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Andy Wood's Blog

Andy, founder of GI Insight, has written a number of papers and articles that have been published in the marketing press and research publications. He has also lectured at several seminars on loyalty & analysis including the CIM diploma, IDM Diploma, DMA seminars and the Institute of Directors.

Digital businesses that think the rules of data marketing don’t apply to them are missing the point

All too often we come across businesses that say capturing and using consumer data in the way other firms have traditionally used it – i.e. to analyse, gain insight, segment and deal with customers and prospects more effectively – simply doesn’t apply to them. “We’re a different business, the rules are different for us,” they say. Well, yes but, in reality, no.

We often hear this refrain from companies that are pure ecommerce or mainly digital operations, which typically say their business exists ‘in the moment’. As they see it, it’s not about long-term data that reveals spending patterns but about reacting to live website interactions. They see what happened before, even recently, as largely irrelevant to their business model.

Sure, having real-time data can be a big plus – and it does make your business different – but that doesn’t mean having even more information isn’t just as valuable. Actually, what happened over the past year can be even more telling than what is being revealed ‘in the moment’ – and combining real-time information with data on purchasing habits, recent transactions, spending levels, needs and preferences can be even more powerful.

If your response to a customer ‘in the moment’ is part of a bigger picture relationship that transcends the current website visit, then you’re better off. Understanding immediate interests and priorities in light of previous actions can enable a business to react ‘in the moment’ with a perfectly timed, tailored and personalised intervention – say, an email offer for a product a website visitor was browsing (among others) and the data shows would complement a previous purchase.

Just knowing that a customer is loyal, valuable to your business, and well worth targeting while he or she is on the website can be critical to an assessment of whether to trigger a response to live website activity – and to determining what response to make.

The flipside of the coin is the company that has a significant chunk of its business online but does not really see real-time data as important to its marketing and relationship-building efforts. Like the digitally-driven business, it can benefit from more complete customer intelligence and leverage information on activities of customers online to drive sales and incremental profit.

The fact is: knowing the customer is a big advantage, whether that means having the long view of who they are and how they behave or being able to identify them when they are online and in purchasing mode – or, preferably, both. The more information you have on an online customer, the better chance you stand of winning that sale than a competitor – and without doubt consumers browsing online are inevitably looking at competitors.

The idea of connecting all available data together is nothing earth shattering, but damn difficult to do – even more so consistently. It’s something that we have come to grips with here at GI Insight. If you want to learn more about how we apply both offline and online data to give you a true 360° view and about our approach to data marketing in general, look around at the rest of our website and have a look at a video interview I recently did for The Telegraph. Then if you want to learn more about how we can help you, get in touch for a chat.

Andy Wood - 26th October 2015

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