We’ve recently had the pleasure of working with Adam Herrman, with Focus USA, and the experience got us thinking about the role that customer data plays in digital marketing. All too often, we see digital marketing agencies skipping the very crucial step of conducting customer research, and jumping headlong into website optimization, keyword research, and even writing content, without having a clear idea of who they’re marketing to.
In the past, we have written about how good digital marketing agencies base their efforts on personas, which can be thought of as characters who share the demographics and traits of your customer base. Today, we’ll be getting a little more specific about the kinds of customer data that we look for and how databases, like those developed by Focus USA, can be put to use.
Who Is Focus USA?
Focus USA offers extensive consumer and business databases that marketers can utilize for customer acquisition, branding, and reactivation campaigns. As well as keeping extensive databases of customer information, they also put that data to work. They generate predictive analytics about customer trends to help businesses better narrow down their ideal customer base, and they then prospect their databases to search for similar individuals who might eventually convert to customers themselves.
To quote Herrman, “Our philosophy is simple: It all starts with the data.”
What Does Customer Data Include?
Broadly, anything that gives you an insight into the mind, habits, or preferences of your potential customers is customer data. That’s an extremely broad definition, but here’s the thing: no one data category will be useful for every digital marketing effort, and no single data point is meaningful without context. The broader the range and type of customer data, the more powerful it will be.
Generally, customer data, as applied for digital marketing and as inventoried by the databases at Focus USA, breaks down into certain sub categories. These include demographic profile, psychographic profile, lifestyle, trigger events (imagine targeting ads after a customer has had a particular experience), transactional history, and general shopping habits.
Let’s break those down:
Demographic Data includes a person’s social factors, income, employment, gender, and others. It describes a person’s means and defining traits.
Psychographc Data would detail who a person is, the opinions that person holds, a person’s education and reading comprehension, and so on.
Lifestyle quantifies how a potential customer chooses to live. One person might prefer to live a simple, minimalist life (and so would respond well to marketing which focused on practicality or versatility of a product) while another might live lavishly (and might respond better to marketing describing elite, luxury, or socially impressive products than to simple, practical ones).
Trigger Events are experiences that would make a person more likely to respond to marketing missives or to convert. For instance, a person whose cell phone location data shows that they spent hours at the boat show might be flagged for an offer on a boat rental.
Transaction History and Shopping Habits are two sides of the same coin, in that they both explore a person’s previous conversions, but one is specific while the other is general. Transaction History refers to a record of specific purchases, so direct email follow-ups make for strong remarketing. Shopping Habits are more general. Knowing that a person often buys more ornate, decorative things would inform the kinds of incentives you might offer. It doesn’t depend on any single purchase for its targeting.
How Can I Use Customer Data for Digital Marketing?
Before we can answer the specific cases, let’s make one thing clear: the more data — and more accurate your data — the better your digital marketing efforts will be.
Let’s explore a few practical examples to watch that data in action.
Your business sells nontraditional fitness equipment. You’re rolling out a new product line, selling forged steel gadas, a type of weighted mace from South Asia which has been used for thousands of years and which is recently becoming popular in certain circles in the West. These are highly durable and versatile, but they are more than trivially expensive and there is very little awareness about how they’re used and what to expect from training with them.
From your research, you’ve determined that these will be especially popular with men between 25 and 35, and with women who have experience with other forms of Eastern training, like yoga. You can look back through your records, then, and send an email to those customers who fit the profile. By looking at transaction history, you might find women who have purchased yoga equipment or specific clothing. You can run ads on Facebook groups with readership demographics that align with your ideal customer. You might post videos on YouTube, showing types of gada workouts. If someone watches those videos, that trigger event might flag an account for an email or some other outreach.
You will have used customer data, of every type, to inform, advertise, inspire, and convert.
Customer data is the foundation upon which you build every part of your digital marketing.
Colibri Digital Marketing
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