Data Is THE Single Most Important Asset

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When it comes to data, the contrast between brands who “get it,” and brands who don’t is increasingly stark. When we reviewed Mary Meeker’s most recent internet trends report, she reinforced just how important data collection and analysis is for marketers today. Yet, only 1% of data in the ‘Digital Universe’ is analyzed even though 34% of it is useful.

Sailthru strategists have developed a series of insights for agile ecommerce based on Meeker’s report. This is the second post in a multi-part series and the complete report is available here.

What we’ve noticed is that marketing organizations that do the best of analyzing and acting on their data follow what we call The New 4 Ps of Predictive Analytics:

  • Personalize content, and meet each customer’s specific wants and needs.

  • Preempt disengagement automatically by regulating how frequently customers receive messaging and promotions based on long-term studies of their behavior.

  • Predict a customer’s actions by analyzing previous behaviors and creating future marketing programs automatically based on the next behavior.

  • Prevent customers from opting out by sending messaging at the right cadence, with the right calls to action.

Across our own client base, we’ve seen a 5% – 20% decrease in opt-outs for companies that live, breathe and market by The 4 Ps Framework, as well as massive increases in conversion, purchase frequency and lifetime value. Our clients follow the flow of each customer from their desktop, to their mobile, and into the store and personalize each and every person’s brand experience to maximize the effectiveness and enjoyment of each engagement, optimizing their lifetime value.

For example, BustedTees, uses the New 4 Ps of Predictive Analytics to ensure that they send messages to users at the time that they are most likely to open email, click through and purchase. Sailthru’s Personalized Sent Time feature allows BustedTees to automate this approach and has delivered a 5% increase in open rates, an 11% increase in clickthrough rate, and a 8.2% increase in revenue per thousand emails sent. Personalized Send Time uses a consumer’s previous open history and sends to each individual over a specific window of time based on when they are most likely to open and convert.

Learning From Netflix

Netflix is a company that excels at personalization through analytics. The online video juggernaut makes use of viewing data analyzed alongside customer demographic information in ways that not only improve user experience, but also drive new revenue opportunities by seamlessly and naturally integrating testing into their interface.

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Netflix’s ability to determine what the viewer wants to see next is arguably the biggest factor in its success. By providing the best user experience, they become the defacto choice for television and movie streaming. They do this by recording and analyzing every action viewers take – including pauses, rewinds, fast forwards, ratings submitted and devices used for viewing – of more than 2 billion hours of programming watched each month. These insights were taken a step further with the creation of the popular show, House of Cards, which was the result of an analysis of what characteristics would make a show popular. This analysis impacted all elements of the series including casting, choice of director, and the decision to buy the rights to an existing series.

What Netflix shows us is that when customers enter into a relationship with a brand, they do so with expectations of the experience. Because customers are now “always on,” thanks to their smartphones and tablets, there’s a rising expectation that companies will know exactly what they want, when, and how. By paying attention to the data at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to know each purchaser on a personal level and to engage with them on their terms.

The bottom line is that consumers are benefiting from relationships they have with brands that observe their interests and tailor their content. Yet many ecommerce companies continue to use only the most basic segmentation. These companies that fail to leverage customer interests will find their marketing efforts, revenue, retention and churn continue to deteriorate.

The Right Data to Collect Right Now

Proactive measurement and data management is the only way your ecommerce company can get ahead of the issues at hand. By analyzing what customers love the most and what drives conversions, your brand’s upcoming offers, discounts, and product recommendations can be better tuned to the individual preferences of customers, helping to increase transaction volume and customer loyalty.

We recommend that all marketers begin collecting the right data now so they can develop user profiles that are truly actionable. While the information that is most important to any particular brand is based on their industry, some points that almost every ecommerce company should collect are:

  • gender

  • birthday

  • anniversary of sign-up date

  • last purchase

  • acquisition source

  • purchase history over time

  • average order value

  • customer lifetime value

  • propensity to buy

  • key personal and product interests – color preferences over time, size (if applicable), etc.

Your brand’s specific offering will determine other data points. For example, a company that delivers food would be interested in allergies and dietary preferences, whereas a PC gaming firm would want to record customers’ operating systems and entertainment preferences, such as whether they enjoy adventure simulators or first person shooters. The metrics that matter for your company are the same as those that determine whether a purchase is made, even if not directly. Start with identifying the factors that go into purchase decisioning and work backwards from there.

At Sailthru, we’re here to help companies form real relationships with their customers by recording and analyzing data and creating personalized brand messaging that makes each individual feel listened to, and avoids the common messaging faux pas. Treat your customers right and you’ll form loyal brand advocates in the process.

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Jason Grunberg is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Sailthru.