For many years, businesses have tried to get closer to potential customers. And thanks to many innovations those customers are now one click or swipe away. They can’t get any closer. But does this mean that these businesses actually know their customers?
With CRM-software and tools, businesses can identify and categorize customers. And most companies add and modify customer data based on sales data, open rates, click throughs and more. This allows them to create segments, profiles and personas in order to market products or services more effectively.
With the increasing number of social platforms and the enormous amount of information people publicly share about themselves, there are more marketing and sales insights available than ever before.
This sounds great, except a recent IBM CMO-study found that growing customer data is the number one challenge for marketers. So it isn’t surprising that not many companies have moved beyond traditional marketing metrics and using relevant insights from both traditional CRM-systems and social channels to offer people what they’re looking for, at the right time, through the right channel. Few are doing this well. This highlights an enormous untapped opportunity.
How are you going?
To really know your customers, it is essential to integrate social data in a useful way. But getting to know people is, just as in real life, not just mixing together some raw data files and pressing enter. Before companies can have a meaningful conversation there are at least three challenges to overcome.
The first is that organisations need to realise that a lot of people don’t engage with a company to feel ‘connected’. Engagement is about being in touch with your customers in a way that is meaningful for everyone. Not everyone wants to be ‘friends’ with a company and wait for the moment to like a picture on Facebook. Most people I know don’t respond well to industry or company jargon. Businesses need to rethink their interactions and offer something tangible in return for peoples’ attention, endorsement and data.
The second challenge is to capture, analyse and use relevant data from customers that matter to your business, now and in the future. It’s not hard to capture personal data, the number of transactions and the lifetime of a customer. But the real value of a customer extends beyond these traditional metrics. Companies also need to capture data with social value: what do customers say about themselves and your company online and are they willing to ‘socialise’ with you? Is their behaviour on social channels different than what you already know? Why is this the case? These social metrics are different for each industry so the trick is to find which are relevant.
The last challenge is to enable marketing and sales to use the relevant insights from both ‘traditional’ CRM-systems and social channels. This is nothing more (but definitely nothing less), than analysing and linking data from different sources. This will help marketing and sales to offer potential customers what they’re looking for, at the right time and through the right channel.
Hey Sam, oops I mean, Chris.
Data from social sources proves to be a very good addition to the customer data already used by most businesses. But CRM-systems don’t sell things and neither do social insights. With the right approach business will be able to leverage data from multiple sources to have meaningful interactions based on a better understanding of a qualified audience.
Unfortunately, many companies struggle to get the right data in and out of their systems. What will be important for businesses when developing their Social CRM strategy, is to get their basics right and work out how to tackle these challenges before believing they really know their customers.
Edgar Rouwenhorst is a strategist at OgilvyOne, Melbourne.