How to Use Data Driven Marketing to Understand Your Customer’s Mindset - dummies

How to Use Data Driven Marketing to Understand Your Customer’s Mindset

By David Semmelroth

It’s important to understand your customer’s buying mindset and data driven marketing can help with that. Some businesses rely heavily on impulse buyers. The businesses who pay to have their products placed in the grocery store checkout lane, such as chewing gum and candy bars, fit this mold.

Other products tend to require a good deal more thought on the part of the customer. Very few people take out a mortgage impulsively. A mortgage is a complicated and expensive product. Different banks offer different rates and fees, and fixed and variable rate products are available. Shopping for a mortgage is frequently an arduous process for the consumer.

You need to understand how your customers go about deciding to buy your products. Knowing where they are in their planning or research process allows you to help them along with relevant information. You also need to understand how far ahead of their purchase your customers begin investigating and planning. This allows you to time communications and offers effectively.

How to use data driven marketing in the decision-making process

Marketers tend to divide the process of making a purchase into four distinct phases:

  1. Awareness: The consumer recognizes that they need or want something.

  2. Research: The consumer investigates what’s out there and compares different products or services that might meet their need.

  3. Purchase: The customer makes the purchase.

  4. Post-purchase: Because customer retention is so important, marketers also focus on a follow-up phase.

When it comes to getting hand-raisers or shoppers to complete a purchase, it’s helpful to focus on two distinct customer decisions. First, the customer is deciding whether to buy something. Do I really need a new car?

Once the customer is past that decision, they move on to deciding whether they should buy the product from you. The way in which you talk to your shoppers changes, depending on which of these decisions they’re trying to make.

You are probably like many people and you are put off by high-pressure sales pitches. One reason for this is that many high-pressure pitches gloss over the difference between the two different decisions just mentioned. Once you decide to buy a new vehicle, for example, you want some time to do your homework. You want to get comfortable that you’re making the correct decision.

How to use data driven marketing to understand purchase decision timelines

If someone goes to your website and starts shopping for shoes, they’re probably going to make a purchase pretty quickly. You don’t have a very wide window of opportunity to get them to buy from you. You need to get your offer in front of them quickly.

Your strategy in this case would be to serve up content or offers on your website related to what the customer is doing. For example, you may notice that a customer browses your site and then jumps to a different site.

If the customer comes back to your site a few minutes later, it’s a good indication that they’re interested in your product. At this point, you might decide to sweeten the pot by serving up a discount or some other offer during their session.

Other products have a more involved or time-consuming purchase cycle. Almost no one takes out a mortgage without shopping around. People tend to be very focused on rates. And rates change daily.

In the case of mortgages that are being used to refinance as opposed to purchase a house, the purchase decision is all about the rate. A customer may shop around for mortgage rates and then wait weeks or even months until rates go down enough to justify the cost of refinancing.

This means a consumer who’s shopping your website for rates may not be ready to refinance at that time. This situation makes re-contacting the shopper at a later time a viable option. One approach you might take is to offer to send the shopper an e-mail alert when rates drop.

You could even allow the customer to tell you what rate they’re looking for. This approach guarantees that the timing of your communication will fit the customer’s needs.

Another aspect of purchase decisions is related specifically to planning. You typically don’t reserve a hotel room at a vacation resort the day before you leave. Vacations are planned months in advance. Cruise lines and resort hotels know far in advance when they have potential occupancy problems.

This advance notice gives these businesses the opportunity to craft discounted offers to fill potential gaps in their reservation volume. Understanding the typical planning timeline of their customers also allows them to avoid discounting their product until they recognize that sales are soft.