Making Sense of the Data You Have
Just collecting user data is not enough; the core challenge is to collect the right data and to make sense of what you have. To begin, decide what is worth keeping for usage and what is not worth storing. This often can be the point where most marketers stumble and why many companies have failed to implement successful target marketing strategies.
The downfall of collecting too much or the wrong data is that instead of efficient and effective targeting, you end up overwhelmed and lost in your own data mine. The goal should be to collect only data that will allow you to create specific, targetable audience segments that are defined by customer behaviors and are in alignment with marketing goals.
Start by asking customers to explicitly tell you about themselves so you can make the messages you send them more relevant. If you take this approach, make sure you are ready to use information from customers before you ask for it. If not, you run the risk of losing customers’ trust by not applying the information you have given them to create a more personalized experience.
Who Are the Valuable Users?
Most media buys that specify an audience target still favor demographics (ZIP code, age, job function, gender, income, etc.). Sites typically attempt to gather that data through registrations, contests, subscriptions and third-party overlays. In sticking with this approach, marketers often fail to use the more powerful data they have access to that can tell them not just who their customer is but what it is they are interested in. Passing up the opportunity to collect behavioral data on users often translates to passing up incremental revenue. Web-surfing patterns and previous behavior indicate customers’ willingness to be receptive to customized offerings for certain products and services.