During major life events such as graduation, moving or marriage, people make big purchasing decisions. As consumers enter a new phase of their life, they are likely to shift their brand loyalties – making this audience an excellent target for marketers interested in acquiring new customers or retaining existing ones.
For many of these events, the “window” of time for reaching the consumer is tiny. Marketers must act quickly to market effectively to this lucrative audience with weakened (or, at the very least, vulnerable) brand loyalties.
That’s where big data and analytics come into play.
All marketers have heard the hype about big data – they know that consumers are leaving their behavioral fingerprints and footprints all over the Internet and on thousands of point-of-sale systems across the country – but many struggle with tying this data to actionable marketing campaigns.
The missing ingredient in their big data plan is analytics. With better insight into the data, marketers can tap into this flow of information to capitalize on major life events.
Here are four things marketers should consider:
WHO: While most life events are universally experienced, only a small percentage of all consumers are in the middle of one of them at any given time. For example, while the average American consumer will move five times over a lifetime, only about 4 percent of U.S. homes are on the market at any given time. Look for definitive indicators of the start of the event in the public domain (e.g., online real-estate listings).
HOW MUCH: When consumers are going through a life event, they must purchase new products or sign up for new services, which adds up to spending a lot of money to prepare for the event. For instance, a consumer who is moving spends $6,000 to $7,000 on various items such as a moving truck, new furniture and home repair products. Look to survey research or your own customer database to estimate the value of the event to your brand and use this insight to determine how much to spend on marketing campaigns.
WHEN: Without data and analytics, marketers have no knowledge about whether customers will buy their products or services, let alone when. Marketers can easily miss a key opportunity to retain or acquire customers during a life-changing event. Use point-of-sale information to look for when a customer will make a decision – such as buying paint for a home repair project three months after the home went up for sale – and reach them with the right message at the right time.
HOW: Traditional direct marketing approaches like direct mail and email can be very effective in life event marketing. These approaches are often criticized as being unable to “break through the clutter” of a consumer’s daily life. When they reference a life event, however, they become immediately relevant and are much more likely to be noticed. Look for opportunities to deliver relevant messages and offers via traditional direct marketing methods – you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
Although marketers know data will help drive successful marketing strategies, it can be difficult to apply it. But to compete in the fast-paced, real-time world today, marketers must adapt their strategies and break through the clutter.
Consumers are inundated with marketing through email and social channels, so sending targeted, timely and helpful messages and offers will help companies stand out. Knowing where to look and what to look for in the sea of big data that is out there will make your marketing activities much more profitable.
Scott Bailey is executive vice president, strategy and analytics of Target Data Corp., a company that specializes in direct mail for the moving industry. He is also a widely published expert in the areas of marketing strategy, targeting and segmentation.