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When The Data You Have Is All the Data You Need

Posted by Ross Kramer on June 21st, 2012 at 8:27 am

It comes as no surprise that many marketers are overwhelmed by the amount of data available at their disposal. In fact, a global CMO study conducted by IBM revealed that ‘data explosion’ tops the list of headaches that CMOs are facing. Additionally, “more than 70 percent of CMOs who think it’s important say they aren’t fully prepared to deal with its impact,” according to the same study. It’s clear that there is analysis paralysis due to the amount of data that CMOs are faced with; however, for my own business and for those of my eCommerce clients I have found that a lot of insights can be drawn from data that is typically already at our fingertips.  You don’t always need expensive analytics software or a specialized analytics expert to draw insights from your data.

One of the first questions I ask each of my prospective clients is how many of their customers purchase more than once? Nine out of ten times they have no idea.  Working with our clients to review their customer data, we found that a mere 15 percent of their online customers purchased more than once.  Isn’t that information you would want to know about, and act upon?

As an online retailer, you have access to metrics and analytics that can be very powerful when used in the context of email marketing; something that every retailer uses, but typically not to its fullest potential. You have years of customer order history, crucial data that can help you segment your customers and which may be used to deliver more targeted marketing campaigns.  These campaigns happen to deliver 30 percent higher conversions than batch emails according to a recent Forrester report. That’s a significant increase to your bottom line.

You can also easily access click-stream data, behavioral data that allows you to view what consumers are doing on your site and identify their interests. When coupled with order history, click-stream data enables you to understand your customers’ interests and intent to purchase, which enables you to send behaviorally targeted email campaigns that drive significantly more conversions, revenue and customer value. In some cases when this data was employed I’ve seen conversion rates upward of 50 percent and revenue increases of more than 30 percent—both of which increase customer value.

Now that I’ve outlined some of the data examples that would provide value to eCommerce clients, let me illustrate how this can be implemented to increase customer value by using your customers’ order history and click-stream data information. Customer A has purchased 4 times; however, her last purchase was more than 160 days ago.  Customer B is new and just purchased for the first time last week. Customer C purchased once but it’s been 60 days since that purchase.  Each of these customers could become one of your best customers, or could be lost. So how do you treat them?

It’s clear that the messaging should be different to each of these customers. A has lapsed, but was once very active. This customer may need an incentive to buy again and the messaging should promote items similar to what they’ve purchased in the past. Customer B, on the other hand, is new to your world and should be welcomed. Use a welcome series or post purchase campaign to request a product review, recommend complimentary products or even include an offer to prompt that ever so important second purchase. And finally, Customer C deserves a different kind of message. The purchase is recent enough that she probably doesn’t require any incentive, but maybe a product recommendation will prompt another sale.

We all know that data can be daunting if you’re not sure how to use it to your advantage to deliver value; however, there are accessible and effective ways for you to employ your data to deliver real ROI and ultimately contribute to your bottom line.

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