It’s far less expensive to retain customers than to acquire them, but retention still demands strategic investment. Marketers must engage the customer, nurture the relationship, and foster open dialogue so that brands can continuously add value. Understanding the evolving needs of customers is essential to these B2C relationships — which is why customer data platforms (CDPs) can be such powerful tools.
More from PostFunnel on customer data:
Companies are Giving Consumers Control Over their Data—Here’s Why
The 2019 Guide to Customer Data Platforms
The Rise of the Marketing Data Scientist
CDPs aggregate vast volumes of consumer data to create detailed profiles with actionable insights. These insights can drive targeted communications and help you retain your most valuable users. The following guide highlights CDP features and suggests best practices for incorporating them into your retention strategy.
Obtain as much data as possible
CDPs are incredibly useful for any B2C organization, but they require a wealth of data. Marketers must aggregate data from various sources to create complete datasets and customer profiles. When implementing your CDP, make sure to integrate data from as many upstream sources as your platform allows. Email, social media, web memberships, and even SMS messages are all key channels to include. You’ll want anything that contains:
- Personal & demographic data
- On-site behavior data
- Engagement data
- Transactional data
- Mobile & device data
Most CDPs will already have existing connectors, such as APIs, that can import this data and output results to other departments. If your platform has built in ETL capabilities, you may be able to automatically glean information from each data source. The less time you spend on manual data entry, the more you can focus on delivering insight-backed marketing.
Of course, obtaining access to large amounts of data doesn’t mean you can grab anything and everything without limitation. Before reaching out to customers, make certain you’re on the level with current regulatory standards.
Prove your commitment to security and privacy
With so much customer information at your disposal, proper security and storage procedures are essential. Up to 87% of consumers do not feel confident about sharing personal data online — so when they do share it, you as a company are obligated to protect their interests by managing it responsibly. This extends beyond a verbal commitment: you’ll need to create formal consumer data protection policies within your organization.
These policies must align with the consumer privacy regulations of every country in which you’re doing business. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulates a variety of data privacy requirements within the European Union. GDPR-compliant businesses must provide explicit data collection notifications to consumers and retrieve or remove personal data upon request. Comparable legislation is being passed worldwide, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
The good news is that complying with these regulations also cultivates trust among consumers, which in turn increases retention. If your business lacks expertise in privacy matters, consider partnering with a certification organization that can assist with these matters. As one example, TrustArc certifies regional and international businesses as GDPR-compliant organizations.
Leverage machine learning capabilities
Even with consumer data at hand, gathering actionable insights takes time. Thankfully, some CDPs include machine learning features that analyze data for patterns and trends.
Machine learning offers several key benefits. First, it can uncover hidden details that would be difficult or time consuming for humans to identify. Second, machine learning allows you to automatically run certain processes without human oversight. For example, a CDP could automatically assign users to a certain segment based on predefined conditions and send specifically worded promotions to their email addresses.
Dynamically segment customers
Customer segmentation allows marketers to leverage resources more strategically by targeting the most valuable customer groups. In 2019, however, segmentation criteria can change rapidly as customer behavior evolves. That’s why more CDPs offer dynamic segmentation tools that track customers and update their profiles in real-time.
Essentially, dynamic segmentation uses real-time measurements to adjust the segments to which a particular customer belongs. Such measures could prompt automatic changes to the customer data profile. The CDP might automatically move the customer into a targeted age group, change their marital status, or requalify them based on adjusted interests. When dynamic segmentation is active, users can automatically be added to or removed from campaigns or communication channels as per relevance to their needs.
With enough data, customer profiles can eventually represent a market of one by encompassing enough detail to generate highly personalized offers. But to reach this stage, marketers will need to carefully manage their datasets, leverage key insights, and segment their most valuable customer groups. Whatever your goal, CDPs are a crucial tool for creating these profiles while helping customers feel personally valued by your brand — and retaining them for the long haul.
For more information on CDPs, take a look at PostFunnel’s Nuts & Bolts guide on the subject.