Bernard Liautaud, CEO of Business Objects, has stated, “In this new ruthless environment, it has become essential for companies to find new ways to attract new customers, to maximize the value of each existing customer, and to retain the most profitable ones.” In order to maintain market share and acquire new customers, marketers are now in a race to develop customer-centric marketing strategies. We all have customer databases with vast amounts of information but one of the major missing pieces is web data and the tremendous insights we can develop from it. We have transaction history, customer life cycle information, preferences, and campaign responses, but web data and web trends are the key components that will help us know and understand our current and potential customers in real time. The customer intelligence we can garner from our company’s web site is going to be the key driver in developing the most effective customer-centric strategy, and web analytics is going to revolutionize customer intelligence.
Combining online and offline customer data, in addition to eliminating the “barriers” separating customer intelligence, marketing, sales, and product development teams, is essential to being able to develop the optimal customer-centric marketing strategy. Offline data enables you to develop customer profiles, while online data completes that profile. Even if you do not have IP addresses, the trends and behavioral information you see from web analysis provide essential information to developing complete profiles. This hybrid customer profile will enable you to better target your customers, and provide the information necessary to optimize your strategies. Forrester Research has reported that 53% of U.S. online consumers researched products online but bought offline. This powerful statistic supports why web analytics is essential to developing the complete customer behavior profile.
Today, we have the tools to combine online and offline data to develop comprehensive customer profiles, but one major obstacle exists: we still do not share information between different organizations in the company. Information about the customer is usually owned by different organizations. Forrester states, “The complexity of synching customer data grows exponentially when offline and online marketing are considered different business units or when channel relationships are spliced apart between Web, bricks and mortar, media, and CRM teams.” In addition, most companies do not have someone that recognizes the importance of combining multichannel marketing efforts. By opening communication channels within the various departments that manage different aspects of the customer relationship, you are one step closer to developing a complete customer profile and improving your customer intelligence. And, unlike buying more servers to store more customer data or purchasing additional software or tools to measure performance, sharing customer information internally doesn’t cost anything—IT’S FREE!
The future of customer intelligence is going to be built on web analytics and how we use and share information. To optimize your multichannel strategies and develop the most comprehensive view of your customer, let web analytics drive your customer intelligence:
Streamline data collection and ensure both on and offline customer data is collected.
- Define what data needs to be collected. We all know specific online data may be difficult to collect. Be creative in how you use and collect it. Even if you cannot get specific IP addresses or contact information, you will still have plenty of web data to create customer segments and understand how customers behave.
- Define who is responsible for collecting specific data (both online and offline). To have the most comprehensive customer profile, it is important that all teams know what data your company has, what data you can potentially obtain, and why this is so important in being able to develop a successful, customer-centric strategy.
- Test strategies online. The incremental cost to test different messaging, promotions, and other marketing strategies online is minimal. Your current web traffic will not be interrupted and you will have the unique opportunity to learn how successful your strategies are in real-time.
- Develop a plan to incorporate insights gained from online and offline data analysis and testing into a campaign or marketing strategy. Use what you have learned about how your customers behave. This will enable you to develop successful campaigns by having a better understanding of how your customer behaves and a complete view of who your customer is.
If you are actively working to integrate your online and offline data, you just might have the right tools to stay in the game. Those who choose to ignore the importance of the shift in how marketers use data to find the right customers, at the right time, in the right place, will realize less of a return on their efforts and “miss the boat”. As technologies evolve to make this possible, the environment does, in fact, become more ruthless. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. If you are not reaching your customers effectively and efficiently, someone else will.
How Web Analytics Will Emerge as the Cornerstone of Customer Intelligence. (Forrester Research)
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About the Author:
Lindsay Morgan is a Marketing Analyst with SIGMA Marketing Group.
Rx For Your Web Analytics.