Your customer database is a potential fountain of opportunities to improve campaign targeting, creative messaging and return on marketing investment. Good database analysis can have a huge positive effect on your business. Your database can tell you who your customers are, where they live, what kind of people they are, what they buy, how they pay, what they might buy next and how you should advertise to them to maximise sales. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
At the most basic level your database should contain a name and address for each record. The name and address can give you valuable information. The postcode in the address opens up the potential for geodemographic analysis using tools like ACORN or MOSAIC. These tools work by grouping consumers into clusters of similar people based on the types of neighbourhoods they live in. The principle behind these systems is simple; birds of a feather flock together. The owners of these segmentation systems undertake research into the clusters they have developed. For example, Cluster 1 may contain people who are known to be affluent pre-retirement couples with children who have left home. Research may show that these people are three times more likely to drive a certain car, purchase certain electrical products or take holidays to certain destinations. So from just the address record you can build a much wider picture of the record in question.
But the full name and address have even more potential. They can be used to match your customer file with an external data file containing more information about the same person. This data can come from many sources, but more often it comes from lifestyle surveys. If a customer in your database has completed a lifestyle survey then you can buy supplementary information to significantly expand what you know about that person.Here’s an example. You may only know the name, address and age of a customer. But if that record can be matched with a respondent to a lifestyle survey then you can see the answers to tens or even hundreds of other purchase preference questions that person has shared. For example, you may be able to see what type of car they own, when it was bought, when they intend to replace it. They may even tell you what type of car they are considering next.
If you have transactional data then you are able to undertake an analysis of the types of products and services bought by the customer. From this data you would be able to say that a customer owns products X, Y and Z and you will probably know when they bought those products. You will be able to see how the often products are purchased and the preferred means of payment. If there is cyclical behaviour in the purchase pattern you may be able to predict when this customer is likely to purchase those products again.
With these high levels of customer understanding you are able to take a lot of the guesswork out of marketing. You can be much more focussed in terms of selling specific products to specific individuals. As a result you response, conversion and customer value rates are likely to improve significantly.