Marketing Data

Budget cuts – What happens to Marketing

It’s coming towards the end of the year and for many, that means the process of reviewing the budget for the next fiscal year. Reviewing every line of that budget becomes a tedious and necessary job. What gets cut? What stays?

Going department by department often leads right to the marketing department. At first glance, this seems like an obvious place to reallocate. The ROI is hard to prove. There typically is a long tail on any marketing efforts. And marketing efforts don’t always seem mission-critical.

I would like to argue that they are indeed mission-critical and there is never a more crucial time to invest in marketing than during economic downturns. But why?

  • Reputation in the market place. Consistency is always key. Don’t let others speak into the market place. Be the expert that you are and prove to the market why you are the front runner.
  • Keep your existing customer base. Your current base is your best place for repeat sales. You should be reaching these customers more than any other pool of people. Don’t let your current customers out of your sights.
  • Find new customers. The constant problem everyone has is attrition. Customers fall off. It’s a natural process. So if you are not attracting new customers, you are losing market share naturally. And if you are not actively marketing then your chances of gaining new customers is just that…chance.

So how do you handle this in a room full of mission-critical personnel? You need to come with data to prove your effectiveness. It always comes back to data.

And if you are not using data to market your goods or services, you certainly can’t use data to prove it’s effectiveness. Here’s how:

  • Start with good clean data. Bad data that hasn’t been hygiened can lead to a waste of money. You end up marketing to vacant homes, deceased people, and even prisoners.
  • Unify your data. If you are like most companies, your data is scattered across many platforms creating data silos. How do you really know about who your best customer is if their data is spread across multiple sources?
  • Segment properly. Prioritize your customers based on who has bought or is more likely to buy. The more you know about your customers, the better the segmentation can be.
  • Know your matchback numbers. After you run your campaigns, know where the responses are coming from. Don’t stop at the campaign level. Drill down to the segments and even to the customers. Determine which campaign worked for what segment and what customers and then analytically dig into the “whys”.

Ultimately, a good matchback will prove your ROI, especially if you bring that matchback into the cost of goods sold. Operationally it makes complete sense to marry these numbers and prove your ROI.

So as you walk into budget meetings, if you don’t have all of this data, why not suggest invoking a platform that can bring you all this data. At Valurity Analytics, we can help you with all of these marketing data issues. As data scientists, we are the perfect complement to your creative marketing team.

Drowning in Data?

With such a flood of data in this day and age marketing teams can be drowned with the amount of information causing missed opportunities or leading to ineffective or poor business decisions. Mark Twain said it best “Data is like garbage. You’d better know what you are going to do with it before you collect it.”

Customer and Marketing data can have a value equal to garbage unless it’s used correctly. It should be cleaned through proper data hygiene and unified across the myriad of data silos and formats. From there you need to know what you are going to do with it and be able to ask the right questions or make the best queries.

Working with the right solutions partner or having the right tools in place will then allow you to analyze, profile, & model the data to be translated into insights and recommendations.

Those insights can tell you who buys what, how much they buy, the best time they buy, the best channel to reach them in order for them to buy, as well as how to retain them as buyers just to name a few.

Not only will those key customer insights show you who your best customers are but also allow you to allocate your marketing spend to increase return on investment and stay ahead of your competition.

No one really says “hey, that’s some great looking data” but bad data is worse than no data. So like Mark Twain said, you better know what you are going to do with it before you collect it. Otherwise, it’s as good as garbage.

Market Segmentation & Strategy

One of the most important marketing decisions a company will make is figuring out which market segments to focus on. Each segment has unique needs and in most cases, certain products stand a much better chance of success when marketing strategy focuses on the needs of those unique segments vs trying to market and fulfill the needs of multiple segments.

What’s even worse is not doing the proper data analysis and going after the wrong segment. For example, a leading distributor of liquid vitamins was shocked to discover that their marketing effort to and perceived leading segment was not 65+ adults because they were easier to swallow but actually middle-aged adult business travelers who were always on the go.

Of course, a segment should be big enough to be profitable but the smaller and more unique the segment, the more precise the marketing strategy and message can be.

In this day and age, a marketing strategy that includes a marketing database can make it much easier to reach these smaller segments and individual consumers. For example, a large retail website has a marketing database with 60 million existing and potential customers and over 400 data points on each. These data points include hobbies, age, credit, marriage status, birthday, as well as # of children just to name a few. This marketing database allows them to send individualized catalogs when a consumer is most likely to buy.

Combine that with a 360-degree view of the customer and you will get even more accurate insights allowing you to reach the right audience with the right personalized message at the right time.

What do your Consumers Want?

Do you…

  • drive a 1990 Audi station wagon?
  • eat only rice and beans?
  • wear only hand me downs or clothes bought at your local thrift store?
  • only buy furniture at flea markets?
  • live in a van down by the river?

Probably not.

If someone asks you what you want for your birthday do you tell them shampoo or toothpaste?

Maybe, but that would be a rare consumer and a very strong outlier in any data set. And while that consumer wouldn’t require much effort when it comes to marketing strategy your potential and existing customers don’t just purchase the basic necessities to get by. They also purchase what they want.

A good marketing strategy starts with understanding what motivates buyers, allowing them to experience those feelings in advance, and thus creating a desire for them to take action.

How do you tap into that?

