Sound Data Management Should Be Part of a Sales and Marketing Plan
B2B data driven marketing is an integral part of a sales and marketing plan that can drive customer loyalty, and your organization’s data management, and data hygiene, is the foundation. Businesses work hard to gain customers’ trust and respect, however maintaining that trust and respect over the long term can be a real challenge for B2B and B2C organizations.
When one considers the cost of acquiring a new customer – for one wireless phone carrier it was more than $1,260 in 2018, more than the average customer’s annual phone bill – the importance of customer retention and building long-term customer lifetime value certainly seems paramount. Customer retention requires the right mix of products, services, and prices, but it also hinges on engaging customers with relevance, making them feel appreciated, and an ongoing commitment to earn their trust and respect.
The continued evolution of the martech tools stack, the data associated with it, and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) has allowed companies to build increasingly robust customer data, which could be facilitating personalized, omnichannel customer-facing marketing communications. Some businesses have embraced this opportunity.
For example, one major food retailer markets a favorite lunch to customers (in this case, soup, which the customer has previously purchased) in cold weather at lunchtime through 1:1 mobile communication. In another example, a quick-change oil retailer raced ahead of their competition when they combined vehicle, customer, and business data to design personalized direct-mail reminders at scale. And a leading industrial supply company relies on quality data as the backbone of its omnichannel purchasing platform – which includes mobile, web-based, and shop-floor kiosks, and dedicated “buying guides” designed to speed up the purchasing process.
But personalization can backfire, too. Some customers find personalization “a little bit creepy.” And there have been plenty of instances where bad data led to a backlash. Just ask Shutterfly who in 2014 sent thousands of personalized emails congratulating new moms. Unfortunately, the woman hadn’t given birth.
Avoid Embarrassment and Do It Right
So how do you help avoid these missteps and avoid becoming a #hashtag? For starters, if you’re going to send one-to-one personalized marketing and communications at scale you’d better be sure your data is right.
An Incremental Quality-Driven Approach to Personalization
- Practice good data hygiene. Make sure you have rules in place when you bring data in, and that you have standards in place for keeping the data fresh and up to date.
- Work with a trusted partner. Find a data partner who can supplement your own data with high-quality reference data to paint a more complete picture. For business decisioning data, Dun & Bradstreet offers thousands of data attributes that can drive even more effective personalization.
- Start slow. Introduce personalization to your customers and prospects gradually and understand how they react to it before going deeper. Different audience segments will respond differently. Remember – keep the messages relevant and always ask: Is this the right message to the right customer at the right time?
- Ask your customers. Many businesses try to jump right into machine learning and artificial intelligence for insights. While these are great tools, sometimes just asking the customer what they’re interested in is the best approach to drive personalization.
- Don’t be creepy. Just because you know, or think you know something doesn’t mean it’s smart to put it in your marketing. Customers and prospects, like many of us, still value privacy.
Of course, this list is only a starting point to help you avoid doing a bad job at personalization. Doing a good job at personalization really boils down to having good data points, integrating them well with each other, developing smart insights, and activating the right messages to the right customers. This requires an overarching data management strategy at the outset, and the right tools in the martech stack to deliver at scale.
Customer Data Platforms (CDP) such as D&B Lattice facilitate these steps, connecting and integrating data across several platforms, segmenting the data, and then activating across all channels. A CDP can enable personalized messaging that customers expect while avoiding the negative connotation that poor personalization can bring.
Quality Data – the Foundation of Customer Relationship
Regardless of the approach you take to implement, refine, or expand your personalization efforts, the quality of the data you use to drive those efforts remains paramount. Your targets – whether they’re customers you’re looking to cross-sell or up-sell to, or new prospects you’re introducing yourself to for the first time – will respond favorably if they feel like you truly know who they are and what they need. Miss that opportunity at your own peril.