One of the new content marketing trends for 2018 is to build stronger levels of content personalization into the marketing and communications workflows you send to your customers. It sounds tricky, but the truth is that the data is often there, and with just a little bit of manual intervention, there could be even more. The big point I want to make in this post to you is that your data needs to be used in better ways to improve customer engagement and to nurture better customer experiences.
Your Customer Data Needs to Be Smarter
If you have customers, you have data. You know their name probably, and there’s a contact method or two, and there are payment records of some kind. Most everyone has that. You might also have purchase history. For instance, at Owner Media, I know who’s bought what, how much they’ve spent, etc. And this is all pretty common for most companies. It’s what ELSE you can do that we’re going to talk about.
We need to collect and/or USE what we’ve collected to better shape the customer experience. What do I mean? What does that look like? Let me lay out a few samples.
I stay in plenty of hotels, Marriott often. Here’s what COULD be done with the data Marriott probably has laying around for me:
- Chris doesn’t care about the view from his room – exclude “primo” rooms so we can save them for guests who care about that.
- Chris wants lots of plugs for his gadgets – upon checkin, send someone to his room with a power strip for his stay.
- Chris travels mostly randomly – exclude marketing for specific locations, but include marketing for system-wide deals, and/or maybe destination recommendations.
There are so many other ways to collect and use the data, but those were three quick ones. Let’s move to another idea.
Example: HVAC Company- B2B
Let’s say I’m the operations and facilities guy at a data center. You run the HVAC company that services my systems.
- Keep Chris’s service calendar up to date, but also product end-of-life dates and “walk back” the start of a sales process conversation so that it matches before that EOL date.
- Marry the above information to what Chris told us about his company’s purchase process to find the right date to start the re-sale process.
- Bring Chris weather and power forecast data for his center to help improve Chris’s ability to size and scale his systems appropriately.
- Stay updated on related and complementary products and services and send updates to Chris, even when (especially when!) they aren’t a product you sell.
Some companies do this, but they are few. Most B2B companies pay attention to product lifecycle and sales cycle information, but rarely go beyond this to collaborate with the client and find other potential opportunities to serve.
Example: Online Grocery Delivery
I’ll tell you that I have a huge desire for someone to build me this.
- Chris tells the system: plan 6 days of meals for 1 person, vegan, with a $150 budget.
- System checks allrecipes.com for “vegan meals”
- System checks myfitnesspal.com for calorie and nutrient breakdowns for the meals from allrecipes.
- System matches finalized meals against grocery store price lists to match the $150 budget.
- A little rework probably happens
- System schedules meal grocery delivery to my house.
This is SO do-able. And once you get really smart with the data, you can add in some details, like food preferences (fewer beets and more Brussels sprouts, or whatever).
Start With Tagging
The first step of being able to use smarter data with your customer base comes from mapping out what you want to collect and/or how you intend to use it. You might know the “what” long before you know the “how.” For instance, I know who went to my Boston event and who went to my Portland event at Owner. I can thus start with them when inviting someone to another in-person event. I can then invite whoever’s spent more than $2000 with me. Etc. I can do this because I have the data and have added tags to various accounts accordingly.
What other tag categories should you consider? These are recommendations of tag “categories,” not specific tags. (And when I say “tags,” I’m saying “affix this information to the customer’s record in a way you can query it later. Taxonomy and folksonomy stuff.)
- Location – you might bucket people up based on where
- Frequency – are people frequent buyers or rare
- Interest – this one’s a “duh.” If you know WHAT people like, you can offer more of it
- Preference – what does your buyer like or dislike
- Buyer Persona – David Meerman Scott’s great term for what you might also call an avatar, etc
- NEXT – this one’s fun. Tag people with “people who like this might also like that” data.
As I said in my post about needing better CRM, we have to start with creating more smart data to pick from. Then, we can sample and test using that data to drive better customer experiences for our buyers. From here, we can see what works and what doesn’t and grow from there.
But the starting point? Collect, tag, and review some of the data you already have but aren’t using. Look for ways to append this data with more useful information. And build possible maps to see where knowing what you know leads your customer and your efforts to support him or her.
And, as always, I can help.
This story first appeared on chrisbrogan.com.