As I explained in a previous article, when developing a communication plan for your customer retention program, the first step is to analyze current customer behavior.
What are you trying to find out?
Your goal in this analysis is to learn as much as you can about your current customers’ behavior, so you can use this information to develop your plans. Some of the things that you might want to look at include:
- What are customers buying?
- How often do they buy?
- Where do they typically make their purchases (online, from a particular store, from a distributor, etc.)?
- Do they always buy the same product or are they moving up a product ladder? For example, someone might start out buying t-shirts and then move up to purchasing full ensembles, including jewelry.
- How often do they visit your website, how much time do they spend there, and what type of information are they sharing?
- How frequently do customers call your customer service line?
Where should you look for the data?
The first place to look is your internal data. Often, however, it can also be helpful to purchase third party data and marry it to your internal data. To get an idea about how this might look in practice, let’s delve into an example from my own life.
A real-life example
Right now I happen to be in the market for a new car to replace the Acura 4-door TSX that I’ve had for the past three years.
If I was the Marketing Director at Acura I would want a way to predict when someone like me would be likely to be in the market for a new car, so that I could time communications accordingly. Of course, I would always want to keep the Acura name in front of people “just in case,” but ideally I’d also want to send targeted messages at the point at which customers were most likely to be interested.
In the case of my situation, if that Marketing Director were to mine her internal data she would see that this is my third Acura, I usually buy in the summer, and I usually buy at the three-year mark. She would also see that my current Acura is bigger than my last one.
But in addition to looking at Acura’s internal data, how else might that Marketing Director know that I’m in the market for a new car right now?
Well, I also happen to be pregnant with my second child. This pregnancy, in fact, is the reason why I’m looking to replace my current car. I need something bigger.
I know that this is why I’m in the market, but short of me personally calling that Marketing Director and sharing the good news, how else could Acura learn about what’s happening in my life that would indicate I’m ready for another car? They could purchase external data and marry it to their internal data.
In fact, data is available that would indicate that I am pregnant and that I’m looking at cars. I recently registered at both Baby Center and Babies“R”Us, that registration information states exactly when my baby is due. I’ve also visited the Acura website three times in the past few weeks. If Acura’s Marketing Director had access to all of this information she could put the puzzle pieces together to see that it’s time to contact me, and that Acura should try to bump me up to an SUV.
The more useful data you have, the more successful your communication plan can be. Another way to get a deeper picture of what else is happening in your target audience’s lives is to complete a Consumer Buying Behavior Study. Stay tuned for my next blog to learn more!