Optimize your data strategy for customer loyalty | Marketing Dive

If you’re focusing on retention marketing next year, you’re not alone. According to Forrester Research, B2C brands will increase their spending on loyalty and retention marketing by 15% in 2021. 

To put yourself in the best position to boost customer lifetime value, it’s important to examine the data foundation supporting all of your marketing efforts. Your data strategy—a well-documented process by which your company organizes, governs, analyzes, and activates data—must be continually fine-tuned to successfully engage customers while respecting their preferences and privacy. 

Here are three ways to bolster your data strategy and keep customers happy:

Perform a data audit

If you’re spending more on loyalty campaigns, it behooves you to take a closer look at the data you’re using to power your strategy: email, loyalty card purchases, in-app behavior, and ecommerce come to mind. 

Recency is particularly important now with consumer spending habits changing on a dime. The customers you’ve engaged for years are not the same people now that they were earlier this year or even a few weeks ago. Connect with your data and analytics teams to ensure you have equal access to the same continuously refreshed data sets. As you audit your data, check to see if your customer segmentation still makes sense, especially if your company has expanded into new geographies, vendors, or product areas.

Break down internal data silos

Now that you know what you have, you’re probably thinking about what you’re missing: Do I have access to service logs and customer care calls? Do I know not only what people have purchased, but also how they prefer to pay? All of these data sets may belong to other teams at your organization and not yet be connected with your marketing database.

Data may remain in silos because internal teams and partners have different permissions for data use. This is a common scenario we’ve come across: an analytics team has access to sensitive financial data that the marketing team does not. To create this necessary separation, the teams would have their own data lakes and tooling. While this is a common industry best practice, forward thinking companies are evaluating or already investing in ways to bring internal data together in an environment that protects consumer privacy and preserves data fidelity. 

One way to accomplish this is through tailored privacy controls and permissioning built into your data infrastructure. This enables teams to more easily—yet securely—share information and unlock new insights. You may discover, for example, that a segment of your audience recently reviewed their purchases after a positive interaction with your customer service team, so you may want to send them a special offer to thank them not only for their loyalty, but also for helping others make buying decisions. 

Kickstart data partnership conversations

If you’ve connected your internal data through infrastructure that enables teams to safely and securely collaborate, you’re in a great position to kickstart external data partnership conversations. 

Once thought of as a nice to have, data partnerships have become a more common way to achieve a 360-degree view of consumers. If you’re a QSR, you may want to partner with third-party delivery companies to understand current dining trends and uncover new ways to reach your customer base. If you’re a retailer, you may want to provide more granular shopper data and insights to your suppliers and collaborate on driving repeat purchases.

The possibilities are endless for the ways in which you can work with others to further your understanding of your customers and better serve them. 

Sprucing up your data strategy goes far beyond loyalty

With every dollar spent needing to translate into a measurable business result, there’s never been a more appropriate time to focus on the data underpinning all of your marketing campaigns. The brands that do will find themselves in a prime position to determine when they can ramp up acquisition again, knowing that their retention programs are optimized for turning new customers into long-time fans.

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