Know Thy Customer: Why companies MUST have a data-centric view of their customers — or be crushed by companies that do

By Guest Author | Updated on Aug 8, 2017 8:25:00 AM

OGMOI90.jpgHere’s a quick experiment for you: open up your email inbox, and hop over to your promotions tab. What do these marketing emails look like? I’m seeing highly personalized messages from AirBnB, luring me back to the site with mentions of trips I created, yet left unbooked. I scroll down and see a “we miss you!” email from an ecomm outlet I used to frequent, right above some timely messaging from a luggage brand I’ve been eyeing.

The point is, these online brands are using the data they have on their customers to craft highly relevant messaging. We’ve come to expect this type of data-driven treatment from the digital retailers; after all, they have our browsing and purchasing data right in front of them. Less sophisticated, however, are offline brands: restaurants, coffee shops, movie theatres, etc. To my point, when was the last time you received personalized, relevant communication from your favorite restaurant?

As data-savvy digital brands are crossing over into the offline world (example: Amazon opening up physical bookstores and buying Whole Foods), restaurants and retailers need to be collecting and using customer data as a fundamental part of how they operate in order to stay relevant in the eyes of the customer. Suddenly, the simple advantage of being a “real life” store doesn’t necessarily confer a competitive advantage when it comes to how customers are being treated; the online brands are actually offering more customer-centric experiences than the brick-and-mortar businesses because their communication takes the customer’s entire history of behavior into account.

Brands who prioritize the collection of customer data have the information to fuel highly effective marketing programs that delight customers with their relevance and timeliness. For example, when a customer who was once loyal to your business lapses, how do you identify that person, determine what “lapsed” is in terms of their own unique visit cadence, and then reach out to them to win them back as a customer? A sophisticated customer loyalty platform does that work for you, serving up the right message to that person and generating revenue that might’ve been lost otherwise. After all, if “loyalty” is really just about keeping customers engaged, happy, and high-frequency, data only makes that goal more attainable (and the efforts surrounding it more effective).

So, what type of “data” should you be collecting, exactly, and how can that data be leveraged to positively impact customer experience (and increase customer lifetime value)? Let’s break it down:

  1. Frequency and Spend data: Who are your customers, how much are they spending, and how often do they come back? This is the bare minimum when it comes to customer data collection, and is critical for the calculation of CLTV (customer lifetime value).
  2. Feedback data: how happy are your customers, and how likely are they to return? Instead of just inserting a paper survey into the bill at the end of the night and reading through random feedback, tie customer satisfaction to an individual’s purchase history, and track it over time. Collect quantitative NPS scores to make it easier to understand the data (learn more about NPS and why it’s so important here).
  3. Habitual/Behavioral data: Your customers are real people, all with their own unique way of interacting with your business. Do they visit primarily on the weekends, or are they a weekday lunch customer? Do they buy items frequently, or make big purchases infrequently?

Once you start collecting this data, there are a few ways to put it into practice immediately. First, do away with the one-size-fits-all email campaign as a marketing strategy. Segment customers in a way that allows you to craft personal, timely messages. Better yet, implement a solution that does this for you, and automatically targets customers at a time that’s delightful and useful for them (right after a purchase, for example). Personalized loyalty marketing, data-driven segmentation, and real-time measurement will continue to drive modern consumer engagement strategy, especially at this critical time in the world of offline commerce. When it comes to a customer loyalty program, find one that prioritizes building a strong, data-driven marketing platform for your brand… or get left behind by savvier, tech-forward brands with better customer data.

Loyalty programs aren’t one-size-fits all; which is why Thanx just released the 2017 Loyalty Buyer’s Guide, which is packed full of tips for offline businesses looking to find the right program for their brand. Download it for free here!

Margaret Link is a loyalty fanatic and heads up the content team at Thanx, where she loves adding fun and informative articles about customer data, brand loyalty, and technology to the Thanx Blog.

About Thanx

Thanx is the system of record for customer data, providing offline businesses with an end-to-end view of their customers and a platform that allows for real-time mobile engagement that is proven to drive results. With Thanx, businesses can access individual customer records to explore spend, visit frequency, demographics and sentiment. And, advanced campaign tools allow businesses to launch automated campaigns that are proven to win back lost customers, increase visit frequency and drive spend. If Thanx sounds like an easy-to-use CRM with advanced loyalty features, you’re right. Thanx is loyalty reimagined.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, customer loyalty

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