11 Ways to Capture Customer Data for Your Data Driven Marketing Campaign - dummies

11 Ways to Capture Customer Data for Your Data Driven Marketing Campaign

By David Semmelroth

There are some ways you can increase the amount of customer data in your data driven marketing database. When evaluating which of these techniques you might want to employ, stay focused on how you plan to use the data.

Loyalty cards

Loyalty programs offer customers discounts in exchange for personal information. You fill out a form with the basic name and address information necessary to create a record in the company’s marketing database. You’re then given a plastic card that you use when you make a purchase. The card applies discounts or points toward a future discount to your “account” and ties the details of your transaction to your customer record.

Rewards cards

Rewards cards operate in a similar way to loyalty cards. In fact, many people use the two terms interchangeably. But there’s a slight difference. The difference lies in the nature of the financial incentive. Whereas loyalty cards offer discounts on your company’s products, rewards cards often offer discounts on another company’s products.

If you develop a rewards program, you share the cost of that program with a partner company. That makes it an attractive option, particularly for low-margin businesses.

Track transactions with offer codes

You’ll face another challenge related to associating purchases with particular marketing campaigns. Even if you can track transactions back to individual customers, it may not be clear whether a transaction is related to a specific marketing campaign.

One way around this is to include an offer code in your marketing communication. There are two ways of doing this:

  • Use a generic offer code that’s the same for everyone.

  • Issue serialized codes that are unique to individual customers.

Identify potential customers with newsletters

One way to generate lists of potential customers is to offer a newsletter. This approach has two advantages. First, in order to receive the newsletter, customers have to identify themselves. These days, the vast majority of newsletters are delivered electronically, which requires an e-mail address.

Also, by requesting a newsletter, the customer is signaling that they have some interest in your products. This means that when you design marketing communications to them, you know they already have an interest in what you have to offer.

Offer physical information packets

You can expand on the newsletter approach by offering potential customers more actual physical collateral with information about your products. Videos, CDs, planning guides, or even product samples can be shared with your customers.

The advantage of sending a physical packet of some kind to the customer is that it requires them to give you their name and address. This is the core information that you need to create a robust customer record.

Encourage web registrations

You can learn a great deal about customer browsing behavior without requiring consumers to be registered or logged in on your site. But if you want to use this information to communicate with them directly, you need to have an e-mail address.

Once a customer is registered, you have a way of communicating with them. You’ll have many opportunities to collect more data about that customer as the customer browses your website in the future.

Build a more robust online customer profile

If a customer is registered, you can actually tie future browsing behavior to that customer record, even if the customer isn’t logged in. Cookies are small files that you can place on a user’s computer that allow you to tie browsing sessions together. You can then recognize the user every time they come back to your site, logged in or not.

Once the customer is registered, you have access to what pages they’re looking at. You know what products they’re searching for. You can learn a lot from studying this behavior.

The call center

Making customer profile information available to your call centers can help your sales and service agents immensely. It can also cut down on the length of phone calls, which in turn brings down the cost of running the call center.

Conversely, it’s very helpful to your database marketing efforts to have access to the information that call center reps collect from customers. Those reps can be trained to ask for key pieces of information about customers. If a customer asks a call center rep about a specific product, for example, that could trigger an offer from you.

The point of sale

Like call center reps, the frontline salespeople in your stores can also benefit from having customer data available. And you can benefit from the data that they might capture.

The grocery store loyalty swipe card connects your past purchase data to the transaction. This allows the point-of-sale system to spit out coupons that are relevant to your buying patterns. This cross-selling technique is quite effective.

Purchase customer lists

You can buy lists of names and addresses of potential customers or e-mail addresses from a wide variety of companies. Depending on the list provider, the level of targeting varies. The simplest (and cheapest) lists are simply geographically concentrated. You’re selecting addresses within a given set of zip codes, for example.

But list providers can be a great deal more sophisticated. Age, income, marital status, presence of children, and other demographic profile information can be used to select lists that meet very specific profile requirements.

Purchase demographic data

You can also buy demographic information on your customer base. Several companies compile consumer data from a wide variety of sources.

Because of privacy concerns, some of the data that these companies have cannot be provided to you at the individual customer level. They get around this issue in one of two ways. They either aggregate the data or they provide you with a targeted list of prospects.

What they provide to you is a classification of your customers according to which segment they belong to. By comparing these segments to your purchase data, you can identify hot segments from a targeting perspective.