Still Waiting on IT to Pull Customer Data for Marketing?

The Adaptive Marketer Top 10

Part 3: Real-Time Adaptive Customer Counts

I would not be surprised if most of you digital marketers reading this right now are currently waiting for a report from IT, or are about to submit a ticket to pull customer counts. When marketers first come to us, they’ve been waiting an average of 2-5 days for IT to pull marketing data in order to gain answers to their questions. IT is forced to put their own projects on hold to run counts for marketers. The reality of this situation is that there are a lot of opportunities to maximize revenue and lifetime value (LTV) with customers during this 2-5 day window, but most marketers are completely missing them and two departments are using up valuable bandwidth.

Customer Counts

There are three common use cases for needing IT to pull reports:

  • Basic: Your CFO asks you how much revenue a certain customer segment is generating for the business.
  • Sophisticated: You have a cool campaign idea for a specific audience segment and want to know the exact count.
  • Strategic: You want to analyze your existing customer data for trends and create strategic audience segments for future campaigns.

Why shouldn’t you be able to access customer data in real time?

As I mentioned in my last post, to an Adaptive Marketer, “knowing your customers” means understanding the full and latest state of each individual customer relationship in real time. The first step to this is to consolidate all your fast and slow customer data into your own Adaptive Marketer Data Environment (AMDE) built just for marketers, so that you have complete access and control of customer information. Now that’s music to an IT team’s ears.

Now that you have that, the second step is to actually do something with that data! The AMDE produces Real-Time Adaptive Customer Counts. These are accurate and dynamic counts of individual customers. You can use them to answer questions like the ones above in a matter of seconds! I mean, it’s 2017… you can’t afford to rely on other departments. It’s not fair to you or to them! You also can’t wait 2-5 days for answers anymore.

Marketers need control over marketing data.

Why? The sake of your own reputation, and honestly, your job. As marketers, we should know our customers better than anyone else in the organization does, right? If this is true, shouldn’t we be expected to know the answers to these questions within seconds without having to rely on anyone else? For goodness sake, I can look up the population of a remote African village on Google that I know nothing about in less than 100 milliseconds. So, why should we not be able to know, at the very least, an accurate count of our known customers with a click of a mouse?

In my opinion, the most badass marketer in the world can maximize every potential opportunity with each individual customer. They never miss out on opportunities to increase chances of gaining higher LTV. Considering we are all customers ourselves, we are well aware of how impatient, unpredictable, and speedy customers have become when interacting with brands. This means, to maximize every opportunity—a.k.a. become badass marketers—we need to adapt faster than our customers. More specifically, this means we need answers to our questions in a matter of seconds, not days or weeks!

Get basic customer counts in seconds.

Marketing badassery step one: Know your basic numbers. In this case, numbers mean customer counts, LTV, and revenue. One of the first things you will do when transitioning from traditional to Adaptive Marketer is gather simple customer counts based on different customer types. You’ll use basic RFM modeling and engagement analytics.

RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) analysis is a marketing technique used to determine quantitatively which customers are the best ones by examining how recently a customer has purchased (recency), how often they purchase (frequency), and how much the customer spends (monetary). RFM analysis is based on the marketing axiom that “80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.

Tech Target

You’ll come up with something like the following:

Real-Time Adaptive Customer Counts Chart

Adaptive Marketers master the basics first. They make sure to have a solid foundation to build on when it comes to knowing their customers before deploying campaigns. Knowing the difference between how much revenue your loyalists are producing vs. your “lost cause” customers is a huge advantage, especially when you no longer need IT to pull these numbers for you.

This knowledge forces you to think like the CFO. You find yourself asking questions like, “If 26% of my customers are defined as a lost cause, but they produce more revenue than lapsing customers, should we spend more campaign budget on lost cause or lapsing customers?” Having the answers to these types of questions directly influences your overall campaign strategy for each group that you’re trying to increase revenue with. It also informs what the messaging for each group should be. More importantly, Adaptive Marketers can answer questions like this from the CFO right there in the meeting, and quickly become the smartest guy in the room. #badass

Get sophisticated customer counts in seconds.

Now you’re the smartest person in the room when it comes to knowing the counts, revenue, and LTV numbers for basic customer types. Marketing badassery step two: Adaptive Marketers are also the smartest people in the room when it comes to gathering counts for super sophisticated audience segments. The AMDE allows you to get as creative with the data as you want. By “creative,” I mean analysis by customer data attributes, fields, and segments; because Adaptive Marketers have all customer data at their fingertips with their AMDE, you can start to build sophisticated audience segments and get counts in seconds, no matter how hyper-segmented your audiences become.

