ones that much easier.
In practice, creating customer insights means collecting and analyzing data to understand who your customers are and why they interact with your brand, so you know where, when, and how to reach them. Here are a few insights that will help you work towards truly understanding your customers:
Collect Consistent and Reliable Data
Before you can analyze customer data, it needs to be collected in a reliable, consistent way. There is a plethora of customer data out there, including direct engagement, social listening, website behavior, POS system interactions, email marketing campaigns, mobile app behavior, and much more. It is up to you to choose what makes the most sense for your business and create a data plan with a specific purpose in mind.
For direct-to-consumer businesses that offer a product or service, social listening data is a great way to gather candid customer feedback. Consumers are constantly putting their opinions online via social media, blogs, reviews, and forums. Social listening tools look for and gather these posts into a dataset, which can be analyzed for sentiment and reoccurring themes, and allow you to engage with customers directly.
Another way to gather information about your customers is to ask them! Customer service teams can engage with your customers regularly, through website chats, direct outreach, surveys, or customer complaint desks. This will help you gather data on customer loyalty and feedback, while simultaneously making customers feel heard and cared for.
Invest in a Customer Data Platform
Once customer data is collected, it can’t just sit in a data warehouse or table. To actually make decisions, you must create useful data visualizations that are easily accessible to your team. Many data vendors, like Google Analytics, AdWords, LinkedIn Ads, and various POS systems have built-in visualizations, which portray information about that particular consumer touchpoint. But many companies have turned to Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) to understand these touchpoints in the context of the entire customer journey.
Customer Data Platforms aggregate data from multiple sources and display data visualizations in real time. In a CDP, charts and data from each consumer touchpoint all live in one place. This not only saves time (you can stop constantly switching between platforms), but also provides information about how those interactions affect each other.
A simple example dashboard could track increases in LinkedIn Ad spend next to a chart on website traffic over the past year, displaying the relationship between ad spend and user engagement. Some CDPs can also run more complex data analyses, like Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), Next Best Action, and Recency, Frequency, Monetary (RFM) models to predict which customers will be the most profitable, and how to best reach them.
Analyze and Adjust
Once customer data is collected and visualized, it needs to be analyzed by your team. Don’t set your data plan once and never think about it critically again. The process of understanding your customers will answer questions you already have, while also unearthing new questions about your audience that you may not have thought of yet.
Did you find out that your target audience is not quite who you thought they were? Great — you learned something super valuable to your business. Now it is time to adjust your marketing and data plan to learn more about this audience.
Maybe you discovered that more of your converted customers are coming from social media than other channels. Now you need to reallocate time and budget from your blog to create more robust social media postings. You can start to gather more data to understand which social media platform is your best fit.
Understanding your customers is not always easy, but it is one of the most important components of your growth marketing plan. If you found this blog post interesting or would like to learn more about RXA’s CDP, Voice of Customer Experience, or Customer Lifecycle solutions, please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.