Are You Listening to What Your Customers Are Telling You? on bdex.com

Are You Listening to What Your Customers Are Telling You?

Data is important to your marketing efforts, but personalization matters more

Over the last several years, if one thing has dominated business and marketing more than anything else, it’s data. Companies are constantly striving to get it and use it to better attract customers. However, while data can offer great insight into buying behavior, a recent survey of marketing leaders found that for many businesses, consumers are just being turned into numbers.

According to the report, 41 percent of respondents said it was a challenge focusing on creating and fostering customer relationships instead of marketing campaigns. In addition, about 30 percent said they often had a tough time remembering that they were trying to target actual human beings. Even more troubling is the fact that, of the 152 senior marketing executives polled, zero felt they were ready to use new points of intelligence to offer customers a better experience or to boost brand engagement.

“Somewhere in our adoption of data, technology and process, the customer and the very real, human and fragile relationships that marketers have worked so hard to build have been lost, giving way to settling for assumptions about broad personas and an almost obsessive focus on campaign performance,” says Liz Miller. Miller is the SVP of marketing with the CMO Council, the company that produced the report along with Harte Hanks.

Bant Breen of Harte Hanks believes organizations have no excuse for not understanding their customers and what they want.

“In every point of connection, our customers leave small data clues behind that can enrich our current profiles and give brands the insights needed to craft the right combination of message, channel, and timing,” Breen said. “Customers will always tell us what they need. The real question is: Are we listening?”

It’s not just about data; it’s about the right data

That “Are we listening?” question from Breen gets to the heart of the matter. It’s not good enough anymore to know what a customer bought; companies need to also know what they’re looking to buy, and even what they’re planning to buy right now. How can they do this? By targeting the right people so they can reach them on a personal level.

Developing human connectivity with your customers

While you probably have an idea of the type of people who would be interested in your products or services, if this doesn’t involve much more than their gender and age range, it’s time to dig much deeper. With more than 5,500 data categories and over a trillion data points, businesses can use BDEX’s Data Exchange Platform to find a specific group of consumers to target. They can also use the up-to-the-minute real-time data we collect.

We get this information from point-of-sale systems, geofencing, and by seeing what people recently bought online and what they are currently thinking about buying. And with cross-device matching through our comprehensive identity graph, we can also understand customer behaviors and intents no matter which devices they use or how often they switch from one to another.

Once a company knows who their ideal customers are and where and when to reach them, suddenly it’s like they’ve been handed the keys to the kingdom. Now they can create personalized marketing messages based on someone’s behavior. This could include sending them a coupon code for the type of product they’re looking for, offering complementary items for something recently bought, or encouraging them to visit a store when they know they are nearby.

While data is now essential for marketing purposes, it’s not the information itself that is so important; it’s how companies use it to build relationships with their customers. If you’re having trouble developing that kind of human connectivity, get in touch with BDEX by filling out our online contact form.

Is Your Business Ready for Identity-Based Marketing? on bdex.com

Is Your Business Ready for Identity-Based Marketing?

Identity marketing promises more-effective and more-efficient efforts to engage your best customers. Is your company prepared to make the most of it?

Most businesses nowadays have a grasp of the basics of who their best customers are. But how much do they really know about what motivates them? The better they know their best customers, the more likely they are to be able to reach them with relevant experiences that will deepen the relationship.

“Personalization is more important today than ever before. The proliferation of devices and channels, such as mobile and social, has fundamentally changed the way that customers interact with companies and brands. This has led to what Forrester calls the mobile mind shift: the expectation that you can get exactly what you want in your immediate context and at your immediate moment of need.”
“The Power of Personalization” Forrester Consulting for PwC, December 2015

Meeting these expectations requires the integration of data sources to form a tangible collection of information that accurately identifies the behavior of a single prospect, which then allows real personalization of sales approaches to them and makes the interaction as meaningful as possible.

Do you think you’re ready to get started on the path to real human connectivity? Here are some of the items to think about before you embark on this worthy undertaking.

