How To Use Data To Build Relationships With Customers

Data is the key to building and developing customer relationships, both online and offline. But, expectations around privacy and trust are high these days and marketers must be both responsible and resourceful with their use of our data.

Here are a few top tips from TMA on how data can enhance marketing activity:

1) Customers have high expectations about how their data is used.

There is a particular climate that surrounds data at the moment. As consumers, we demand that those who have access to our data, do so with our permission, and handle it in a safe and responsible manner.

In 2015, the Direct Marketing Association undertook research on customer attitudes to privacy and found that 40% of consumers rated trust as the most important actor when sharing information.

2) Use data to make communications individual, relevant and useful.

And when it comes to how marketers use data to communicate with us, then that same climate demands that, although we value our privacy, we also want to be treated as individuals and so, offers from marketers must also be relevant and useful. If you use data effectively, then this is achievable.

3) Data can help you communicate with your customers in a personal and individual way. Audiences respond well to this.

Data will help you know who your audience is. And, when used correctly, your communications will be more personal and relevant. (Achieve this and you’ll be better placed to build brand trust. If you fall short, consumer attention spans and patience with your messaging will plummet).

Don’t forget simple steps can help you win at this. For instance, include an individual’s name on an email. Recent research by experts VentureBeat showed that including a prospect’s name on an email pushed the email open rate up to just over 29per cent.

In the same way, personalised web content can drive page views and conversation rates through the roof.

4) Go even further, and use technology to understand who your customer is.

Today’s technology – from social media to smartphones – means that you can better understand the demographics of your customers and prospects. With some work and investment you can use what’s called as Geo-targeting to understand their location, interests, behaviours etc. and tailor communications to suit.

5) Capitalise on moment marketing.

Data can help you make the most of real time opportunities to engage with your customers – like their birthday, personal anniversary, or anniversary since they bought an item from you. You can base marketing messages around these personal dates.

You can also use data to go a step further and understand what your customers are likely to be doing real time. For instance, are they likely to be planning a holiday come 01 January? Or attending a major national sports game? You can get creative by posting material relevant to these activities (with your brand name all over it) on social media. To grab attention this way, then you really need to be reactive. The legendary example of this is Oreo’s ‘dunk in the dark’ tweet during the Super Bowl blackout.

6) Data makes digital marketing work.

Simple. Marketing data will really make your digital marketing and digital advertising perform better.

Do you press the button on digital advertising or do you use data to understand who is most likely to be interested in your products? For instance, if you are a florist, will you advertise generically, or will you use data to target your digital advertising at those people who are likely to be most receptive – for example, people who have just attended a wedding fair? If you sell running shoes, will you advertise generically or will you use data to target your material at those who have recently completed a 10k run? Makes sense, doesn’t it?

7) Investing in data is often more advantageous than investing in advertising alone.

Last year, the CEO of Starbucks told analysts that Starbucks’ decision to invest in digital technology, including moves to build data on their customer base, instead of investing in advertising alone was THE main factor behind their increase in revenue.

When other competitors had gone down the advertising route, Starbucks invested in programmes like the My Starbucks reward programme and cross channel marketing technology capabilities on social media. This made Starbucks a leader in personal interaction marketing online and in-store. They understood both the importance of data and how to use it when they had it. That then turned into brand loyalty and increased revenue.

So, effective use of data can really help you reach your customers and build an stronger relationship with them. At TMA this is something we think about every day for our existing clients. If you’d like to find out more about how we’ve achieved results for them, and how we might do the same for you, then please do contact us today.

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Chris and his team will send you a weekly email offering high-value insight and advice about a variety of marketing and business development topics related to the tourism industry. We address specific destinations, tours and activities, and the hotel industry. We also provide important travel industry news and updates.

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