Data 101 Part 2: Are You Missing Opportunities?

Published January 17, 2014 3:47 pm by LoSasso
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Welcome back to Data 101. Hopefully you didn’t suffer too many cuts and bruises when organizing your data. In this segment, we’ll go over the importance of collecting the appropriate data so you won’t miss any opportunities to connect with your customers.

Are you taking every opportunity to learn about your customers? Are you limiting customer contact information to just an email address? In the digital marketing world, it’s easy to rely on an email address as the single point of contact with a customer. However, this does not make for a strong database. Recently we began working on an email capture program with one of our clients. When the program was in development, the decision was made to only require a customer name, postal code and, of course, email address. We didn’t want to ask for too much information and drive the customer away. We decided to offer a field for the customer’s street address and phone number, but didn’t require the information. Within 6 months we ran three separate campaigns and captured a respectable number of registrations for the newsletter. Once we started looking at the registrations we noticed something pretty astonishing; 66% of our registrations included a physical mailing address, and 51% of our registrants included a phone number. A few weeks into the program, we decided to add a quick interest survey at the end of registration process. Using a simple lead message such as ‘Tell us about products and services you are interested in’ the survey was nothing more than a check box allowing customers to select one or more products and services.  We found 90% of registrants answered the product interest survey.

I’m sure you are thinking, “That’s great, but all we need is an email address.” Let’s investigate that for a minute. First, a lot of email programs use an email address as a customer ID. In a basic sense, an email address is not a unique customer ID, but a customer demographic. Now, I know this goes against some current email marketing philosophy, but think about it for a minute—how many active email addresses do you personally have between work, school and home? For that matter, how many old email addresses do you have—like your first AOL address or a company address from a previous job? On average, each person has about three active email addresses; I myself have five (plus at least 10 that are no longer active). And remember, a relinquished email address is available for someone else to acquire.

Another reason to try to capture as much customer information as possible is when you go beyond your own data collection and attempt to append information from other sources.  What if you were offered a second list from a partner company or a purchased data list? You know the new list contains qualified, interested and engaged prospects and your challenge is to see how many of them are current customers and how many are prospective customers. You may not be able to achieve the maximum value from your efforts if an email address is all you have to identify a customer.

My experience is that the more data points available (address, phone number, full name etc.) the higher rate of matches and more accurate matching occurs.

The moral of the story is: don’t be afraid to ask for information from your customers. If customers are truly interested in your products and services they will offer accurate information because they want to hear from you. And don’t be afraid to ask your favorite LoSassin for help too.

– Pete Pomatto

Read part 3.