You have no doubt over the last few years been bombarded by messages about “big data.” What it is, where it comes from, and why it needs to be a part of your marketing strategy. It’s true – big data sources are great, when used correctly and part of a well crafted strategy. However, when ranking the sources of consumer data, and how valuable it can be to your business, CRM (owned) data still reigns supreme.

CRM (customer relationship management) data is simply information that your company has collected on your customers and prospects over time. It may be as complex as intricate customer files in a CRM software system, such as HubSpot or Salesforce, or as simple as an Excel file that can be exported from your marketing email platform. Some retailers use digital POS systems, which are great at collecting consumer data, especially via loyalty reward programs. Wherever your data comes from or wherever it’s stored, the most important piece of this puzzle is that you collect it.

What Can Be Done with CRM Data? There are numerous ways you can leverage your owned data to better target and tailor your marketing strategy to make the best use of your budget. The following are a few strategies that apply to nearly any business or industry.

Directly Target Your Current Customers & Prospects

There can be times when big data and owned data can be married beautifully. By exporting and uploading your CRM lists to various ad networks, such as Google’s display networks, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even a media network such as MLive or Advance Ohio, you can target the devices of those who have done business with you in the past, or at least submitted their information to you as a lead. These ad networks scrub your data and match the user in your CRM with users in their own networks. This allows for a more targeted approach, which presents fantastic opportunities, such as upselling or cross-selling current clients who have already trusted your brand or asking your prospects to take the next step in their purchase path.

Build Lookalike Audiences that Mirror Your Best Customers

Another way these big data networks can be leveraged with your owned data is by building lookalike audiences. Common demographics and interests are pulled from your own customer lists, and the network strikes out to find more people in a defined geography that exhibit the same types behaviors. For instance, if you were a coffee shop owner you would want to target coffee purchasers digitally. However, these intelligent ad networks could also pull out of your customer data that your regular visitors also have a higher than average affinity for purchasing dairy products and generally skew to be younger and more eco-friendly. Lookalike audiences are built from data like this, to introduce your brand to users who may have not engaged with you in the past. Generally, engagement rates are higher and cost per leads are lower when used lookalike audiences vs. utilizing an ad network’s demographics targeting alone.

Understand Your Customers
With Audience Profile Reports

As mentioned previously, there are many user behaviors that can be identified by analyzing CRM data. For companies that have substantial owned data on customers and prospects (generally 1000 or more customer records) an audience profile report can be derived from that information. Not only does this process identify demographics and behaviors, such as age, income range, education, and marital status, but will index them against the general population in the geographic area where you are trying to gain share. It’s even possible to segment the data of current customers against prospects, where you could see what differentiates the two groups, and customize your creative and messaging to help foster strong brand connections with those who currently do not purchase from you. Reports such as these can influence every step of a digital marketing campaign, from audience targeting to creative, all the way down the funnel to conversion.

Email Campaigns

It may seem like a no-brainer – your customers or prospects have opted into communications from your business, of course you’re going to communicate with them. However, many companies drop the ball on what is the easiest use of owned data out there. Generally, this comes down to a lack of planning, or lack of delegation. Someone in your company needs to own the email channel, plan the content, and utilize a content calendar to ensure you have consistency in your message frequency. Open rates for marketing emails are higher in 2020 than in previous years, due to people spending more time with their devices. Make this current trend work in your favor.

In closing, if you have any questions about utilizing your owned data to supercharge your digital marketing, please reach out to us – we’re experienced in executing these strategies across various industries with measurable success and would be happy to talk.

Contributed by Ryan Winfield, Digital Strategy Manager


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