Is the customer experience you hope to provide the one they perceive?

In business, we all like to think that the things we strive to be known for are, in actuality, what customers take away from each interaction with us. That thought could be spot-on, or it might be way off. It’s important for companies to know where they stand with their customers and how successful they are in actually delivering their desired customer experience. It will allow them to proceed with confidence or alter their methods to be able to achieve the experience they’re after.

Does your company continuously develop and expand its knowledge of its audience?

This level of curiosity is crucial for a successful identity-marketing campaign. Companies have to know their customers to the point that they can recognize individuals across different platforms. That way, they can identify buying patterns and get a sense of how they buy and what their lifestyle is really like. What makes customers interested in what the business has to offer and keeps them loyal in the long run? BDEX can help reveal those answers.

Does your company wish it had even deeper insights?

Identity resolution provides the opportunity to examine customer data in context and get a real sense of customers’ relevant behaviors in the course of their daily lives. BDEX delivers access to this more in-depth understanding and helps companies realize how they can serve customer needs, and how to strengthen and solidify the ongoing relationships they have with them.

Is your company a stickler for contact management?

Companies often keep an extensive customer database, chock full of contact details and transaction data. They also often know they’re not putting that data to work in the most effective way possible. Despite this wealth of data, they have only the most superficial knowledge of what makes their customers tick, never mind what makes them buy, and even less about what makes them loyal.

In the end, the realization of these blind spots, despite the wealth of data they have in their possession, is the biggest sign that their organization is ready to embrace identity marketing.

It sounds like you’re ready for us

Sometimes you have to learn what you don’t know before you can kick-start your business’s growth curve. Partner with BDEX and see what the landscape looks like when you’ve filled the gaps in your knowledge, and things start moving forward and upward.

BDEX endows your marketing with the power and insight that comes from human connectivity. Call 917-410-6616 or contact us to learn how marketing solutions from BDEX can help you with your present and future marketing data needs.

Case Study: How a People-Based Marketing Approach Delivered a Flood of New Customers on bdex.com

Case Study: How a People-Based Marketing Approach Delivered a Flood of New Customers

How BDEX helped attract almost 25,000 new consumers, and a potentially huge new revenue stream, to a pet supply chain

A major pet supplies retailer brought in nearly 25,000 new customers and about $740,000 in revenue by turning to BDEX and its data platform to draw pet owners away from the competition.

The retailer came to BDEX with a problem: How to bring in new customers who were shopping at other brick-and-mortar stores or, increasingly, online. “Their industry has some online powerhouses, like chewy.com,” says BDEX CEO David Finkelstein. “It’s quite easy for someone to just order online and not go into their store.”

Offering a premium retail experience

So, what did this retailer do to differentiate itself from its online competitors? The first goal was to focus on customer service and providing shoppers with an exceptional experience. Plus, they stressed something that no eCommerce company could offer: the chance to take their furry friends shopping with them.

The stakes are high: In the U.S. in 2018, over $72.5 billion was spent on pets, and this was up about 3 billion from 2017. It’s estimated that by the end of this year, Americans will spend more than $75 billion on their pets. And while that’s certainly a ton of money, some businesses are having a hard time getting it, namely, brick-and-mortar stores.

Getting customers to make that first visit

Offering amazing in-store service to both people and their pets was a good start, but that didn’t solve the problem of actually getting them to visit in the first place. “The issue is that, in order for the customer to even know that that exists and experience what they have, you have to get them to make the first purchase,” says Finkelstein.

BDEX applied its people-based marketing approach to not only help the company reach new shoppers but to then turn them into regular customers.

Data to the rescue

To find these customers, the retailer used the BDEX Data Exchange Platform along with geofencing to find customers who had shopped at competing stores within a 3-mile radius of their 450+ outlets. The data were obtained from retail point-of-sale systems and from online purchases, matched with geofencing data to pinpoint their proximity to stores.

That may sound complex, but it’s actually pretty simple, Finkelstein says. “Basically, the platform does all the work. All we really need to do is identify the eight segments that define who the target consumer is that they want to reach.”

