Think about one of your close friends. Her birthday is coming up. Fortunately for you … you know just what to get her. You’ve talked enough about books, music, movies and fashion over the years, it will almost be like shopping for yourself!
So, grabbing the perfect birthday gift for her is easy, natural and requires very little stress or effort.
Could you do this for any of your customers?
Now, we’re not saying you have to be close friends with all your customers. But, if you had to go out and buy them a last-minute birthday present, how long would it take you to get enough of their information together to make a good guess about what they might want? This is assuming you actually have that information, it’s somewhat recent, and accessible to you.
If you think you could pass the “Birthday Present Test” using your current CRM, CDP or Customer Loyalty system, then you’re probably doing some things right. For example:
Which means you probably asked for things like their birthday, their preferred communication method like texting, calls, emails, etc. You probably also captured their preferred shopping categories and store location. And if you’re really on your game … you were probably already going to send them a “happy birthday” email—and maybe some kind of celebratory coupon—anyway.
You’ve got your customers identified and sorted efficiently by demographic (including age, gender, education and income). You are on top of their recent behavior, so you can see what kind of things they’ve bought from you in the past…whether they buy upscale or more affordable brands, and how often they shop.
You know where they live geographically…which is handy for knowing what kind of things they like to wear and activities they like to engage in. You have some good data points about their lifestyles, and if you’ve really gotten into their heads, an understanding of their psychographics, a study of their general attitudes and aspirations, tendencies and nuanced behaviors. So a quick look at any data you’ve captured over the years might yield valuable clues about their tastes.
And Most Importantly: You Can Get to This Information EASILY.
When you’re picking out a birthday present for a friend, you’ve got all kinds of great data in the form of memories about past conversations, shopping trips, and the like. So, all you have to do is a little remembering, and then a little shopping.
But when it comes to choosing a gift for thousands – or millions – of unique customers, you don’t have that luxury. This is where you need help from your marketing and data systems. By this stage in the game, most companies have spent a lot of time capturing those “memories” or anecdotes about customers, and storing them in some kind of system – maybe a CRM, Data Warehouse or Data Lake. But most are facing the reality that all of that information isn’t doing a lot of good when it can’t be accessed and used when it counts – like for someone’s birthday.
So… if passing the Birthday Present Test involves sifting through a bunch of spreadsheets, requesting a query of a massive database, bribing your IT team, or simply guessing based on mass trends versus individual preferences, all while hoping the data you do have is still relevant… you’re probably not managing your customer information effectively.
Which means you’re not managing your customer relationships effectively.
If you treated your friends the way some companies treat their customers—using messy, incomplete and hard-to-access data—you probably wouldn’t have that many friends. And everyone wants close, lifelong friends (and customers!)