It’s Time to Take a Fresh Look at Customer Data

In the midst of what has been an incredibly challenging year for many, 2020 has also given us many opportunities to take a step back and really evaluate what we’re doing with our companies and why.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the flow of the day-to-day operations, work on hitting goals, run the quarterly reports, and just keep chugging along. There’s no time to take a beat. There’s no time to reorganize things that need to be refreshed. And most of all there’s no driving force that makes us pause and reflect.

While COVID has done a lot of damage to the world, we’re capitalizing on the opportunities it’s afforded us at Pico Digital Marketing that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. And with all the change the global marketplace has experienced this year, it’s definitely time to take that pause and look closely at things.

The traditional media cycle has been affected along with buying behaviors and a gamut of other things. It may feel like we’re living in a real-time Twilight Zone, and that’s not too far off the reality.

The year 2020 will go down in history for a number of reasons, and one of those reasons is that shift and change in customer behavior. Media usage skyrocketed as the entire world went into quarantine. New platforms emerged out of necessity, established platforms either experienced a boom or a bust, entire industries were brought down or will have their best year yet on record. Millions of dollars in ad budgets shifted from Facebook to other platforms and the US saw coast-to-coast protests.

Meetings, events, conferences, and the Olympics were canceled. During these exhausting and unprecedented times, we’re afforded the opportunity to stop, listen, and recalibrate.

Never in history have companies been more under the watchful eye of consumers, and we think that’s a great thing. Agility, which is one of our specialties at Pico Digital Marketing, is the new black. Evolve or die seems to be the theme of 2020, and we’re here for it—because there’s nowhere else to be, everything is closed.

In all of this polarization, customer behavior is at the core. And what better time to take a good hard look at the data customers produce than now?

What is Customer Data?

Insightly defines customer data like this: “Customer data encompasses a broad spectrum of information about the people and businesses your company serves. At the most basic level, customer data is an essential asset for understanding your customers and their goals—and, how your business fits into the equation.”

We may never experience a disruption to the global market like this again in our lifetimes. Everything has shifted from what was standard in 2019. And while that brought a lot of good, it is also a learning curve. We all need to learn from this time, reevaluate our processes and customer journey, and come out on the other side as strong and confident and relevant as Netflix.

What are the Different Types of Customer Data?

There are four primary types of customer data, and it’s likely all of them have been impacted in 2020.

customer data

image via Toolbox

Let’s take a deeper look at each type of customer data:

  1. Personal Data
    Personal data is the basics of a customer. This forms the fundamental and foundational understanding of a customer. This includes a contact’s name, email address, phone number, job title, and linked organizations are examples of basic customer data. Demographic data, such as gender and income, or firmographic data, such as annual revenue or industry, are also basic customer data. Personal data can also include (where appropriate) driver’s license number, passport number, social security number, credit/debit card details, date of birth, and phone number. Additionally, if a customer is anonymous or encrypted, their personal data would include IP address, cookies, and device IDs. With the advent of GDPR, anonymous information on a customer is considered to be personal data so we’ve included it here.Personal data builds the basis of audience segmentation in your CRM and can be used to get a wide-angle look at which customers have similar attributes.
  2. Engagement Data
    Just as it sounds, engagement data encompasses the many touchpoints a customer has with your brand. From social media to online events and how many emails they’ve opened, this will all fall under engagement data. Once a customer is in a CRM system or engages with a brand on social media, their data can be tracked to get an insight into the customer journey.Here are the different avenues to determine engagement data:

    • Paid Ads: Each click on paid media represents a human. This engagement is seen in impressions, click-through rate, conversions, cost per click, and so on.
    • Customer Service: Through customer service tickets, complaints, forms, feedback, and more, a customer’s engagement directly with the brand can be tracked and analyzed.
    • Email Marketing: Through the CRM, open rate, click rate, conversion, bounce rate, unsubscribe events, and subscribe events are tracked and analyzed. This is gold because the customer is already in the CRM and is engaging with the marketing efforts of the company directly.
    • Social Media: Each like, share, direct message, video views, subscribe, comment, and repost falls within social media. This is a big one as social media is all about engagement, and very useful data can be mined from social media platforms.
    • Website or App: The user flow, app usage, downloads, bounce rate, time spent on site, load time, most viewed pages/posts, heat mapping, traffic sources, and more are measured within the website or app.
  3. Behavioral Data
    Customer behavior is what we’ve seen the biggest change in this year, and it’s what we’ll be focusing on the most in terms of taking a fresh look at customer data. Behavior is extremely important and can provide the best insight into the mind of a customer and their journey. These patterns are invaluable and can be catered to, with a journey tailored specifically to a certain behavior set.Engagement data is tied to behavior data with a few key differences, but depending on your product/service or industry, these may fall within the same category. Behavioral data can include transactional data, product usage, or qualitative data like heat maps. Depending on the industry, this may be repetitive but it’s still a vital part of the world of customer data.
  4. Attitudinal Data
    The feelings and emotions of your customers are reflected in attitudinal data. This is where reviews, surveys, feedback, support tickets, and even comments on social media come into play. Attitudinal data can also be collected through focus groups, interviews, complaints, etc. Basically, anything that gives you an insight into how a customer really feels about the product, service, or brand is a reflection of their attitudinal data.

