Customer Intelligence: Still Wondering Why Your Marketing Plans Aren’t Working?

Every day we marketers are bombarded with the latest buzzwords that promise to fix our marketing strategy. Your LinkedIn feed is likely full of buzzwords like ‘Personalization’, ‘Fail Fast,’ ‘Omnichannel’, ‘Predictive Analytics’ and of course, the golden child of the moment, AI… but don’t worry, we’re not going to get into that!

But what do these buzzwords add up to other than glorified LinkedIn posts? How can they actually support our marketing strategies, and not just create more frustrations? Frustrations like…running multi-channel campaigns across the whole funnel. Only for your tracking to fail. Customers taking non-linear journeys, and the difficulty of achieving single-channel attribution. Or… how broad segmentation used to be enough. But now we need to do more to deliver personalization and ensure deliverability. CTR and Open Rates are no longer the name of the game…

Because marketing has changed.

And these days a successful marketing strategy is all about focusing on what will deliver the most growth. Customer Intelligence. With this process, you won’t be getting distracted by the latest buzzwords. You’ll be bringing them all together to form a strategy to achieve your 2024 goals.

In this article, we’ve laid out the 8 parts to the modern marketing playbook to launch your customer intelligence.

What is Customer Intelligence?

Customer intelligence is about gaining insights to enhance service, boost conversions, and fuel growth. You do this by gathering, analyzing, and interpreting customer data to understand their behaviors, preferences, and needs.

It involves data from various sources—customer interactions, transactions, social media, and more. Then using analytical tools to extract valuable patterns, empowering you to make informed decisions, enhance customer relationships, and drive growth by leveraging a deep understanding of your customer base.

It might sound complex, but don’t worry we’ve got you covered with our 8 steps to kickstart your marketing strategy success.

1. Create A Holistic Customer Understanding

This is all about creating a comprehensive and complete picture of a customer by gathering and analyzing data from various touchpoints and interactions – be it online interactions, social media engagements, or offline experiences. It’s about creating a 360-degree view of the customer by integrating data from various sources to gain a holistic understanding of their journey.

In practical terms, this means going beyond a superficial understanding and delving into the intricacies of how a customer interacts with a brand across different channels. By creating a holistic customer understanding, you can tailor your strategy to align with individual preferences, needs, and behaviors, leading to more effective and personalized marketing campaigns.

💡 Got budget for tech?
A customer data platform (CDP) is a great tool when looking to launch a customer intelligence strategy. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is software that combines customer data from different sources to create a unified profile, helping businesses personalize marketing and improve customer engagement.

Working with a limited budget?
Budgets are tight, we get it and pushing for a CDP when you have a small budget isn’t the right move. Instead, a data analytics platform can be a massive help in linking all your data together.
If you’re really struggling for budget, many of the data sources (social media channels, email campaigns, Google Analytics etc) will provide enough information in their own reporting for you to bring it all together manually and gain a basic understanding. You will have to export and find a way to unify the data with Excel or Google Sheets. It can be more tedious, but it will be your first steps into gaining customer intelligence before investing in a data analytics or CDP platform.

email marketing for retailer guide

2. Work Off Real-time Insights

Can you name one marketing activity that doesn’t create or require data? It’s a tough challenge, we know! This on top of how dynamic marketing is, means that weekly or monthly reporting doesn’t cut it anymore for modern marketers.

Unlike traditional approaches that rely on historical data, modern customer intelligence leverages real-time data analytics . This allows us to identify trends, track changes in customer behavior, and adapt marketing strategies quickly. The ability to act on fresh insights gives a competitive edge in a fast-paced market. And don’t forget, it’s not just for customer acquisition, nearly 60% of business leaders globally saw an increase in customer retention by using real-time data analytics.

💡 Make your data speak louder
The right data analytics tool will help you bring together your data into a real-time dashboard, accessible anytime. This sounds expensive, but there are many cost-effective options for smaller budgets. The time you save mixed with the insights provided will be a gamechanger for your marketing strategy.
If you really have no budget, then Google Analytics and social media insights will provide real-time marketing data. Whatever your budget, to maximize real-time insights, it’s crucial to establish clear KPIs to measure ROI, define alerts for critical events, and empower your team to act quickly based on the available data.

blog data driven predictive marketing

3. Embrace Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics uses statistical algorithms and machine learning to predict future outcomes based on historical data. It involves analyzing patterns, trends, and relationships within data to make predictions about future events or behaviors. In a marketing context, predictive analytics can be applied to various aspects, such as customer behavior, lead scoring, campaign optimization, and sales forecasting.

Now that sounds intimidating. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a data scientist or use expensive tech to achieve this. It’s all about making good use of your historical data to inform what may happen in the future.

