Marketing Datafication

Marketing datafication is about the increasing influence that data collected about individuals now has on all marketing processes. In fact, marketing data is often the sole deciding factor in to market or not to market to someone. In the online world, data completely determines the product propositions put in front of most customers.

Our goal in this whitepaper is to help you understand what marketing datafication is and how to incorporate it into your marketing activities.

WHAT IS MARKETING DATAFICATION?

As technology improves and customer databases grow marketers are becoming ever more obsessed with data and the value its insights generate. The abundance of data means many of the world’s organisations are awash with data.

Every interaction we have with an organisation, whether digital or not, whether transactional or not, enables that business to create new bits of data about that interaction, says Rob Jones, Sales and Marketing Director at Qbase. Most of us are now fully aware that companies gather this data and, most of the time, we do not mind because we expect the data to be used to improve our next experience with that organisation.

The acquisition of personal data is sometimes viewed with great suspicion. However, as Rob Jones explains, the availability of data provides many great benefits: Data is empowering to everyone. Customers can use it to find, choose, compare, share, wax lyrical about or savagely criticise products, services and brands. For customer centric organisations, data allows their customers to take ownership of the relationship they have with that business. They can customise their preferences so they only receive the products and offers that are most suitable to their needs.

Data is not only a mechanism for empowering customers, it is a marketer’s goldmine. With a rich, clean and accurate database, and a system like Apteco’s FastStats, we can learn about customer behaviour, perceptions, attitudes and buying habits. This enables marketers to understand more about their customers and segment their own customer data. By segmenting their customers they can identify the most engaged and profitable group and the least engaged and profitable group, along with all the levels and gradients in between. This means that marketers can devise sophisticated customer journeys to move people from least engaged through to most engaged, commented Paresh Patel, Business Insight Direct at Qbase.

It is true that data is the goldmine from which marketers make their businesses fortunes. But how do you dig into this goldmine?

Nick Kelly, Technical Solutions Director at Qbase explains: It can be quite overwhelming at first. Most businesses have their data scattered throughout their business in fragmented data sources. Pulling all of this together into a single customer view is the starting point. Once you have a single customer view you need to analyse your data and build statistical models to get to the insight you are looking for.

With powerful insights marketers can build personalised, one-to-one relationships with existing customers to improve their experience, which means better levels of engagement and response. The intelligence you gain from knowing your customers better means you can acquire new customers faster and with greatly reduced campaign costs, said Mark Robinson, Vice President of Qbase.

USING BEHAVIOURAL DATA

Let us start at the beginning and ask, what is behavioural data? In a nutshell, behavioural data is anything from a click on a PPC ad to the browsing habits of your web visitors. It includes things like how customers use your products and services, comments they leave on your site or social media platforms and how they interact with marketing communications. It is important to note that this data only becomes accurate, and therefore truly valuable, when it is gathered over time.

Gathering behavioural data allows marketers to create more relevant and effective communication messages and improve how those messages are targeted and delivered, said Paresh Patel, Business Insight Director at Qbase. The key is to observe recurring behaviour over time.

By going beyond demographic data and using behavioural data, marketers can target potential customers with communications about products, services or offers that are most relevant to them, at a point in time that suggests a higher propensity to buy. This means that conversion rates can be increased and communications costs lowered. Finding those customers who have a higher propensity to buy takes time. It is not always about having the lowest price, it is about how you look after your customers. It is about the customer experience and how you engage with them, to appeal to their interests and desires, on a one-to-one level.

Personalisation of marketing communications, based on behavioural data, is the most effective way to engage a mass audience on a one-to-one level and can increase conversion rates by as much as 37%. Rob Jones, Sales and Marketing Director at Qbase explains: John Smith visits your site a number of times to view a specific sofa in red, in the past you may have been tempted to e-mail John an offer on that sofa after his second or third visit to try and maximise conversion to sale. However a closer look at his history would tell you his last 3 purchases were made after 5 visits to your site. Therefore if you sent the promotional offer after 2 or 3 visits you have given away profit on something John may well have purchased anyway given enough time. Therefore you can use this information to personalise an email communication to him in which he only gets an offer on that red sofa once he has broken his expected pattern of behaviour. Therefore you would only send that mail after his 5th visit and after he didn’t go on to purchase.

Determining the wants and needs of your customers, and serving them relevant and timely communication messages, is the ultimate goal for marketers gathering and using behavioural data.

USING LOCATION DATA

With the rise of mobile devices comes new opportunities for savvy marketing professionals looking to exploit new sources of data.

WiFi and roaming data services means many users of mobile devices include location data when they engage online. This location data enables marketers to examine extra dimensions of their customer’s lives. This additional insight goes beyond knowing about a customer’s geographical location, it helps marketers analyse and determine their propensity to buy.

Analysis, enriched with location data, allows marketers to undertake sophisticated and intelligent marketing campaigns and actions. With location data you can predict a mobile users next move or action based on that location and the content they are engaging with, says Rob Jones, Director at Qbase.

Location data can be recorded in broad terms, such as in or out of store, but can also be pinpointed specifically to where in a store that person is. By giving marketers this data they can personalise a customer’s experience based on their location.

Of course location data is really only useful if the mobile user is a customer who already has a relationship with your organisation or brand, explained Paresh Patel, Business Insight Director at Qbase. The existing relationship means a wealth of data about the customer’s behaviours has already been gathered. Now you are adding the location data dimension. Adding location data to the data you already have about your customers allows you to personalise the shopping experience. Look at the actions the customer is undertaking when using their mobile device, for example they may be searching for items, reading articles or product reviews or watching videos about your products or services. Knowing what the customer is doing, where they are doing it and combining this with historical behavioural data means you can engage customers ‘on location’ and move them along the customer journey to a purchase decision.

