To effectively market your business with online and social media data sources, you must pull all your customer data together. Combine your data instead of creating a new, separate silo of online-only data. As we mentioned in part one of this series, think of social media as another channel of opportunity for marketing — it’s unique, but best used in concert with other channels.
Integrated data from multiple sources will allow you to gain a comprehensive view of your customers, allowing you to segment them effectively to deliver targeted, relevant marketing messages. If you don’t, you’ll find that your siloed data loses value because your cross-channel marketing strategy is based around a limited understanding of your customers and their behavior.
An integrated cross-channel marketing strategy enables you to leverage your customer knowledge to target each segment with relevant messages in their preferred channel. Are your customers more responsive on Facebook? Twitter? Email? Mobile? More importantly, in which channel are they most receptive to you?
You'll also be able to identify the best secondary channels to contact your customers. This way, you can continue the conversation even when your customers begin to lapse. After all, who wants to receive a “visit the dealership” email shortly after the purchase of a new car? Instead, at this point in the customer life cycle, involve customers in a Facebook conversation about their cars’ features to build brand enthusiasm.
With fully integrated data, you can create information-rich customer profiles, or “personas." This technique helps bring your segmentation to life. You can fill in the details, add dimension to otherwise dry statistics, among other things. The deeper the insight you gain through persona-building, the better you can easily identify top brand enthusiasts to spread your marketing message.
Morton’s The Steakhouse, has identified the right tools to drive customers to its restaurants and keep the conversation going. Using Twitter and Facebook, Morton’s invites users to share their experiences with other fans, leading customers to cement their memories of the Morton’s experience. This enables Morton’s to gain a clearer understanding of what its customers want. With combined profiles of customers, Morton’s can tailor its email marketing campaigns to customer preferences, providing exclusive offers and event invitations that aren’t appropriate for social media channels.
A retail organization might use segmentation to determine what combination of channels — e.g., direct mail, online marketing, mobile, etc. — would be best for reaching customers and prospects on multiple fronts over the course of a product life cycle. Luxury handbag and accessories retailer Coach tied together its web advertising efforts during the launch of its youth-oriented Poppy line by placing dynamic images of bags from the line on hundreds of participating blogs. They also used their Facebook and Twitter marketing campaigns to spread the word and drive consumers to its stores.
Also regularly update customer records with data from all sources. If you track links to various social media platforms via email, follow trends in how customers are interacting with your brand. Analyze customer behavior on an ongoing basis to ensure you're addressing them through the most effective marketing medium.
We expect brand marketers going forward will make greater use of data gathered across multiple channels. While still a young channel, social media is already transitioning away from the mass-data-collection stage — characterized by blasts and untargeted marketing — into a more targeted and relevant marketing vehicle. The most successful marketers will effectively use social media combined with all available channels to create ongoing and meaningful conversations with their customers.
Bob MacInnis is vice president of marketing systems architect for e-Dialog, an email marketing service provider. Reach Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sari Tamilio is vice president of interactive services at MBS, a marketing services and solutions provider. Reach Sari at email@example.com.
Related story: Social Media's Impact on Database Marketing, Part 1