Businesses are loaded with customer information, but unable to act upon it

Business owners think they have a great understanding of their customers, but a new survey shows they're completely clueless.

Thanks to increasingly sophisticated analytics tools, virutally every business owner now has access to an array of information about his or her customers: Where they live, what language they speak, their gender, and even their income levels. You know what pages on your website they look at, and through your sales analytics, you know what products they buy.

Sure enough, an upcoming survey from Yesmail Interactive shows that 53 per cent of marketers say they have an excellent understanding of their customers' past purchase behaviour, and 42 per cent say they have an excellent understanding of their customers' demographic information.

In theory, that information can be used to develop an insightful picture of your customers, which can in turn be used to customise product and service offerings. The problem: This information doesn't seem to be particularly useful in its current form when it comes to truly understanding how customers behave, and businesses don't really realise it.

Mike Fisher, president of Yesmail Interactive, says "When it comes to deeper insights that can be used to build one-on-one relationships with customers, most marketers don't have access to the necessary data."

He points to additional data points from the survey, which note:

  • Only 20 per cent of marketers say they have an excellent understanding of customers' level of participation in social media
  • Only 21 per cent have an excellent understanding of customer channel preference
  • Only 27 per cent have an excellent understanding of household composition
  • Only 29 per cent have an excellent understanding of whether their customers have a propensity to buy a particular product or service

"The research suggests that 80 per cent of B2C companies rely on little more than transaction and basic profile data for segmentation," says Fisher. "Yet most marketers think they know their customers sufficiently well, revealing a disconnect between self-perception and reality. The survey shows that most companies have a very basic targeting strategy, which limits their ability to truly get to know their customers."

In response, Fisher offers some tips on getting at a deeper and more valuable understanding of customer data. That starts with looking less at what products you've been selling and more at how numerous data sources interact to create a fuller look at your customers and their behaviour.

"Brands should start thinking about the customer journey and response-based engagement that moves away from transactional information to relational data. They need to build a complete picture of their customer based on a relationship developed over time through a series of interactions across multiple channels. Instead of bombarding customers with non-targeted messages, businesses should be striving to be personal and relevant," says Fisher.

How do you do this?

"Research has consistently shown that relevance drives revenue," says Fisher. Customer messaging should be hyper-targeted to customers using up-to-the-minute data and information like "behaviour and life stage triggers, web browsing and online behavior history, and likelihood-to-purchase scores."

And businesses aren't the only ones that benefit from this relationship, he adds. When business messaging is more appropriate, consumers are happier with the relationship, too. (Which ultimately should lead them to buy more from you.)

Yesmail's full report on the subject is forthcoming in a few weeks.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Un-complicating multi-channel marketing: 5 actionable steps

There’s so much choice available that customers can pick and choose who they buy from and where, when, and how it happens. They want to discover, research, evaluate, and purchase on their preferred channel. Give them that option, and they’re more likely to choose you. That’s the whole point behind the multi-channel approach.

Aaron Agius

Co-founder and managing director, Louder Online

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

It’s excellent aiming to resurrect the complete within the hearts and minds of connected customers, moreover because the terribly relevan...

CMO Interview: How Kodak’s global CMO is bringing the brand back from the brink

Read more

Great to see ActiveCampaign's growth funded with some serious money.As a platform, it's up there with the usual suspects in terms of feat...

Lawrence Ladomery

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

Read more


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Personalisation is the key. Customers demand a very relatable and well defined CX where the sincerity and understanding of their disposit...

Hitesh Parekh

In pictures: Improving cutomer experiences through smart personalisation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in