Some larger retail chains are installing Bluetooth Beacons that communicate with a customer’s phone to enhance their shopping experience and promote in-store purchases. Whatever it takes to deliver timely, relevant and enticing messages to stimulate purchase decisions. Location data enables marketers to interact with customers in ways that have never been possible before and deliver instant messages with offers, promotions and discount coupons to increase engagement and sales revenues.

USING PURCHASING DATA

Selling to existing customers is always regarded as easier and cheaper than acquiring new customers. To a large extent this is true. But for retailers, where unit selling prices are low, existing customers loyalty is not that strong.

You almost have to treat existing customers as brand new and get their follow-up purchase as soon as possible, says Paresh Patel, Business Insight Director at Qbase. The longer the time lapse between purchases is, the greater the likelihood of that customer going elsewhere. You have to use their purchasing data to trigger messages that shorten the gap to their next purchase.

By adopting the philosophy that most retail customers are one-time buyers, a retail company’s objective is to get that ‘one-time buyer’ back into the shop as soon as possible.

If you can secure that second purchase the customer becomes twice as likely to return for a third purchase. By acquiring the third purchase the customer becomes three times more likely to return for a fourth, as so on. This can only be achieved by recording, analysing and acting upon purchasing data.

Paresh Patel explains, Never assume that a follow-up purchase is guaranteed just because they are an existing customer. The key is to get that follow-up sale as soon as possible. Marketing automation can be used to trigger communications messages when a purchase is made and pull that customer back into your store or ecommerce platform. Depending on how the customer engages with that message could trigger more communications until you secure that follow-up purchase.

Unless your organisation sells high value products or complex services, where personal relationships are key to customer loyalty, you will experience the same scenario as retailers.

Once you secure the second purchase from your customer you increase the likelihood of a third purchase. As soon as you win that third purchase the likelihood of fourth increases. It becomes a virtuous circle, but only if you use customer’s purchasing data and combine it with marketing campaigns that reduce the time lapse to their next purchase.

USING SOCIAL DATA

Let us take a look at some social media statistics. 71% of online adults use Facebook, 23% use Twitter, 26% use Instagram, 28% use Pinterest and 28% use LinkedIn. Of these people, 40% engage with social media on their phones. 28% do this daily.

On a daily basis customers are engaging with content on social media sites and in doing so they are leaving a rich source of personal information that marketers can use to increase engagement and purchases.

Looking at the type of content people engage with gives marketers more than simple vanity metrics (e.g. likes, favourites, followers, shares etc.). It allows marketers to understand why customers like a specific brand and what motivates their buying behaviour.

To incorporate social data into strategies marketers have to firstly start gathering it. The data you collect will add a finer level of granularity to your customer insights, which means you can engage with them on a more personal level, says Rob Jones, Director at Qbase.

Marketers can use personal social data to tap into ‘social commerce’ and offer customers shopper pick lists, user ratings and user-generated content that is all focused around brand products and messages.

Rob Jones continues, Let us say you have gathered a number of positive reviews about product A. You have analysed your data and found that people who gave a positive review about product A went on to purchase products X, Y and Z. But, they gave poor reviews about product X. You can use this information to trigger a message to the next person to buys product A to promote products Y and Z. You could even use this data to learn more about why product X was not well received.

Social data has to be more than counting the number of likes you have on Facebook. It has to be about insight and how this helps you improve engagement and increase sales.

THE FUTURE OF DATA DRIVEN MARKETING

The future of data and data driven marketing is very bright, but complex. Data gathering technologies will become a natural, often unseen, part of everyday life. As consumers we will become oblivious to a lot of the data being gathered about us, or even to the fact it has just been gathered.

Marketers will need to keep up to date with the latest technologies and techniques for storing and analysing data and implementing the insights they discover. The success or failure of marketing campaigns will largely depend on the quality of the data available and the analysis and modelling that is able to be done, explains Rob Jones, Director at Qbase. Organisations that can find more innovative ways to gather and use data will hold the most power in the marketplace.

But don’t worry marketers! Your natural flair for creativity will be as vital as ever, you’ll just have to be more productive and more efficient in your execution. As your competitors get better at using their data, the competitive advantage you gained from sophisticated analysis will become reduced. Data innovation will keep you ahead of the game, but speed of creation and delivery will be key to success. Remember, data and analysis on its own does not make a marketing campaign. It supports the marketer to achieve even greater successes than were previously possible. It is the messages you create, your multi-channel approach to delivery, the experiences you enhance and the personalised engagement you nurture that is critical to success, says Rob Jones.

Marketing automation enables trigger based communications to help marketers improve speed of communications delivery and engaging with customers in real-time. By using marketing automation technologies with data insights, organisations will become increasingly more sophisticated at reacting to social, market or environmental signals with the best, most timely and relevant marketing messages.

But if we gaze deep into the future we cannot complete this exercise without discussing Artificial Intelligence (AI). The world’s largest companies, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, are all investing money in AI to predict what each of their customers want before they know themselves.

Amazon are already leading the way with anticipatory shipping. They gather so much data about customer’s behaviours and buying habits, and are so confident in their intelligence, they will prepare and ship your order before your place it. Of course, they have to get it right or risk massive losses.

With technology already allowing companies like Amazon to undertake anticipatory shipping, who would bet against the rise of fully integrated AI driven marketing systems? Systems that, in real-time, can gather data, migrate it into a single customer view, run sophisticated analysis and statistical modelling and send marketing communications to multiple customers, across multiple devices and multiple geographic locations. As an AI driven system it will have the ability to learn from campaign performance and engagement data to enhance the customer’s future experience and increase sales revenues.

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