Customer insight is all about analyzing data to better understand your customers, helping you make better decisions about how, when and what to sell them. These better decisions will result in campaigns or strategies becoming more effective and more efficient, resulting in increased profitability.
CMOs are under great pressure to prove a return on investment, resulting in them looking for ways to reduce potentially wasted budget and be more targeted with campaigns and advertising strategies. Therefore, it’s paramount that every business starts to use customer insight to tailor their marketing.
Using the simple example of a direct marketing campaign, this could be to ensure that you only send this quarter’s catalog to segments of customers that (a) have a history of buying from catalogs or (b) are identified as high spenders and therefore worthy of a catalog.
“If we want to produce a very specific mailing campaign, for example sending out sample items to our best customers who have bought similar things before, in the old way of doings things that would have been a two-week process, to brief the agency, get the list created and then actually use it. Now we can turn it around in a day. We can go from concept to action in 24 hours.”
The Four Components of Customer Insight
For a marketing team to be able to start using customer insight effectively in their campaigns, they must have the four following components in place:
- Full access to clean, reliable (and complete) data.
- The right tools to analyze the data.
- The skills to be able to interpret the data.
- The right technology to be able to act on the insights
Clean and reliable data
By using clean and reliable data you can be sure that your insights are based on facts. Ensuring that the data is complete also confirms that you are not missing any data that could change your perception.
For example, if you are attempting to do some RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary) analysis on your customers, then your results could be misleading if you don’t also include data about refunds and returns. A customer that bought six items but returns five of them would look very different if the refunded items were not included in the analysis.
Creation of a Single Customer View, where data from everywhere is centralized, deduplicated and cleansed, is therefore essential for any marketing team that is serious about using customer insights to increase the profitability of their marketing campaigns and decisions.
The right tools
Having the right tools in place to analyze the data is possibly more subjective. Every technology vendor will tell you they have the right tools for you, and in the world of MarTech, where there is an excess of 8,000 potential solutions for “the right tools”, it’s important to write down a set of requirements and then match solutions back to those requirements. The requirements for any customer insight system purchase should be non-ambiguous, have measurable goals and have fully considered the five key components of a technology purchase:
- People – Who is going to use it? What are their skills? Do you have enough?
- Data – What data exists already? What data do you need but don’t have?
- Technology – How much is it? How is it hosted? What is the support? How complicated/easy is it? How long to implement?
- Culture – What is the culture? Does it fit with your plans? Do you foresee any barriers?
- Process – What new processes need adopting? Which processes will the technology replace? What happens before and after the technology?
Skills to interpret data
In 2016 BlueVenn undertook a Data Deadlock survey of more than 600 marketers. In that survey we found that the skill most marketers felt they needed to improve was ‘data analysis’. Essentially, the ability to find patterns in data, particularly in the modern world, where data is bigger, faster and more varied than ever before.
The results told us that four out of five marketers don’t believe they have the necessary skills. In truth however, the world of data visualization has come on in leaps and bounds in the past five years and made customer insights and analysis more the job of using charts, graphs and maps rather than analyzing and manipulating numbers and cells.
The right technology
The “right technology” to act on your customer insight could again be subjective. It could be a single multi-channel marketing platform, or a variety of different marketing platforms. These could be integrated or they could act independently. You might use a piece of marketing automation for your direct marketing, an agency for advertising and a dedicated platform for social.
Whatever the technology being used or considered, you have to go back to the five components we discussed earlier in this blog – People, Data, Technology, Culture and Process.
Over the last 24 months Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) have burst onto the scene promising unified data and the ability for marketers to own the technology (rather than IT). A CDP ensures that the unification, cleanliness and completeness of the data is ready for trustworthy insights. Some CDPs also have analytics, segmentation and marketing automation capabilities built into them. This enables marketers to potentially utilize one platform to satisfy all four components of customer insight.
Using BlueVenn as Your Customer Insight and Marketing Automation Platform
Customer insight is essential for the optimization of customer journeys and to understand why a customer is doing what they are doing. Therefore it is imperative for marketers to not only gain this data, but to turn it into readable and accessible insight and make data-driven decisions.
BlueVenn enhances, cleanses, unifies and deduplicates every byte of data either in real-time or through batch methods. Through a visual drag & drop user interface, it then provides insights through a collection of data visualization tools. Without any coding or requests to IT or third parties, the marketing team can get at insights in real-time.
BlueVenn’s suite of campaign management tools fully integrate with email platforms, advertising systems, social media accounts, SMS tools, ecommerce systems and any API-driven platform. This enables it to be used as one tool to coordinate all multi-channel campaigns – even that next fully-optimized catalog campaign!