I love data.I am obsessed by learning and have an incredible appetite for information in all its forms. Not everyone is as obsessed as me, but as small businesses we need to start listening to the digital footprint of our customers, and fast! Forrester research says that 50% of us research online prior to buying anything from a pair of shoes to health insurance. We spend more time researching our new pet, holiday adventure and even partner. The more significant the item the more likely we will do our homework online. A study by retail today stating up to 81% of us research online before a big purchase. According to another study 79% of us trust online reviews as much as we do a personal recommendations.This is why data has become so key. “So, in the few minutes it takes you to read this, there will be over 7.5 million searches on Google. Each of these searches presents a new opportunity to reach consumers when they’re most engaged.”ZMOT.
It leaves a digital footprint that if we are smart we can use to make our marketing smarter! “Long before many brand managers even knew what they were, consumers were searching for things like “greek yogurt,” “BB cream” and “ombre hair.” If you had to guess what kind of stain is searched for most, would you know the answer? Overwhelmingly, it’s “red wine stains.” Do you know what’s in the collective mind of consumers right now? (Answer: coconut oil).” ZMOT
The trick is to use search to identify the moments that matter to consumers and act on them across your entire marketing mix.I remember interviewing Bruce Kasanoff about his book Smart Customers Stupid Companies and the premise of this book was we expect companies to predict what we want and do there best to make our journey with them delightful. Bruce’s website SmartCustomers talks of how we need to be smarter than the customers we serve and to do that, we really need to understand them. We are now talking of predictive marketing tools to respond to the multichannel environment . The multiscreen time that we all spend now accessing information and entertainment. This behaviour that leaves with it a digital footprint is ready for those technically savvy companies to use to deliver smart customer experiences.
So what in reality is happening with this data in the average SMB company? Nothing. Most companies I work with have google analytics running on their website but don’t look at it, haven’t set it up to capture useful information or don’t know what it all means. Sound familiar? An lets not even go to predictive software players in the market, (IMB, SAS, Adobe MATLAB, Knowledgestudio, Oracle). So what should you be doing? Asking your staff and customers for their feedback in easy ways. Data is king. Understanding how to improve your interactions with customers, their preferences, more about them and their behaviour will make your business more helpful and more valuable. Given that most customers will not rank our service as excellent, we all have a way to go in creating a awesome experience. Here are some simple data you should be collecting and some tools.
1. Google Alerts – set this up on your name, your competitors name and what your prospect might be typing in, i.e customer centric marketing
Google trends on predictive marketing V customer centricity V customer journey mapping
2. Set up google analytics properly – you need to be able to see clearly key data so get this set up properly or outsource your analytics totally.
3. Use marketing tools that have data collection properties –
- Email- Mailchimp collects opens, clicks and social shares,
- Facebook Insights – gives you information on your visitors and your ad campaigns
- LinkedIn – gives you views and on a premium model creates more insights
- CRM tools for SMB like Zoho, Salesforce, Capsule and Nimble CRM to see social media activity.
4. Use surveys like wufoo and survey monkey to ask your clients questions.
5. Use smart accounting software like Freshbooks that shows you how toy compare and asks for feedback from your clients after a transaction.
6. Follow thought leaders in your area of expertise on the web, on podcasts, in email and on social media. Think with Google is another way they are aggregating information and providing that as a data tool for me. I have attached a great video from google on the buyers journey and what we all need to consider in this new digital landscape.