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Is Customer Data Really That Important?


As customers demand increasingly personalized experiences, there’s nothing more disappointing than receiving bland, generic marketing messages. When a brand doesn’t remember them – especially one of their favorite brands – there's nothing more disappointing.

Let’s face it, brands have tons of data and, as marketers, you’re always looking for more. You need data to connect with customers. Even on the most basic level, you need to have at least an email address or phone number to talk to them. This is where online marketing trumps offline every time.  

Online marketers have all the tools they need to create memorable micro-moments for customers. With every interaction, you learn something new about your users. As you accumulate information, you need to be incorporating it into your marketing to create the kind of customer experience that drives sales and generates revenue.  

Why is customer data important? 

Customer data isn’t just important, it’s a core component of marketing. But it’s also becoming the most controversial.  

Privacy regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Californian Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) combined with Apple’s iOS 14.5+ software updates and Google’s proposed changes to cookie tracking have led to a new wave of consumer consciousness.  

These regulatory changes have increased customers’ awareness of the data brands hold on them. Mix in news stories about mass data breaches and people are rightly becoming more protective of their personal data.  

No longer are they happy to hand over their data blindly. They want to know what data organizations are collecting, why they want it, and how they’re using it.  

In addition to all this, they now know the value of their data. They know what brands can do, they know that brands can deliver personalized, tailored content and so expect it in exchange. Brands that collect data and don’t put it to clear and obvious use risk losing the trust of those they’re trying to convert.  

So, to create those all-important revenue-generating campaigns, you need to be demonstrating a commitment to privacy regulations and an understanding that you only collect customer data you need.  

Data never forgets 

Every interaction generates more data. Let’s look at an interaction with dotdigital as an example:  

  1. Following a welcome email, the subscriber updates their preferences to subscribe to receive blog updates and free resources in Spanish.  
  2. The customer visits then website’s learning resources page and views resources about marketing automation.  
  3. After downloading two pieces of content, they visit a feature page on CRM integrations. 
  4. Two days later, this same user visits a blog post on lead scoring. 
  5. A day after that, the subscriber view two case studies of dotdigital clients in the travel and tourism sector 

What can we learn about this user?  

  1. The user is looking to develop new skills using our free resources. 
  2. They’re interested in learning about marketing automation and lead scoring. 
  3. The may be Spanish or are based in a Spanish speaking country. 
  4. They use a CRM. 
  5. They may work for a brand in the travel and tourism industry. 

Armed with this information we can begin taking this subscriber on a personalized journey based on their interests. By delivering a tailored experience we can drive them towards more valuable content which will ultimately help drive them down the sales pipeline faster.  

Because we have a wealth of information on the user, we can even personalize their CTAs. The end goal would see them booking a call with a member of our sales team, so we can use our data to create calls to action like Talk to a CRM specialist or Book a call with our automation experts.  

Sounds perfect, right? But what happens when a little rooting around in the CRM reveals this user already exists?  

It turns out that we already have information on this subscriber and they’re back after a couple of years of inactivity. Now we have to determine what information is useful.  

Data never forgets. It’s down to businesses and organizations to keep their data up-to-date.  

How to keep your customer data up-to-date 

Personalization increases relevancy which drives customer actions.  

To successfully personalize content and marketing messages you need to ensure your customer data is up-to-date. Here are just a few of our top tips to help keep your data on-point:  

1. Set and forget 

There may come a time when a customer falls into inactivity and nothing you do will bring them back into the fold. You need to decide when’s the point to forget this data and start fresh.  

As in the example above, the information you have may no longer be relevant to the subscriber. Just because they’ve expressed an interest in something two years ago, there’s no use in assuming they’re still interested. You’re better off collecting new information to reflect where they’re at in their journey now, not where they once were.  

2. Check-in regularly 

Depending on your product or services, a subscriber’s interests may change. You must keep on top of these developments. For example, a user may have subscribed to a charity’s communications and expressed an interest in participating in a fun run.  

But, after they’ve completed it, they may be on the lookout for more ways to help fundraise. A regular check-in will help you discover what the next stage of their journey will look like thanks to zero-party data

3. Fill in the blanks 

What data are you missing that could help your marketing campaigns?  

Remember, you should only be collecting data that you’re going to use. Think date of birth for birthday automations or location of their favorite of your shop, venue, or restaurant. Explicitly stating why you’re collecting the data will increase the number of responses you get. On the other hand, collecting their favorite shoe brands when you’re a food box subscription service is irrelevant and can breed mistrust amongst your audience. 

Special thanks to our friends at dotdigital for their insights on this topic.
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