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Empower Your Customers with Decision-Making Data

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
11 March 2015

Empower with DataEverybody talks about Big Data, but email marketers in particular are in an excellent position to make it work for their customers as well as their companies.

We usually think of data as a one-way selling tool we use to learn more about our prospects or customers or to create more persuasive or relevant email content geared toward getting contacts to buy more.

Those are crucial strategies for any company in today's data-driven marketplace. But data can also add value and play a major role in your customers' journeys when you give them back their data through relevant email messaging that enhances their overall experience or encourages them to engage with you in new ways.

Data in Action: The Airline Loyalty Statement

If you belong to an airline's frequent-flyer program, you know about the monthly or quarterly statements that show you how many miles you've racked up in the latest reporting period and how many total miles you've earned in the program.

It's good information as far as it goes. But it misses opportunities to move these customers to repeated action by showing them how they could put that data to use:

  • Show them how many miles they need to move up to the next tier. List the amenities they could qualify for at that level. 
  • Offer incentives in the cities they visit most often to encourage them to book their next trip with that airline instead of a competitor.  

These highly personalized data points might be enough to draw more frequent bookings from the airline's most obsessive mileage trackers or persuade airline-hoppers to stick with one carrier.

Remarketing 2.0: The Data Concierge

In this new data vision, you collect or interpret data in new ways and give it back to your customers through email content they can use to progress in their journey with your company or brand.

My Silverpop colleague Ellen Valentine calls this the "concierge" role of data: You're giving your customers useful information based on what you know about them. They, in turn, can use your email content to solve problems, be more satisfied with their purchases or move closer to making that first purchase.

The frequent-flyer email I mentioned above provides two key data points: total miles and miles per reporting period. Email content that combines this information with frequency, location or past add-on purchases (business class upgrades, luggage charges, airport club membership) could be enough to move a casual customer further along the journey to becoming a loyal and engaged one.

Look for New Data Sources

These sources don't even have to be completely new. You're probably collecting all kinds of information that you haven't brought into your marketing database yet or that you don't leverage for the greatest benefit.

These data types might include: 

  • Rewards level
  • Product/service usage
  • Membership anniversary
  • Family birthdays, anniversaries 
  • Weather forecasts
  • Product lifespan
  • Purchase dates
  • Like-kind customer comparisons/benchmarks
  • Purchase anniversary
  • Customer lifespan

Data Givebacks for 1:1 Marketing

This is behavior-driven email marketing done at an even higher level than your best transactional messaging. You have to be able to incorporate real-time data integrations, specific data rules and content modules that you can switch around to meet those rules.

But the result can be a higher-value message that helps your customers make better-informed decisions, buy more often, choose you over competitors or increase satisfaction after their purchase.

Here are two potential examples:

1. Free shipping programs: If you offer a free-shipping program (think Amazon Prime), you could include the amount customers have spent year to date in total and shipping costs and how much they would have saved by joining your program.

2. Resorts/cruises: Use rules that integrate real-time weather forecasts into reservation reminders. If the forecast calls for rain, for example, your data rule could switch in a content module advising visitors to pack umbrellas and promoting indoor activities like spas, classes and workout facilities.

When you give your customers useful tools – their personal data and content that helps them derive more value from that data – you empower them to make informed decisions. Serving your customers also serves your company, but your customers become a more valuable partner in the success story.

Related Resources:

1) Ebook: “15 Post-Purchase Emails That Build Loyalty and Drive Revenue

2) Blog: “Are You Listening to Your Customers’ Most Important Cues?

3) Video: “IT Is Not the Enemy


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