The business world has rapidly become customer-centric, thanks to an explosion of technology and the Internet. You’ll need to understand your customer at least as much as they know themselves — if not better — to keep up with the competition.
That’s where customer intelligence comes in. By gathering the right customer data and turning that into customer intelligence, you can gain a keen understanding of your customers and continue to grow in a rapidly shifting business environment.
In this post, we’ll define customer intelligence and look over its benefits. We’ll then review how to gather customer intelligence and use it to move the needle in your business.
What is Customer Intelligence?
Customer intelligence involves gathering customer data and analyzing it to find insights you can use to drive growth. This data can be demographic, psychographic, behavioral, transactional, and so on.
By gathering customer intelligence, you can learn more about who your customer is.
Benefits of Customer Intelligence
Better Marketing Messaging
You learn more about who your customer is, which helps you create a more tailored marketing message. Plus, you can make new products or features that better address your customer.
Improved Sales Process
Customer intelligence helps to build a more effective sales process. You can monitor the customer’s journey and tailor your marketing message based on where each customer is. Also, you can identify the best-working sales tactics and instruct your sales team to use those.
Stronger Customer Loyalty
Once you know your customer as well as they know themselves, it’s easy to build loyalty. You just have to create a brand persona that they can relate to. Your customer will feel much more understood, trusting your brand more.
Keeping Up With Market Changes
Industries such as e-commerce and retail change fast. Falling just a bit behind on market knowledge can put you at a considerable disadvantage.
By using customer intelligence, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your market. You’ll always know which way it’s going and be able to adjust accordingly.
How Do You Build Customer Intelligence?
Invest in the Right Technology
To gather customer intelligence, you need to have the proper technology. First, look at what current technology you have and see if it’s adequate for monitoring customer activity across all your channels. The more data you can gather from your customer channels, the better.
If it isn’t, you might need to invest in a customer intelligence platform. You need a platform that can keep track of data on all marketing channels in real-time.
Collect Your Customer Data
You should always be collecting and evaluating data to keep up with your industry.
Anyway, now it’s time to gather data.
There are several types of customer data you need.
- Demographic: This tells you objective information about who the customer is. You can collect demographic data using surveys, statistics, records, and accounts.
- Psychographic: This tells you about the customer’s personality and attitudes, and why they are that way. You can gather psychographic data from surveys, questionnaires, customer interviews, reviews, and testimonials.
- Behavioral: This tells you what they do when interacting with your brand. You can gather behavioral data by monitoring customer activity on your site, looking at comments, and website vs. mobile browsing, to name a few sources.
- Transactional: This tells you how the customer spends money with your brand. You can gather transaction data by looking at orders, customer service interactions, and payment methods, to name a few.
Evaluate Your Data
Now, it’s time to analyze your data. You should pick metrics that matter to your business, but also make sure they help you build a complete picture of your customer.
Remember to continually analyze your data to keep up with customer and industry changes.
Ways To Use Your Customer Intelligence to Your Advantage
1. Hone Your Brand Voice and Tone
Knowing your audience thoroughly is key to building a bond with them. You want to talk like they talk and align your marketing messages with their values. Otherwise, you risk sounding “corporate.”
Doing so allows you to build a brand persona that resonates with them.
Of course, gathering customer intelligence helps you learn what your market values are and how they talk about their problems. With customer intelligence in hand, you can define your tone in blog posts, corporate videos, social media, email, and other marketing channels.
2. Add Personalization to Your Customer Experience
Personalization can cut customer acquisition costs and increase marketing spend efficiency. After all, if you make a customer feel special and present them with products that are more likely to solve their problem, they’ll probably buy.
Customer intelligence helps you personalize service to each customer. For example, GiliSports uses customer data to personalize product recommendations. It’ll suggest a variety of paddling accessories based on products you’re already buying. Most customers who purchase a paddleboard from them will need additional accessories, making for some easy sales.
