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Jordie Van Rijn
7 November 2017
Reading time: 6 min

Find the golden nuggets and refine your email automation

The process of collecting and refining customer data is also known as profiling or enrichment – and not by chance. Customer experience truly becomes a richer experience through the use of data.

The more information about the public available to those doing the marketing, the more the communications become pertinent and relevant to the recipient, with a high added value for both the customer and the company. This is because using customer data means there is a greater chance of conversions and that the average value of each sale increases.

If more customer data has a positive impact on the results, this leads to a logical need to invest not only in expanding the number of contacts but also enriching the data available for these contacts.

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The importance of profiling

Before you begin collecting and compiling data upon data, it is important to have an in depth understanding of which of these data can positively influence your company’s performance. You can order and prioritize them based on the potential added value, the complexity and economic cost of the data collection process, in addition to the shelf-life of the data in the short and long term.

  • How high is the added value of these data?
  • How do these data add value?
  • How can I use them?
  • How much does the collection process cost and how complex is it?
  • Can I use them both short and long term?
  • What is the usability?

Ask for data in an intelligent way

Ikea, for example, begins  by asking questions when a user registers on the site. As is easy to imagine, these questions have a direct correlation with the products offered. Some, such as family income, can be perceived as sensitive, but fortunately it is compulsory to answer.

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The data collected to be used in the short term include:

  • Have you moved recently?
  • Are you getting married?
  • Are you thinking of renovating your kitchen?

The data collected to be used in the medium to long term include:

  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • Do you have children?

Where is the conversation?

Defining the best content to be conveyed is the greatest challenge of those who deal with marketing. It starts with making sure that you propose high quality content and offers that will allow the user to save money right away. As such, you need to know how to improve the efficiency of your emails – what I call the email Hit Ratio.

Focusing on the production of content is not enough, however. It is necessary to  know how to listen to the customer. This is a definite must for companies aiming for a single customer view: the goals are building a valuable relationship with each recipient, increasing customer lifecycle value and creating customized products and services.

Learn to listen to the customer

Imagine that you have to buy a birthday present for your better half. Obviously, you could ask them what they want – but often the problem is that they do not know what they want and prefer to be surprised (at least that’s how it works at my home).

Marketers can find themselves facing same impasse. It would be great to have a more complete customer profile, but you can’t ask them anything. Not all customers are willing to provide information, and they certainly don’t update their profiles each time they change their email address or product preferences.

However, a behavioral analysis is able to overcome this by providing all kinds of signals and clues that can be converted into data from inside the database. Consider the following signs and actions:

  • Visits to a website
  • Creation of an account
  • Downloading content
  • Purchases
  • Opening and clicking on email and newsletters
  • Requesting a demo
  • Using a mobile app
  • Contact with customer service
  • No sign of life for a prolonged period
  • Viewing the FAQ section and tutorials on the site

Luckily, a residence address is able to reveal a lot of information, such as level of income, age, climate and likely interest in the product being sold. Starting from what I describe as the pillars of segmentation, a home address has the predictive power to offer up demographic, psychographic and even behavioral information (such as the benefits sought in a product or the intensity of use).

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Key data for customer experience

A study carried out by Econsultancy indicates that a lot of the most important information comes from listening and not by asking. The retailers interviewed assigned the following priorities to the most important factors for getting to know a customer and the user experience context:

  1. Recency of purchase (40%)
  2. Current digital behavior (39%)
  3. Location and time (36%)

If you want to know how email marketing will evolve, you have to look back before looking forward. The key to email marketing has always been to reach the right people, but this concept is evolving. In fact, it is being reinvented thanks to the recognition that Person + Profile + Goal = Performance.

The quality of a public is largely determined by the completeness of the user data available to the company, since they contain key information for segmentation, such as the purchase intent.

Customisation: a case study

A good example comes from the case study of the American brand Heirlume (source), a jewelery company whose basic idea is to help inexperienced husbands to choose the right jewelery for their better halves without having to expose them to asking for too much information – and without missing their target. It is an approach based on proper profiling and segmentation.

Heirlume pays close attention to inventing alternative ways to make the choice easier, based on the colors of the clothes found in the wardrobe, for example.

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Heirlume’s emails also include product recommendations that are not based on data explicitly provided by the user, but which are guided by behavior in terms of clicks, purchases and browsing. The results of the recommendations were not slow to appear: + 9% in opening rates and + 3% in click rates.

Marketing Automation

In marketing automation, profiling data and behaviors is increasingly crucial for defining communication strategies aimed at (potential) customers. As such, it’s no wonder that the maturity of marketing automation is largely correlated to the degree of data usage.

Those currently getting into automation will soon realize that the data model is destined to play an increasingly important role in the success of marketing strategies.

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Appointment at the MailUp Marketing Conference

By collecting and enriching the right customer data, every marketer has the opportunity to enrich and transform the experience of their customer base. Using profiled data increases the likelihood of conversions and increases the average value of sales. This makes it a smart tactic for all marketers who intend to increase their added value and build a really significant relationship with their recipients.

For more information on this topic, on December 12th we’ll be the at MailUp Marketing Conference, a big event that is organized by MailUp and open to the public: I will be on stage and will teach you to use emails like Amazon, drawing important insights from the way the colossal American company uses its channel. Ensure your place now!

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Jordie Van Rijn

I am an independent Email and Marketing Automation consultant with more than 13 years of experience under my belt. I am the founder of the international platform for Email and Marketing Automation Software Selection and was recently chosen one of the 23 Thought Leaders Every Online Marketer Must Know by Huffington post.

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