Monday, July 08, 2019

Technology has its many advantages, but one drawback is that it helps drive up the competition. No matter what industry you find yourself in, there’s going to be no monopoly of service or product.

This is why more and more businesses have been employing a customer-centric approach to stand out from among the pack.

But what is customer-centric marketing?

It is the idea that each customer has their own behaviours, buying patterns, moral values, and all the characteristics that make them individuals. It’s no longer about making a product or offering a service and hoping that customers will come to buy.

The one-size-fits-all approach has become obsolete.

The fact is that customers are individuals with fundamental differences. If you are able to trigger a positive response from the customer, then it makes the jobs of marketers that much easier.

Aggregating Customer Insight for a Successful Customer-Centric Marketing

So how can you know what your customers are thinking?

Fortunately, machine-learning tools and data analytics software make it easier to gain accurate insight into the minds of your customers.

A study by Forrester revealed that companies are putting more focus on insights to guide direction and decision-making. In fact, insights-driven organisations are growing at an outstanding 30% annually. By the year 2021, the collective earnings of these businesses will have breached $1.8 trillion.

Meanwhile, more than 6 in 10 marketing supervisors believe that customer insight is crucial to their strategies, according to the report aggregated by CustomerThink.

The problem remains that businesses have either no capability or no awareness of how to integrate data analytic tools to gain valuable insight into their customer’s thinking and behaviour.

Another challenge is that the insight delivered by these tools is not applicable to their situation.

In order to maximize customer insight, you need:

  1. The right data that is free from contamination and relevant to your business
  2. The right data analytics tools to sort and analyse the data
  3. The knowledge and skills of your data scientists (or your software tools) to interpret the gathered information
  4. The right technological innovation to complement your marketing campaign
  5. The discretion of your project managers and executives to act on the data

Data Analytics Tools to Help Gain Customer Insight

There are so many software products out there that essentially perform the same functions. However, it’s impractical to install two or more data analytics software products in your organisation just because you want all your bases covered.

  1. Google Trends -- Everybody uses Google, except perhaps if you are in China where Baidu reigns supreme. This tool maps out customer footprint when they go online, whether they use the search engine, read up on the news, shop on Google, and watch YouTube. You can also customize how Google will present the results to you, whether in text, graph, or pie chart for easier digestion. There are many benefits to using this tool. For instance, you can catch up on trends, find opportunities in the market, monitor the performance of your SEO keywords, etc. Finally, you can also check what your competitors are doing, although admittedly there are better tools out there for doing this.

  2. Google Analytics -- You can’t really say that Google Analytics is the next generation, can you? It has been around since 2005 after the search giant’s acquisition of Urchin. However, Google Analytics continues to undergo evolution as the company tweaks and modifies its algorithm to make the results more responsive and relevant. When it comes to tracking the website traffic and monitoring the performance of your website, few can compare with this tool. One way to track customer behavior is the Goal Funnel extension of Google Analytics. What it does is to allow you to set up a URL or a series of URLs where your customers click when they purchase a product on your website. You can then track the customer behavior when it comes to making an online purchase.

  3. Customer Insights -- This tool allows you to build a customer profile without breaking a sweat. For instance, you just input some information about your customer that you know about--even if it’s just a name and a phone number. The tool will then fill in the blanks and provide you with comprehensive data on your client base. It will then track the behaviour of your customers whenever they go online, whether they are searching for something, checking their social media pages, watching a YouTube video, or shopping on Amazon. You will know where your customers live, their likes and dislikes, and the triggers that will elicit an emotional response. That kind of insight will be crucial as you craft your marketing strategy.

  4. Tableau -- This customer insights tool comes with its own machine learning capability. It will help you harness dormant data into actionable intelligence. Your teams will now work more efficiently and smarter as they are armed with the right information that can help them reach out to their customers, and expect a reaction in return. It will not only gather the data but analyse it according to the parameters that you set. The feedback will then be presented to you an easy-to-digest format so everybody in our organisation can understand it.

  5. Client Heartbeat -- Do you know who among your customers are happy or who are unsatisfied with your product and service? Would you have an idea if they are not calling your lines and airing their complaints? What if they go to online forums to bash you without your knowledge? The damage to your reputation can be devastating. The Client Heartbeat is a simple tool and that’s what is great about it. You will know your customers’ feelings toward you even if they are not speaking out.

  6. Social Mention -- This tool will help you give a glimpse of your social media status. For instance, when you search your brand, you will know on average how many minutes have passed before your name is mentioned. You will have an idea of how strong your brand is, as well as the amount of reach. The people’s sentiments when your brand is mentioned is also included in the report. The best thing about this service is that it’s free. Perhaps this item should have started with that fact.

  7. PopSurvey -- With this tool, you don’t have to commission an external survey to gain an insight into the mindset of your customers. The tool will also guide you in crafting questionnaires to ensure a more accurate survey result. As you know, surveys are tricky in the sense that the answers can be influenced by how the question is phrased. Signing up is free.

  8. Facebook Audience Insights -- The Facebook Audience Insights is more geared toward helping businesses gain an understanding of their customer behaviour and thinking. As you understand how they think and how they respond, you can then improve your messaging so it resonates with them. Among the things you will learn are the demographics, location, page likes, language, usage, and activity on online purchases.

  9. Temper -- Much like Client Heartbeat, this tool will enable you to gauge customer satisfaction over time. You will have an idea of how they feel about your products and services. With this, you will know your strong points and weak points, and fill in the gaps to improve delivery. You will no longer second guess what your customer wants. When you roll out a product, you can make an educated guess as to how your customers will respond.

  10. Skorr -- As the digital platform supplants traditional advertising channels, so does the rise of social media influencers. Influential marketing has entered the digital marketing lexicon. Instead of celebrities, companies are now tapping everyday people with high social media reach to advertise their products. This is not just a trend. It’s actually driven by the market. According to the research, 7 in 10 of Millennials trust these influencers compared to celebrities. Skorr will help you find who among the influencers would be the perfect ambassadors for your brand. It will also help you measure your brand’s influence. This is measured in real-time. For instance, when you upload a post, you will immediately have an idea of how people are perceiving it. The tool will provide you with a comprehensive report also in real-time. This is crucial in your reputation management campaign. As you know, your brand can quickly go viral for all the wrong reasons.

Conclusion
Investing--not just money but time as well--in data analytics tools will provide you with invaluable insight into the mindset and behaviour of your customers. You can then leverage this knowledge to come up with products and services that really match the gaps in the market. With too many competitors nowadays, your best bet is to deliver the best customer experience. You will be amazed at how your customers will respond when you anticipate their needs. Unless you really have a unique offering, you won’t really stand out in the market on the strength of your product alone. But when your customers think that you “get them,” that’s how you really develop loyalty.