Targeted marketing strategies seek to increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by matching ads and products to the customers who are most likely to be interested in them. To effectively match customers to marketing campaigns, you need information about those customers, such as what they like and dislike, where they live, where they shop and which sites they visit on the internet. These seven methods of collecting target market data can help you get that information.
Computers and Mobile Devices
Consumers use their laptops, PCs, cell phones, tablets and other devices for shopping, playing games, watching movies, listening to music, banking and much more. All of that digital activity translates into a lot of useful information. There are many potential avenues to collect user data. Simple tools that track which websites users visit and which ads they interact with have been around for decades.
More sophisticated tools, such as software that uses IPFIX to track network traffic, can be used to track and analyze the types of data users are exchanging on networks. Additionally, marketers can obtain more detailed information, such as a customer’s age, profession, income, location and gender through the use of modern data mining tools.
Another way marketers can obtain this data is by simply asking the customer for it. By asking the user to fill out an online survey or customer profile, marketers can get users to voluntarily submit detailed information. However, you should be careful to observe all consumer privacy laws in the locations you operate in and make sure you obtain all required permissions from customers before you use their data. You may also be required to disclose exactly how you use the information you gather. It may be beneficial to offer consumers some sort of incentive to provide their information, such as entry into a giveaway or rewards points.
In the olden days, point-of-interest data was mostly limited to customer interaction with in-store displays. However, now that most consumers carry around a mobile device with GPS capability, geotagging can be used to gather a variety of useful data. There are two main ways you can utilize geotagging to gather data. You can ask the customer to physically “check-in” on their device using a social media platform, such as Facebook. This method has the added benefit that the user may share this information with other users, which could generate interest in the visited location.
The second method is utilizing apps that automatically track the user’s location either while they are carrying the device the app is installed on, or when the user is directly using the app. You will need to obtain the consent of the user to utilize this information. If the user agrees, your app can automatically track data such as places the user has shopped, attractions the user has visited, where they travel, how long they spend in the car and what businesses they pass on their route.
E-mail may seem a bit old-fashioned these days, but it can still be an effective way to gather data. The downside of e-mail is that many people do not check their e-mail regularly and utilize spam filters that may cause them to never see your message. The upside is that e-mail campaigns are quick, cost-effective and can reach a lot of people. Tools, such as Mailchimp, can be used to track which users open which e-mails and what they click on when they read the e-mails.
A landing page is a web page that a user first sees when they click a marketing link, optimized search result or online advertisement. The page should be designed to immediately give the user the information they clicked on the link to get. The page can be used to present marketing copy, sell a product, or get a user to sign up for a sales call or some other form of direct contact. In addition to being useful for the user, the landing page should collect some useful marketing data.
Customer Relations Management
CRM software helps you track your relationships with your customers. The goal of CRM programs is to help businesses improve customer satisfaction by tracking key interactions. CRM systems can be used to collect initial customer information, such as names, addresses, and phone numbers. They can also be used to track pricing information and how customers interact with various marketing campaigns.
Point of Sale
Point of Sale information is data that is collected when a sales transaction is made. Traditionally, this data was gathered by order forms filled out by clerks and then by automated POS systems in brick and mortar stores. As more customers move online, a lot of POS data is gathered by web-based applications. Additionally, many in-person transactions are now recorded and tracked on mobile devices, rather than cash registers.
POS systems can track sales, returns, discounts, coupons, gift cards, loyalty programs and other customer information. This information can be useful for tracking when sales of certain products are trending, what time of day customers are shopping, how promotions and price changes affect sales and other useful information.
An obvious, but sometimes neglected, way to gather customer information is to ask them for it. You can conduct customer interviews in-person, online or over the phone. They can be in-depth conversations or you can collect the information a bit at a time by taking actions such as having your associates ask one or two questions when the customer is checking out.
Surveys attached to sales receipts, sent through e-mail or posted on your webpage or social media can also be a good way to collect information from customers. They may be more likely to respond if you offer them an incentive, such as a discount or contest, to do so.
Customer data is one of the most valuable tools in any marketer’s toolbox. These seven methods of gathering customer data can help you design and execute a successful marketing strategy for your business.