Getting your customer data to work harder

Getting closer to your audience is something that every marketer should be passionate about, and one aspect of this is a shift to interacting at the individual level with customers, whether they’re authors, readers, students, society members, or institutions. Personally engaging with your users is of course part of this, and it’s rare to see a company in our industry that doesn’t have an active presence on social media to connect with their customers in this way. But there are other techniques to connect your customers with the news, product information or services that are most relevant to them.

Personalised marketing is something that’s gaining more traction as technology gives us new ways to interact with, and query, the data we hold about our customers. Amazon is a great example of how this data can be put to work – the coverage of their databases is so broad and deep that they can recommend products for customers to you based on your browsing or purchasing history. They’ll also use data from millions of transactions to let you know what other people purchased alongside the items in your shopping cart. As a customer, you benefit by seeing other potentially useful items alongside the product you’re searching for – and Amazon benefits with every additional item you add to your cart. But you don’t need to have the same wealth of data at your fingertips to make some potentially game-changing alterations to your customer marketing.

If you’re already collecting customer data beyond contact information – for example, particular product types, subject areas, or event attendance – and if you use email marketing software that supports customised content, you can create highly tailored marketing communications that ensure each customer in your database sees the items that are of most relevance to them. With the average subscriber receiving over 400 marketing emails a month, making your email messages more relevant will help you cut through the inbox clutter and connect your customers with the information that’s of greatest value to them.

Getting started with personalised communication does need a little investment, from effective segmentation through to the preparation of tailored copy – but with customers increasingly expecting that marketing messages take into account the data you hold about them, it’s an area that is only going to become more important.