A very profitable outcome

In total, 1.3 million consumers were identified. The retailer then embarked on a direct-mail campaign that sent everyone in that target audience a postcard with a 15% off coupon. So, instead of the traditional approach of blanketing media outlets with generic ads, BDEX enabled the retailer to focus only on those nearby who had purchased pet supplies.

The results were impressive: Almost 25,000 of those coupons were redeemed, and the average purchase price was $30. Overall, the campaign brought in more than $740,000, which was 28 times greater than the initial data investment of $26,000. And that return will only grow if these new people keep coming back. “The interesting part is, and I don’t know enough about the lifetime value of a customer, but this probably turns into all kinds of revenue,” says Finkelstein.

Pet supplies and beyond

The marketing firm for the pet supplies company was so happy with the results, many of its other clients are now working with BDEX. These include leaders in several industries, such as auto supplies, gas, and furniture. The beauty of the BDEX data platform is that it can help clients achieve genuine human connectivity, and new revenue, over a wide range of verticals.

To discover what we can do for your business, contact us and a representative will get in touch.

Personalized Marketing: Your Competitive Edge on bdex.com

Personalized Marketing: Your Competitive Edge

Mastering personalization is one of the most important aspects of your modern marketing strategy. Here’s why it’s so important

For decades, the average consumer has been constantly surrounded by advertisements that don’t pertain to their specific desires, needs, or place in life, and customers have become pretty used to that. So, when an ad does speak to them on an individual level, it’s a big deal.

This is why marketers are focusing more attention on personalization in their strategies. Instead of sending out a message to the unknown in hopes that someone will bite, marketing is becoming more advanced. Now the ideal customer can be reached in real-time, about something they care about or want.

To get to that place of real human connectivity, it’s first important to consider how you’re getting your data and if you’re getting the right data. What’s behind the tools that will give you the results you need? Artificial intelligence (AI). Now more than ever, marketers have access to big data that provides the real-time, deep insights needed to reach people.

AI tools enable this hyper-personalization, which is the ability to use real-time data to deliver content, products, services, or experiences to a hand-picked audience. Because many marketers aren’t getting the right data, or don’t know how to use the data, creating a successful strategy can set you apart, and fast.

So how do you master the art of personalization, and does it really work?

Using customer data and insight

The use of customer data and advanced analysis of that data is a big trend across industries, but it’s especially relevant to marketing. A report from Accenture, which surveyed almost 1,000 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and 500-plus CEOs at large organizations, shows that 31 percent of CEOs expect CMOs to base new products, services, and experiences off of customer data that’s been gathered and analyzed.

Using customer data means behavior patterns can not only be discovered and monitored but also predicted. In fact, a report from Ascend2 showed that predictive analytics was considered the most effective strategy for hyper-personalization.

Leveraging real-time data and predictive analytics leads to relevant advertisements that reach the audience you want, right when they want to see them.

Accenture says businesses who use this kind of thinking are considered “living businesses,” meaning that:

  • The customer is central to decision-making.
  • The business responds to and anticipates consumer needs and driving forces.
  • The business continues to adapt quickly to maintain relevance, thus sustaining growth.

The third point is a big one since marketing is constantly changing. Of the CEOs and CMOs surveyed by Accenture, 90 percent reported that they believe marketers’ roles will change in big ways, just over the next three years alone.

This is why planning for the future, and staying up to date on what competitors are doing and the research that’s being released, is crucial for successful personalization strategy and continued growth.

Personalization helps the bottom line

While building meaningful relationships and making lasting connections should be at top of mind when creating any marketing strategy, it helps, of course, if efforts can support business growth. This enables the company to stay even more competitive in an ever-changing industry.

According to the same Accenture report, CMOs who put “hyper-relevant” customer experiences at the top of the priority list generated 11 percent higher shareholder returns in one year.

McKinsey data shows that personalization can mean five to eight times more ROI on marketing spend and can increase sales by 10 percent, sometimes more. And it makes sense – customers care about real, genuine connections, and they’ve learned to not pay attention to ads (or brands) unless they pertain to their personal experiences and desires.