You can use customer intelligence for services, too. Investing apps like Earlybird — an app that helps parents building savings for their kids — uses the user data to recommend investments.
It’ll evaluate the following criteria to suggest investments:
- The child’s age
- The family’s investment goals
- Time horizon
- Risk tolerance
You can use personalization to reward your top accounts or customers as well. For example, some brands give their top customers personalized gifts to thank them for their loyalty.
Gifts work exceptionally well in B2B. B2B brands often forget they’re selling to a person on the other end, so they keep things sterile and boring. A little personalization can go a long way.
3. Provide Relevant Content to Build Brand Loyalty
In the Internet age, there’s more to building an audience than selling products.
Consumers generally look upon a brand more favorably if said brand provides content the consumer finds relevant or useful. Content educates and entertains your customers, helps them solve their problems (for free), yet ultimately builds loyalty and leads to more sales.
That content can be more than blog posts, too. Just look at what Freshbooks does with their invoice templates. Freshbooks know they have a diverse base of business owner customers, and so it has several invoice templates to cater to each segment.
4. Create Segmented Email Campaigns
Your customers likely have several problems they want to solve, and they’re all at different stages in the buyer’s journey. Without your customer intelligence, they’d all receive the same offer — your conversion rates won’t be the best.
This situation is ripe for creating segmented email campaigns. Separate your customers into different segments based on your customer intelligence so they only receive the offers that work best for them.
One way you can make customer intelligence-based segmented emails is through autoresponders.
For example, when you collect emails, you can ask them which problem they have that your business solves. From there, you can create multiple autoresponders that help solve that problem while selling your product.
You can also build some segmentation into other automated emails. If you’re an e-commerce store, have your order confirmation emails recommend another product based on what the customer bought.
5. Gather and Use Reviews/Testimonials
Reviews are a valuable form of customer intelligence because it is straight from the customer’s mouth. You can use this feedback to improve your product or other processes.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Most consumers consider reviews of the product/service/business when deciding to make a purchase, so displaying strong reviews on your site could mean more sales.
Once again, reviews are a powerful asset in B2B. A human is ultimately responsible for the B2B purchase decision — thus, B2B buyers are very likely to buy if they see overall positive reviews.
Gathering reviews from customers can increase your current customers’ loyalty as well, thanks to the Ben Franklin effect. Not to mention they’ll enjoy seeing their words spotlighted on your site. They might even send their friends your way.
6. Optimize Your On-Site Customer Experience
Even if you have an excellent offer, your customer may have a hard time navigating your site. You can use behavioral data to evaluate how your customer interacts with your site and find where they have issues.
A tool many companies use is a heatmap. The heatmap tells you which locations on your website customers spend more or less time on. You can see where they’re scrolling, clicking, and ignoring, then make improvements.
7. Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns
Marketing is a game of constant optimization. You’re always aiming to squeeze more revenue out of each dollar you put in.
Your customer intelligence can be of immense help. Knowing your audience well helps you select the right channels and speak to the customers on those channels.
For example, True Blue Life Insurance has a calculator site users can use to see what kind of rates they might qualify for on a life insurance policy. True Blue could, in theory, analyze the data for patterns in demographics.
From there, they can adjust their marketing message and strategy accordingly. As a result, they’re able to provide personalized marketing messaging to customers based on the data they collected.
Customer intelligence lets you create a more tailored marketing message for your customers and build brand loyalty by defining your brand voice and tone. Plus, you’ll be able to increase your sales through personalization — whether it’s personalized product recommendations or loyalty rewards.
Staying on top of customer intelligence is the key to surviving and thriving in a customer-centric world. Stay on top of your customer data, and you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Learn how ClicData can help you aggregate your customer data and bring you insights into your marketing and sales strategies.
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About the author
Ezekiel has a special affinity with numbers and patterns, on top of being a natural at PR. This gives him the edge when it comes to SEO analytics and advertising strategy.