💡 Pro tip
Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget to introduce a predictive analytics tool. Remember, it’s all about using historical data to identify patterns. Learning how to leverage Excel or Google Sheets is a great place to start, and if you have some budget then a data analytics tool can help speed up this process.

4. Personalize Your Content at Scale

Modern customer intelligence enables us to move beyond broad segmentation to personalized marketing at scale. By understanding individual preferences, we can deliver tailored content, recommendations, and experiences that resonate with each customer, fostering stronger relationships and loyalty.

Personalization goes beyond referring to someone by their first name in an email, and with the amount of data you have available from your marketing activities, (email, CRM, Google Analytics, social media etc) it’s easier than ever to start adopting a personalized strategy.

💡 Dig into your customers and leads online behavior
Review the tools you have available, there will likely be something that can help you start to personalize content on scale. For instance, if you have a CRM like HubSpot, you can connect it to your website and start tracking what pages people in your system are looking at. From this, you can build out a personalized campaign that’s relevant to them.

If your CRM and website don’t offer these features, you can build out enhanced customer segments based on actions people take. Use A/B testing, encourage feedback for refinement and if possible, test dynamic content in emails and on your website.

5. Eat and Breathe Omnichannel Plans

Today’s customers interact with brands through multiple channels. Modern customer intelligence helps optimize these interactions by understanding how customers move seamlessly between online and offline touchpoints. This ensures a consistent and cohesive experience across all channels.

Achieving successful omnichannel marketing involves understanding the customer journey, integrating unified data, and implementing cross-channel analytics. Consistent branding, a responsive web design, and the integration of systems contribute to a seamless user experience.

webinar advanced data security

6. Get Obsessed With Data Privacy and Compliance 

For marketers, being data-driven is a necessity. It’s critical to everything we do, but how we use that data is now also a key focus for our customers. 33% of consumers switch companies or providers over their data policies or data-sharing practices. Making ethical data use not only a legal requirement with 140 national and multinational privacy laws globally, but a crucial part of building customer trust and supporting the delivery of great customer experience.

The previous five steps all require the collection and use of data, but it’s important to remember you need to do this responsibly and transparently. 

💡 Data regulations can no longer be dismissed
Get to grips with data regulations (GDPR, CPPA, CCPA etc), and not just those relevant to your own country as some will apply to your business if you are processing international data.

You should also look to implement robust consent mechanisms, regularly update privacy policies and notices, and conduct Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs). Remember, transparency is key so make sure your customers and website visitors are aware of what you have in place and how seriously you take their data.

7. Feed Sales Teams With Actionable Insights

These days, customers prefer to do their own research before speaking to a salesperson, especially in the B2B context. However, the sales team is still an important part of the customer journey so it’s essential to set them up for success. You can do this by correctly setting up your marketing activities and tracking them. This will equip your sales team with invaluable customer intelligence.

Modern customer intelligence goes beyond lead scoring to provide deep insights into the challenges, needs, and preferences of individual businesses. When done correctly you should have enough information to know what got them to this point, what messaging worked, their potential pain points and how much information they already know. Knowing more about customers helps salespeople build a trusting relationship and deliver a smooth customer experience.

💡 Building strong relationships with sales is crucial
Remember, just because you can see the value in a new tool or process, implementing a change can be difficult. It can be challenging for people to change the way they work, which means any new activity needs a change management plan with realistic expectations. Communication is key, and building great relationships with the sales team will make it easier to change how you work.

8. Learn to Fail Fast and Improve Continuously

‘Fail Fast’ – ok so we nearly got away with not bringing in any more ‘buzzwords’ in this article but stay with us! Like all marketing activities, modern customer intelligence is an ongoing process of learning and adapting.

‘Fail Fast’ in marketing comes from agile methodologies and start-up culture. It encourages marketers to quickly test strategies, campaigns, or ideas and, if necessary, to abandon or pivot from those that aren’t delivering. By regularly reviewing and refining our strategies based on new data and insights, we make sure that our marketing efforts stay relevant and effective in the ever-changing landscape.

💡 Fail Fast doesn’t mean constantly changing tactics
You need to focus on the continuous improvement aspect and only launch the way of working once you have a solid marketing strategy as a foundation. Otherwise, you run the risk of being a tactical marketer and forgetting about strategy.

Customer Intelligence, It’s Time To Get Started

Like most strategies in marketing, modern customer intelligence is all about harnessing the power of data. At first, it can seem intimidating, but the reality is it’s about making the most out of what you already have, and working in new ways.

When done correctly, you’ll be able to understand, connect and engage with customers in a way that is personalized, timely and ethical. This in turn will drive business success for both B2B and B2C marketers. And the best bit? You don’t always need the biggest budget to make small changes that can have a big impact.

Good luck! 😉