Audience Segmentation Example

For example, let’s say that I have 865,464 loyal customers that spent $490,630,813 with my brand last year. These customers buy from me no matter what, which means I don’t need to give them a discount. Instead, the data shows that all they need is a friendly brand reminder. My goal is to increase online revenue by 5% this quarter and I only have 1.5 months left to do it. My data tells me that the top 20% female loyalists are the most likely to purchase from me this time of year.

Adaptive Marketers can quickly see how many female loyalists there are, then use their combined average order value to see if that 5% increase is attainable before the end of the quarter. Time is of the essence, so you can see why you can’t afford to wait 2-5 days for counts from IT. Instead, Adaptive Marketers need to be able to pull the reports themselves with just a few clicks!

Get strategic customer counts in seconds.

In my opinion, the most valuable moment that Adaptive Marketers experience with Real-Time Adaptive Customer Counts is the ability to perform what we call “train-of-thought” analytics. Thus, marketing badassery step three: Actionable insights. It’s the, “Aha!” moments that happen when exploring customer data that instigates questions you never would have previously thought of without the ability to examine customer data in real time.

Customer Count Segmentation - Venn Diagram

For example, I may know that my top three categories for woman’s fashion sales are jewelry, hand bags, and watches. I know how many of each category are purchased each month and by whom, but when plugging the data into a basic Venn diagram, I start to see things I never could before. I can see how many of the same customer bought all three, or how many of the same customer purchased two of the three categories.

This may help me understand that for every watch sold, three pieces of jewelry are purchased by the same customer to compliment the style of the watch. So, in theory, if I want to sell more pieces of jewelry, I might want to launch strategic messaging and campaigns around selling more watches of a certain style to increase the purchase of jewelry of the same style. And, yes, these learnings are all happening as fast as your able to click your mouse.

It’s a win-win for marketing and IT!

Now, don’t get me wrong. We love IT, and still need them for plenty of things. In fact, the way we view the situation, IT wants you to become Adaptive Marketers to free up bandwidth for both departments. Marketers often don’t know exactly what they’re looking for, which means returning to IT after each report (which is already out-of-date and irrelevant by then) requesting small tweaks. When you can segment and analyze your own marketing data on the fly, you’ve improved your relationship with IT and you’re walking away with real-time, actionable insights. Win-win!

Whether it’s knowing counts for basic customer types linked to revenue, or knowing counts of sophisticated audience segments, Real-Time Adaptive Customer Counts give you the ability to answer questions in a matter of seconds. They help expand your creative mind to ask questions you’ve never thought about before. No matter what your situation is, less waiting and more doing prevents you from missing out on opportunities to increase LTV with your fast acting and impatient customers, making you a more badass marketer!

Up Next: Data Helpers

This is just the second in a series of ten blogs based on The Adaptive Marketer Top 10. This eBook outlines the top ten things that only Adaptive Marketers can do, and I’ll be posting a blog about each chapter in the weeks to come. My goal? To help you become a better marketer for the sake of your brand, your customers, and your career! Be sure to follow our blog for the next installments using your favorite RSS feed tool and by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Next we’re talking about Data Helpers. Just like customer counts, isn’t it annoying when you have to bug IT to edit and pull customer data for you? Not to mention time consuming! In a real-time world, marketers don’t have time for a bunch of different resources, tools, and disparate databases. Take control with Data Helpers that allow you to edit, extract, and act on customer data on the fly!

Read the last blog: Stop! List-Based Marketing Is Not Database Marketing

Mitch Folks Headshot

Mitch Folks, Director of Product Marketing

With more than seven years of experience inside the technology startup realm, Mitch has had a blast selling, building, marketing, managing, and deploying the convenience of technology inside various industries. The restaurant/hospitality, PR, consulting, digital advertising, and now digital marketing worlds have all been playgrounds that he has been invited to play in. Mitch is currently leveraging his sales and product management background to help drive product marketing efforts for Alterian. He’s responsible for being the liaison between product management and sales, driving strategic messaging and thought leadership through content creation and campaign execution.  

When he’s not writing his own bio or busy losing his eyesight from staring at a computer screen for 14 hours a day, he’s risking his life by sending it down single-track mountain bike trails, jamming out on the drums, or throwing weights around in the gym (while trying hard to not be too much of a bro).