However, the report from Ascend2 shows that only 9 percent of marketing influencers have fully implemented a hyper-personalization strategy. So, doing this now will not only connect you with customers, build more meaningful relationships, and help the bottom line; you’ll also see big benefits from gaining that competitive advantage.

The BDEX difference

Because personalization matters for both your relevance and your sustainability, BDEX makes it easy. Our BDEX Data Exchange Platform (DXP) provides real-time targeting opportunities, with over 900 billion data signals on U.S. customers, over 5,500 different categories to choose from and the ability to match customer IDs with over 700 million connections between email and mobile IDs and cookie and email IDs.

We understand how important it is to personalize your strategy to stay competitive and to reach the right people at the right time. That’s why our data infrastructure powers what really matters: human connectivity.

Contact us today to learn more about our DXP.

Restaurant Marketing: How to Use Real-Time Data to Increase Loyalty on bdex.com

Restaurant Marketing: How to Use Real-Time Data to Increase Loyalty

Readily available data can help restaurants connect with their customers and strengthen those relationships online – which can be key to remaining competitive

The competitive landscape for restaurants is as intense as ever. No eatery – whether chain or “mom and pop” – can afford to ignore the wealth of data that can help them create and maintain ongoing customer relationships.

At BDEX, we consider this a principle: The more competitive an industry is, the more those in it will need real-time data to enrich those customer relationships. And when we think of competitive business segments, few can beat the restaurant game, with its endless number and variety of competitors.

The winners in any marketplace are the ones who dynamically identify customer wants and needs and fulfill those desires elegantly. But whether it’s an established local chain or the new upscale brasserie in town, how can a restaurant hope to contend with big brands – on both the low and high end – that can dedicate considerable sums to their data-gathering efforts?

First, size isn’t everything

A local restaurant or small chain – where the owners are often on premises and the staff is encouraged to bond with and get to know the patrons – is better able to form real person-to-person relationships with them. This gives them a significant advantage over the large national chains when it comes to creating customer loyalty.

Smaller operations are also closer to the ground. The person using the data is far less removed from the customer than the people running that competing chain from a distant corporate office. This gives small restaurants or groups a massive advantage because when they get their hands on the data, they can understand how it applies to the real world and gain actionable insights from it.

That puts them way ahead of most companies. Case in point: A study from Forrester and DataStax found that 95 percent of companies can’t make sense of customer data and struggle to get much meaningful insight from it.

Fostering “Human Connectivity”

It’s probably a good bet that any successful restaurateur is a good host, adept at making people feel welcome and connecting with them. An effective customer marketing plan supercharges that ability by enabling them to connect beyond their doors and invite customers to come back for new dining experiences.

That begins with the customer list, which operators can cull from point-of-sale data. Transaction data can give restaurants a picture of those patrons, revealing how often they dine at the restaurant, how much they spend, what time of the day they prefer, whether they tend to order from the wine list and those who have visited just once.

By matching that list to customers’ online accounts, restaurants can:

  • Connect with them online, through such avenues as social media, email, and newsletters, as well as offline.
  • Tailor marketing messages to the customer’s profile to entice them to come in more often.
  • Keep the lines of communication open between visits, and even create an opt-in email list that will keep the eatery’s biggest fans in the know on its latest offerings, promotions, and general news.
  • Through geofencing, restaurants can use location data to know when customers, or even prospective diners, are nearby and then make efforts to get them to visit.

The most successful restaurant operations will use data to cultivate repeat customers and keep them loyal – which is one of the first things investors look for. Being able to connect with your diners often means they’ll visit more often, spend more and refer their friends and colleagues. That means, of course, more customers. And in such a competitive industry, that can translate to not only surviving but thriving.

BDEX is committed to building the data infrastructure restaurants need to power human connectivity. Call 917-410-6616 or use our website contact form to learn how marketing solutions from BDEX can help you reach out to your best customers and keep them in the fold.

