How to Target Customers Using Data

Data is an extremely critical part of your marketing arsenal – and it may be the most important tool you have for targeting customers. Data tells you everything you need to know about a customer: where they live, how much they spend, what products they normally buy, what industry they work in, and so on. If you use it correctly, you can target your marketing campaigns to reach only the people who are most likely to buy from you.

Sending catalogs

If you are sending out catalogs as part of a B2C marketing campaign, an easy way to make sure the right people get them is by using data about the geographical locations of existing customers. Where do they live? Which neighborhoods or zip codes generate the highest response rates?

Make sure you consider this carefully, as your ideal customers are likely to live close together. If you mail print catalogs to an area where most residents would not be able to afford your products, you’ve wasted your efforts. Many catalogers use zip models to help them select top prospects from a large universe. Zip models are based on using existing customer data to rank top zip codes. These zip codes are then used to eliminate prospects from the lowest performing zips and select the top zips that are most likely to respond.

Targeting promotional emails

Customers who sign up for email can often be persuaded to provide personal data (such as date of birth, gender, interests, or other details) in exchange for a discount offer. Think about useful details that might be helpful for your business when you design your email sign-up page.

You can use the data to send subscribers promotional emails on their birthday – either offering a discount code or simply wishing them a good day. But that’s not all you can do for promotional emails. You can also use customer purchase histories to send curated collections in your emails. For example, six months after someone purchases a newborn product, you can send them an email about all your great products for children aged six months and up. A year after someone buys a wedding item, you can send them ideas for anniversary gifts. You can use data in many ways to ensure customers see the items they are most likely to buy.

Consider creating an email campaign reminding browsers about the items they were looking at. If your site has a lot of traffic, focus on the browsers who spent the most time on your site and looked at several pages. Engaged browsers are more likely to respond to these types of email campaigns.

Creating focused advertising

Online advertising can be very lucrative – but it can also be a huge waste of money. It all depends on whether you focus your ads or not. You can use data to hugely narrow down the kind of audience that will see your ads. On social media, you can choose locations, industries, interests, and the other brands or influencers they might follow. Don’t make it up – use data from real customers to build the right profile. You can also do the same with ads placed via search engines or on website sidebars, ensuring they are only placed on the right pages that your ideal customers might be viewing.

You can take a similar approach with inactive customers browsing your website by using retargeting campaigns (showing the viewed products) to follow them across the web and even into Facebook pages and other social media.

Another option is to create a print postcard trigger campaign. Mail custom postcards with images from the browsed merchandise categories to your inactive customers. Mailing postcards immediately, instead of waiting for the next catalog drop, helps increase conversion rates. If your volume is large enough, use a control group to confirm the incremental spend.

For Ecommerce and catalog brands with a large database of inactive customers, this can be an effective way to add an extra touch to marginal customers who are not in your regular catalog rotation.

Know your sales

When do you generate the most sales? When is your profit at its lowest?

How many orders do your customers place a year and what is your average order? Do you know what your customer repurchase rate is?

Analyze customer data from previous years and look at trends. Is your Black Friday sale really worth it? Do you find more sales at the start of the school year, or before Christmas, or during the summer?

Use information about customer spend metrics when you develop your annual customer contact strategy or circulation plan. Keep in mind that certain customer metrics might mean you’re better off acquiring NEW customers instead of trying to generate more sales from existing customers. It’s important to understand customer retention rates because this will help you allocate your marketing dollars cost-effectively and maximize ROI.

Data can really make a difference to the efficiency of your marketing campaigns. When you target customers by segmenting them based on data, catalog performance improves and this will propel your business to a new level.

All the information is in your hands already – you just need to analyze it and interpret the data!