    This can sometimes be an issue as many people who take the time to leave reviews are disgruntled. And while that absolutely doesn’t represent the entire customer base, it can be what guides many other customers to engage with the brand or to stay away. Consistently collecting this data will help you keep a pulse on what people are really feeling and experiencing, and not just the one person who left a one-star review.

Collecting and analyzing all of this customer data is imperative to take a fresh look at what’s working and what’s not—especially in 2020.

Benefits of Analyzing Customer Data

Learning more about your customers, in a pandemic or not, is extremely valuable. You’ll not only learn about them, but you’ll learn about how they see your company through their eyes. It’s easy to sit in a boardroom and decide what people want, why they come to you, and how they arrive at your website to purchase a product or service. It’s a completely different thing to look at the hard data and make data-driven decisions.

Making data-driven decisions cuts out the guessing game that so many marketers play. There’s no question when you’re looking at hard data, and that will make your life so much easier and more intentional.

There are so many benefits to taking a fresh look at customer data, here are just a few:

  • Refresh buyer personas
  • New customer segmentation
  • Revised pain points and opportunities to deliver the solution
  • Craft new and more relevant marketing campaigns
  • Increase customer lifetime value and reduce churn 
  • Adapt to trends and new opportunities on social media
  • Become more agile and flexible in marketing in general

When we’re faced with something like a global pandemic, it’s better to be flexible and willing to pivot than to stick to a previously decided marketing campaign. Give the people what they want! Your marketing budget, end of year strategy, and killer campaign matter less than what’s going on in the world. And if you do choose to go forward with something decided pre-pandemic, it could fall completely flat, come off as insensitive, and be very costly.

Right now, it’s best to take a step back and take a fresh look at customer data, then act from there.

Collecting Customer Data

Collecting customer data needs to be done from every point of contact a customer has with a brand. There isn’t just one way to collect data, but there are easier ways to do it than others. Standard and best practices come into play across all channels, but more importantly, some basic questions need to be answered first as a company:

  • What are our goals with our data?
  • What tools will be used to organize the data?
  • How is the competition leveraging data?
  • How are we going to protect customer data and ensure it’s safe and secure?
  • What data is essential and what is secondary?
  • Is our data collection compliant with rules and regulations?
  • How are we preventing duplicate data?
  • What is the projected ROI with data collection and usage?

Once the team has gotten clear on these questions, the collection and analysis of data can begin. This is also an opportunity to clean up the data that has been collected thus far. The validity of customer data is vital in order to be used. If you can’t depend on your data, then you can’t maximize its impact.

Additionally, if data collection and analysis has been outsourced, but now you’re bringing it in-house due to the financial impacts of COVID, this is another opportunity to really understand that data you have, how you have it, what you’re doing it with, and what you want to do going forward.

Buyer Personas and The Changing Market

The pandemic-induced recession is being felt globally. And now more than ever, a customer base may be more international than before. Creating new buyer personas based on the current analysis of customer data is going to be the best path forward to taking a fresh look at a company and acting on current data.

With 2020 being the year everyone did everything differently, it also makes sense for companies of all sizes to do the same. Again, this is an opportunity to shift and pivot in order to serve your customer base on a deeper and more relevant level.

Looking at customer data points like engagement and attitudinal data will give you the most insight into their behavior and how it’s changed.  From here, you can create refreshed buyer personas that reflect the data. Data-driven decisions are at the core of everything we do at Pico Digital Marketing because truly nothing else matters.

Within the changing market, strategies and campaigns may no longer be relevant and that’s ok. It’s better to shift now than move forward with something that doesn’t reflect the data.

Navigating these unprecedented times requires grace, skill, and a little grit—all of which we have in abundance at Pico Digital Marketing. If you’re looking for a professional digital marketing agency to help you steer your ship to shore in 2020, get in touch with us. We’ll take a look at your data and help you make data-driven decisions that will pay off.

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