Learning as much as possible about buyers will enable you to be more efficient with your marketing efforts. Without this “customer intelligence” many marketing decisions are made on a hit or miss basis. Some things work, most don’t.
In today’s hyper competitive marketplace, the business with the most insight about consumers will succeed. There are many ways to get customer information. Much of this data can be found within internal customer records. The most cost effective way to increase your customer knowledge is to begin with your existing customer records.
Data mining is the process of identifying patterns from data. The goal of this effort is to obtain information that can be used to better understand your customers and grow your business. Amazon is a leader in the area of collecting and using customer data for growing its business and creating stronger relationships with its customers.
Mining your customer data will enable you to identify trends in terms of what customers are buying and how they are buying. You can use these insights to make necessary adjustments to your sales and marketing programs. While there are available software packages that can provide sophisticated analyses and reports, small and medium sized businesses with limited resources can still increase their customer intelligence by looking for a few key characteristics and data points in their customer records.
Use internal data to identify your long time customers. Customers that have been with you the longest can provide valuable information on your brand. They can also become effective advocates for your business with referrals. Businesses would be well served getting closer to these potential key influencers. Make them feel a part of the business by getting them involved in new product or service development.
Developing products from a customer perspective may increase the chances of success in the marketplace. Threadless,a Chicago, Illinois based T-shirt company has never had a product fail. They have their customers involved in nearly every aspect of the business – idea generation, marketing, sales forecasting. The retailer’s web sales increased to $36 million in 2012 from $30 million in 2011, according to the Internet Retailers 2013 Top 500 Guide.
Your internal customer records can help you identify your most profitable and least profitable customers. The data may reveal characteristics that your profitable customers have that you can use to target prospects with those characteristics.
Clusters, Patterns and Trends
Data mining will also provide insights on clusters of customers by gender, location and product type. This can also help you in targeting areas with similar demographics.