The Martech Training Boom on bdex.com

The Martech Training Boom

The Martech arms race is creating tremendous demand for trained and certified digital marketing professionals. Trade organizations, for-profit companies, colleges, and universities are responding with a growing array of online and in-person options.

One of the primary challenges facing CMOs today is developing in-house digital marketing expertise needed to harness the power of in-house and third-party data.

Many companies are working to bring core data marketing technologies as well as digital marketing and advertising functions in-house. The effort will require not only spending billions of dollars on IT infrastructure but training or recruiting thousands of employees needed to build, maintain and run highly complex and often AI-enabled systems.

Marketers need new skills

A traditional marketing or advertising education consists of a bachelor’s degree in advertising, marketing, or journalism, with classes on consumer behavior, market research, sales, and the like. As marketing has become increasingly data-driven, marketers must continually build upon that foundation by becoming fluent in a wide and rapidly changing array of technologies and platforms.

Today’s marketing ecosystem is complex and poised to get more so as data continues to grow exponentially. In 2019, digital voice assistants and smart TVs will swell the amount of real-time data signals available to marketers. As the torrent of consumer data grows, companies need employees who can decide which data matter and how to integrate it into an increasingly complex data marketing infrastructure and strategy.

To stay competitive, CMOs are increasingly turning towards training and certification programs. Below we highlight just a few being offered by reputable trade organizations, companies, and academic institutions.

MarTech® Conference Workshops

MarTech® offers a variety of workshops at its conferences designed to provide marketers a deep dive into such topics as agile marketing, customer data platforms, buying marketing technology, creating connected experiences, or building a marketing team with talent optimization. Workshops offered at MarTech’s recently concluded conference in San Jose, California included “The Right Way to Buy Marketing Technology,” “Using CDP to Make the Most of Your Customer Data,” and “Agile Marketing Advantage.” The company’s next conference, MarTech® East, is scheduled to take place in Boston in September 2019.

IAB training certifications

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) offers certifications in Digital Media Sales, Digital Media Buying and Planning and Digital Ad Operations.

More than 9,500 participants representing more than 300 publishers, agencies, and ad technology vendors have enrolled in IAB’s certification programs since they were established in 2012. Many of the nation’s leading media companies—including AOL, Bloomberg, CBS Interactive, Collective, Condé Nast, Discovery Communications, NBCUniversal, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable Media, and Tremor Video—have pledged to have all eligible digital sellers across their organizations become IAB-certified.

The Digital Media Sales and Digital Ad Operations programs earned the American National Standard Institute’s (ANSI) first accreditation in digital advertising in 2015. The ANSI accreditation process, based on international benchmarks, increases the integrity, confidence, and mobility of certified professionals, and represents the highest standard in personnel certification.

Shoptalk

Shoptalk launched two education initiatives at its 2019 conference, which drew 8,400 people to Las Vegas from March 3-6. The first is a standardized set of sessions referred to as Shoptalk’s Core Curriculum, which covers many of the fundamentals of retail and will be repeated annually with updated perspectives and examples.

Shoptalk also launched an Annual Retail Education Certificate which is awarded to those individuals who complete 10 credits of continuing education at Shoptalk conferences. This certificate helps recipients distinguish themselves at a time when there is a significant divide in retail industry professionals’ knowledge of digital innovation.

Collegiate degree and certificate programs

A growing number of academic institutions are offering certification programs, ranging from community colleges to elite business schools such as Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.

Duke University has partnered with Simplilearn, an online training provider, to deliver a curriculum that provides students with advanced knowledge of the eight most important digital marketing domains and includes real-world projects and virtual simulations for practical experience. The program offers hands-on simulation labs and projects for practical learning with 350 combined instruction/study hours. Completion of the program meets the course criteria to sit for the Online Marketing Certified Professional certification exam.

As one of the world’s first data exchange platforms, BDEX is dedicated to building the infrastructure to power human connectivity. Contact us today to learn how we marketers access the best third-party data inexpensively, quickly and easily.