Most decision-makers wish they had a crystal ball. After all, it would be invaluable to have foreknowledge of all the opportunities and trends that could propel our organizations toward success and perpetual growth for years to come.
It’s natural to think about the possibilities had we been able to predict the importance of the Internet, the prominence of social media, and the worldwide reliance on video conferencing. It would also be a nice bonus to have the ability to accurately predict the scores of the Super Bowl or the World Series.
While we don’t have crystal balls, we do have something just as valuable: customer data. Big data around customer preferences characterized by volume, velocity, and variety is essential to today’s businesses because it influences organizational objectives, operational decisions, and marketing strategies. As a result, high-performing organizations are adept at leveraging customer data that allows them to effectively plan, predict customer behavior and, therefore, make better decisions.
Truly Understanding Customer Behavior
Customer data serves as the fundamental foundation for your organization, enabling you to develop a deeper relationship with your target audience and understand what they want.
Collecting Data Through Multiple Tools
Gather valuable information about your customers using different tools such as memberships, promotional campaigns, marketing automation featuring A/B testing and heat mapping, RFID chips, and more. Following are the two types of data that you should collect so you can interact with your audience in a more personalized way:
- Individual User Information: This will offer you insights about specific customers that you can utilize during one-on-one or segmented communications. It’s described as a close-up, personalized view of the customer.
- Group Data Patterns: This grants you an overview of your target market’s needs, wants, preferences, and habits. It’s categorized as a bird’s eye view of the market.
Collecting both types of data is essential to obtain a 360-degree view of your target audience. They work in conjunction to give you a complete picture of your customers’ habits and preferences, enabling you to improve product development and audience targeting.
Marketing Campaign Data
Track and monitor your current marketing campaigns to gauge your audience’s reaction. Find out which Pay-Per-Click ads, blog posts, emails, and social media posts have acquired the highest number of clicks, views, and user engagement. Learn what works and what doesn’t work so you can finetune your marketing strategies moving forward.
Research (Qualitative and Quantitative)
Endeavor to conduct qualitative and quantitative research about your customers. Implement surveys to gain quantitative data about your audiences’ individual preferences, habits, and plans. Also, conduct focus groups to truly understand the motivations behind their habits and preferences.
Keep in mind that quantitative and qualitative data work together. Marrying numbers to an audience’s narrative can provide valuable insight into those elements that drive their behavior.
Analyzing Data Through Customer and Visitor Analytics
All forms of user engagement will help you gain a more profound understanding of customer behavior, ranging from which links they click to what posts they read to which offers they accept.
A user behavior tracking tool can assist you in discovering how your target audience engages with your organization’s website and how they engage offline. Tools such as Google Analytics and Inspectlet can reveal how much time visitors spend on each page and the bounce rate. RFID chips and other membership mechanisms can track customer behavior offline through store or event visits.
This information will make it possible for you to create a better overall brand experience for your target market. Following are practices you can implement to improve the way that your audience interacts with your brand online and offline:
- If customers find your website difficult to navigate, refine and streamline the site to ensure a better user experience. A better user experience will result in visitors engaging with your site longer and increase your chances of collecting valuable data.
- Track where visitors spend their time; compare content on the most visited pages with content on the least popular pages. If the quality of the content differs significantly, upgrade the content on those pages where visitors are few or simply delete them altogether if they are not material to your site or organization.
- Track where visitors are coming from. Incorporating attribution models will not only help identify where customers are originating as they enter the sales funnel, it provides a historical context for future visitors and customers.
- Use memberships and rewards to help your organization gather valuable behavioral data from customers’ offline behavior. Knowing when and where they enter a store, what they purchase, the frequency of visits, and whether local publication ads or billboards play a role in their behavior is essential data that can be mined for future campaigns.
- Fold your customer data into a centralized analysis and data visualization tool where you can see their information all in one place, allowing you to have a single source of truth from multiple sources. This practice will help you identify customer behaviors, trends, and opportunities – giving you a predictive analytics tool that’s akin to a crystal ball.
Segmenting Customers Based on Preferences
Keep in mind that most businesses have a customer base that can be divided into different segments. Categorizing your audience according to their preferences and tailoring your marketing message for each segment will allow you to speak to the individual needs of each customer group.
To do this effectively, you must collect detailed customer data to organize and prioritize your audience correctly. Once segmented, you can then send personalized messages to each audience segment to promote customer loyalty and encourage repeat business according to what’s important to them. Customizing your marketing methods for each group will make customers feel that your messages are uniquely tailored to their specific interests. The more detailed the messaging gets, the better your account-based marketing efforts are for strategic clients.
Predict the Future, Win More Customers
Once you’ve collected your customer data, analyzed the results, and segmented your audience, you can leverage predictive modeling software to evaluate trends and patterns. You may also employ customer journey mapping to see the journey from the customer’s perspective. Customer journey mapping facilitates the creation of a graphical representation of the consumer’s journey, identifying touchpoints and identifying behaviors before the decision to buy.
When you can begin to predict what your customers want, when they want it, and how they will buy it, you’ve created your crystal ball. One might think that every business is doing this. Surprisingly, they’re not. The critical question is whether your organization will.