A good place to start is with data and lots of it. But, not just any data. There is an explosion of readily available data in this day and age from multiple sources, in multiple formats, and spread across multiple data silos. First, it needs to be cleaned & unified.

From there you need to optimize your data through segmentation, profiling & modeling, and personas while combining spending habits, touch-point behaviors, and other various measures into one single reliable customer view.

This helps create new insights and intelligence that you can add to your campaign execution.

Don’t let your marketing strategy be a one size fits all approach to just spray out a message hoping it will land on someone who will buy. Make it a goal to understand the wants and values of your potential and existing customers. A good place to start is always with clean, unified, and optimized data.

Customer Retention is Key

Lost customers can result from being overlooked, not getting enough attention, or getting too much attention. It can ruin customer relationships or how they perceive your brand. Companies need a platform to engage their customers personally across all touch points on a regular basis with the right message at the right time.

Whether it’s quarterly, seasonal, monthly, weekly, or promotional outreach, it’s imperative that companies retain customers against multiple competitor campaigns.

Be sure to reinforce the value of your brand, respond quickly to any real or perceived problem, and get proactive in knowing your customers base. Start with profiling & modeling, segmenting your customers, and creating personas. See how customers rank along multiple factors including revenue contribution, lifetime value, and campaign response rates then take a closer look at how often and in what ways you are connecting with them.

How often are you contacting your customers (too much, too little, not at all), through what channels, what is the purpose of your outreach, what messaging are you using, and what are historical outcomes of those interactions?

Put yourself in your customers shoes. Do your outreach efforts make you want to buy more from your company, feel valued as a customer, feel like your preferences and buying habits are understood?

Apply analytics to your data to better understand your situation, then decide on the frequency, purpose, and channel of outreach to stay top of mind to your customers before they go elsewhere.

Stay on top of your Data Hygiene

In today’s “Big Data” world most business decisions are data driven but the smart and accurate decisions start with clean data.

Data cleansing or data cleaning is the process of detecting and correcting (or removing) corrupt or inaccurate records from a record set, table, or database and refers to identifying incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate or irrelevant parts of the data and then replacing, modifying, or deleting the dirty or coarse data. (wikipedia)

Having clean data is important in every department across B2C and B2B organizations especially in marketing. Some of those multiple data points are:

  • Address Standardization
  • Address Correction and National Change of Address
  • Email Validation
  • Phone Type Validation (Mobile vs Voip vs LandLine vs Company # vs Direct)
  • Duplicates
  • Missing or incomplete data

Bad data can be worse than no data and lead to problems with cost, wasted employee productivity, and customer distrust. For example:

  • Poor data quality is also hitting organizations where it hurts – to the tune of $15 million as the average annual financial cost (Gartner)
  • 77 percent of companies believe their bottom line is affected by inaccurate and incomplete contact data and on average, respondents believe 12 percent of revenue is wasted. (Experian survey)
  • Bad Data Costs the U.S. $3 Trillion Per Year (Harvard Business Review)

With the increasing volumes of data, data sources, and technology stacks housing siloed data coupled with the increasing need to make better and more informed data-driven decisions it is becoming paramount that organizations stay on top of their data hygiene.

Millennial Target Market

Proper market segmentation can lead to more effective ROI. Determining which particular segments to market towards is always the trick. The current trend is to target the millennial generation.

The millennial generation is the current largest segment of the United States population. Therefore it must be the best target market. But is it really?

This particular article is fascinating as to why it might not be the most effective marketing strategy.

Take a look.

Why Profile your Customers?

We recently had the opportunity to profile a client’s data. What does that mean exactly?

When raw data is brought in from an ERP system or a third party affiliate, it first needs to be hygiened and unified. From there, it can be matched with consumer data to find out who really is your best customer.

There are some obvious indicators to think about, for example gender and income level. But good profiling goes way beyond that.

A good profile should be able to reach into interests and hobbies, household members, home ownership, and more. Why is that important?

When you think about marketing, you need to know the channel and that is driven by your audience. So if your target profile is 40 – 49 year old women with more than 2 children in the home that enjoy gardening, your best channel may be a Home and Garden magazine or an ad space on HGTV.

Profiling your customers isn’t just a one time exercise either. You need to consistently use the data that you have and refine that profile. The goal is to develop and train a model to ensure your campaigns are getting better and better via machine learning.

At Valurity Analytics, we use your data and a petabyte of data to best profile your customers. Don’t stop at the basics. Get the full picture.

The Case for a Customer Data Platform by the Numbers

One of the biggest hurdles Marketing teams face today around the customer experience is being able to unify siloed customer data into a convenient and continuously updated snapshot of all that there is to know about their customers across all touchpoints of the buyer journey.

According to Gartner:

89% of businesses are going to compete on the basis of customer experience in the coming years.

Over 90% of marketers struggle to seamlessly connect more than 3 channels on the buyer journey.

According to Forbes Insights:

52% of Marketing Executives report that while they are leveraging a variety of tools and technologies there is little coordination between them.

Only 19% report having a robust set of analytics tools and technology services supporting customer-data-driven decisions and campaigns.

Only 13% of companies can be considered “leaders” in leveraging customer data.

Contact us today to learn how Valurity Analytics’ Customer Database Platform (VCDP) unifies, cleans, & optimizes all of your datasets allowing for deeper segmentation logic and personalization that can be deployed across all marketing campaign channels with granular matchback performance measurement capabilities & analytics.