Every business – regardless of size, mission or maturity – has a myriad of data points buried beneath the surface. Metrics range from financial performance of gross sales and profitability, to retention, marketing ROI and much more.

One set of data that is often overlooked and less quantifiable at the surface level are customer profiles. How can this data help define customer segments in a way that adds value to the organization?

It’s no secret that targeted, tailored communications sent at the right time will engage and lead customers through the decision-making process more effectively than a broad, shotgun communications approach. But where do we start in assessing these profiles on an aggregate macro level? And more specifically, on the micro individual level?

Consider these 5 sequential questions:

  1. What profile indicators matter most in determining behaviors?
    Determine what your best customers have in common and, likewise, the similarities of your bottom tier of prospects who do not convert. This may include geographic, demographic, life stage or psychographic profile elements and can be split among separate service or product offerings. Also, consider how communication touchpoints have played a role in their conversion behavior.
  2. How do my prospects compare to my best customers?
    Extrapolate those profiles to the rest of your database by scoring, ranking or using other statistical methodologies. In some cases, you may need to append third party data to give you enough valuable profile information to accomplish these first two steps.
  3. Which key segments emerge?
    Natural segments will emerge based on the data revealed in step 2. It will take data mining expertise to group these in a way that is insightful and actionable, but the result will fuel your marketing plan. For example, you may find groups of people most likely to convert for a specific product, segments that require additional communications and warrant investment, or those that are nearing a new life stage and may be at a tipping point. In this step, also assess the volume of individuals in each segment.
  4. What do these segments look like?
    This is where the data picture comes into play. Once your segments are clearly identified, craft a picture of what they look like specifically. This can take the shape of an actual photo, illustration or buyer persona. This critical step goes beyond names, beyond transactions, and into the minds and hearts of your audience.
  5. What actions can I take to move these segments closer to a decision or greater engagement and support?
    Now consider what you would do differently, and how you will communicate with each of these groups in a way that is most relevant to them and that will move them toward greater loyalty, advocacy or support. Determine how these findings will inform the targeting and messaging for your advertising, direct marketing and outreach campaigns.

There are plenty of tools to help small, medium and large organizations accomplish these steps. But all of those tools need the right strategy behind them to be powerful and make an impact on your bottom line. Don’t allow your customer data to lie dormant or be underutilized. Instead, create a robust ‘living picture’ by leveraging the right data to drive effective targeted marketing and greater ROI.

Natalie Cook is Chief Operating Officer & Vice President of Marketing of Olomana Loomis ISC, an award-winning integrated marketing, brand and business consulting firm based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

For more information, contact: natalie@olomanaloomisisc.com