I had an interesting experience last week when a client pulled me aside to make me aware that the company’s CRM guru was loudly expressing his concern that this “warm and fuzzy” attitudinal approach to audience segmentation couldn’t hold a candle to good, old-fashioned database analytics.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened. I often run into database managers – especially in e-commerce organizations – who feel that basing segmentation on an analysis of who buys what, when, and response to which offers is the right way to drive up sales and drive down cost per sale. There’s even a fair amount of debate on this topic in the industry, with the database folks haranguing the attitudinal folks for primacy in the marketing effectiveness world.
Honestly, it’s something I’ve never understood. From where I stand, everything you can add to your knowledge of a customer’s (or prospect’s) motivations, red flags, and lack of self-control when it comes to purchase is a beautiful thing. Why settle for limiting your understanding to just what they do, or just what they want? Go ahead, it’s the 21st century — take both!
The fact is, the more insight you have, the better. And if you’re lucky enough to capture sophisticated data on your customer’s purchase patterns, email response, customer service contact and promotional triggers, all the better. That information, combined with an understanding of attitudinal drivers — WHY people buy what they do, and what’s key to them in making their purchase decisions — can result in a highly successful driver for marketing messaging, product development and promotional strategy.
And because it doesn’t require a previous purchase history with your company (or even your category), attitudinal segmentation can offer additional insight into identifying prospects — who, based on the intersection of attitudinal segmentation and existing customer statistics, can be fairly reliably pegged as to future revenue promise.
So let’s stop bickering about which is better. The reality is that far too few companies are reliably capturing comprehensive customer data, and even fewer are analyzing it to improve their relationships with those customers. And this is particularly true of smaller firms that could most use the additional sales such relationships can bring. THAT’S the battle we should be fighting.
Is your company doing all it can with customer data?