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Asking the Experts

From the Experts: The Secret To Successful Database Marketing

To deliver personalized customers' communications, you need a CRM platform.

Keith Loria
September 18 2019

The ability to procure deep and accurate insights that help marketers target their customers with just the right offers comes down to strong customer relationship management (CRM).

Carl Madaffari, SVP marketing and innovation at Epsilon, said that there’s plenty of data out there to help marketers better understand their customers, but it’s not just about having all those figures at one’s fingertips.

“As data levels increase, it’s equally important that brand marketers understand the data that matters most to their business and that they have the right mix to accurately build customer profiles and activate those insights across channels,” he said. “The right mix of data requires first, second, and third-party insights.”

How to build your customer model

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Successful Strategies

Software company Fisher Unitech caters its marketing efforts to customers who can be reliably expected to engage, and to accomplish this, they collect specific information such as industry, job title, and function.

“To obtain this type of data, we use progressive forms (dynamic form). This allows us to select which form fields appear based on the information we already have about a particular lead and enables us to collect new information about a prospect each time they fill out a form,” said Jackie Tihany, digital marketing specialist. “Having this information allows us to send dynamic content emails, execute social retargeting, and create content.”

Rantizo’s marketing lead, Emily Carlson, found that the best source of data is from customers and prospective customers themselves. This is extremely important to follow in the phases where a company determines who its customer is or isn’t.

“You should determine your marketing objectives or theories you want to test, identify the data to reach those objectives or prove/disprove theories, and develop questions or various calls to action to qualify that data into standardized segments,” she said. “In today’s day and age, we tend to get the idea that we have to turn to digital sources for data, but there is nothing better than collecting the data straight from the source. Through a more hands-on approach, there is less opportunity for algorithms or bots to skew the data.”

CRMs become immensely helpful in storing that data or executing quick action items down the road.

Analyzing the Right Data

Co-founder and COO of Map My Customers, Emad Khan, said that while CRMs aggregate and analyze huge amounts of data, they still rely on the user’s intuition to close the gap between reporting and closing. Therefore, CRMs must layer actionable data from unique sources such as geospatial data for trip optimization and prospecting, as well as other sources like Google’s real-time projection of when a target is likely to be too busy to interact.

“Additionally, they should emphasize predictive analytics over retrospectives, as too many CRMs focus on lessons generated from retrospective data rather than use it to predict,” Khan said.

Al Bshara, VP of product strategy at Seismic, said that collecting the right type of customer data can be a tricky balance for marketers.

“In their quest to have as big of a pipeline as possible, marketers may feel tempted to buy data from a third-party database. But this is risky, and should be avoided,” he said. “There’s no way to tell where this information originated or if participants opted in to having their data passed along. When people receive unwanted emails, they’ll either ignore them or flag them as spam.”

He warns that ISPs can pick up on this activity, which can lead to delayed or blocked emails and even the blacklisting of your domain, blocking the sales team from doing their work.

“Resources are better devoted to gathering first-party data, so you can not only trust the source but know the person is interested in receiving information about your business,” Bshara said. “In the end, this will end up yielding much better results.”

Relay 42’s head of marketing, Varia Makagonova, noted that the marketers’ creativity when applying customer data is most responsible for success, not necessarily the data streams they use.

“The more customer data you can get your hands on, the better,” she said. “And then the more interesting question becomes not which data do you use, but how do you use it? In other words, what are you going to do to show your customers that it’s worth sharing their valuable data, time, and, of course, money, with your company? Can you activate that customer data in real-time for the immediate, in-the-moment personalization that actually makes a difference? Can you activate it in unexpected and delightful ways, like reaching out with a customer service check-in when you know they’ve had a bad experience?”

Screen Recording

Many companies are turning to screen recording software to help them collect data and better optimize it. For instance, Akiva Leyton, lead engineer at Media Berries, utilizes Hotjar and Fullstory.

“I believe that screen recordings are the best source of customer data, because it is almost as though you are watching the customer navigate your site from over someone’s shoulder,” he said. “Being able to see clicks, mouse movement, and page loads allows me to glean important information about my websites, like pain points that cause confusion, unclear buttons, or outright disinterest. I highly recommend this to anyone in the marketing field, as it is an invaluable data source, and is free to get started with.”

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Keith Loria

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is an award-winning journalist who has been writing for major newspapers and magazines for close to 20 years, on topics as diverse as sports, business and healthcare. You can view some of his recent writing at keithloria.contently.com.

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