The Power of Profiles: An Introduction (Part 1)

By Mattias Ward

2017-03-01

(This blog post is Part 1 of our Data-Driven Marketing series - stay tuned for more posts about getting started with profiles, profiles and marketing automation and more coming soon!)

Creating a customer profile = taking the first leap towards success in the digital age.

 

Perhaps you have a shiny and modern website that you’ve invested a lot of time and money in. However, before you continue down the marketing road, you need to get your customer profiles just right. Not only will it create a better understanding of your customers, but it’ll also increase your revenues. How? We’ll guide you through it.

Too long to read now? Here’s what we’re talking about in this blog post:

  • Marketing activity has evolved in this age of information overload, from company-centric to customer-centric

  • Instead of mass-marketing, it’s essential to become personally relevant, based on actual data (not perceived demographics)

  • Customer profiles and profile-based marketing are the most efficient way of doing this (rather than the push and pull marketing strategies of yesterday)

Too Much Information

We live in an age of information overload. We actively seek and we passively receive bits of information continuously. In this enormous vortex of information, our minds have to categorise the impressions and the information we come across.

Have a quick glance around. How many brands are screaming for your attention as you sit down to read this post? No matter how you twist and turn it: you can’t escape the branded reality, just as brands can’t escape you.

Due to this marketing overload, brands have become a natural part of our daily lives. As an effect we’ve become rather impervious to marketing directed towards the great masses.

Find out more about how marketing has evolved into a data-driven industry from Mattias' book, Data-Driven Marketing.

From Company-Centric To Customer-Centric

Before the Internet, the brands held the power of consumption in the palms of their hands. Communication between businesses and the customer was largely confined to traditional channels such as print and television. However, the widespread use of the Internet sent the conditions of marketing into quite a spin.

The new demand for consumer-brand interactivity, together with the expectations of a completely personalised visitor's experience, has torn down the previous standard of the one-way communication model.

As a matter of fact, 76% of consumers expect you as an organisation to understand and anticipate their individual needs. This is far from easy for you to achieve, but if you want to succeed in the age of digitalisation, you have to give it your very best try.

Up Close and Personal

The cardinal rule for marketing (and the key ingredient for success) is this: know your customers. I’m not telling you that you have to know them on a personal level – that would be a task doomed to fail. However, you need to get as close as you possibly can if you want to figure out both your potential and current customers’ basic values, traits and behaviours.

It’ll be easier for you to reach your customers with your marketing efforts if you’re aware of the basic attitudes they hold towards your brand. Just like the abundance of information that surrounds us, the number of possible brand behaviours are never-ending. Making sense of your customers’ behaviour is, essentially, making sense of your business’ reality.

Making sense of your customers’ behaviour is, essentially, making sense of your business’ reality. This stands true for all kinds of companies: B2C, B2B, non-profits… B2B companies in particular should also know as many characteristics of their ideal clients as possible (from revenue and budgets to number of employees, geographic scope etc.).

One Size Does Not Fit All

In the past era of mass market communication, guesswork used to be the standard. Today, even if you sell a product to a certain customer segment, it doesn’t necessarily translate into you pinpointing the accurate customer profiles. What’s more, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to create the sought-after personalised visitor's experience for your customers that you dream of.

Marketing research that’s solely based on the guesswork of perceived demographics is flawed. The same socio-economic segment, age or behavioral traits of your customers will tell you part of their tale - but not their entire story.

 

Customer Profiles: Are They The Answer?

Creating customer profiles lets you better relate to your customers. Think about it: we all make sense of our surroundings by categorising bits of information after what we already know. In the same way, we categorise company interactions in order to understand who the customers are and how they behave in relation to your platforms.

Crudely put, profiling your customers means no more than using data-based stereotypes to create a personalised customer experience. However, creating a customer profile is far from guesswork. A profile is extracted and continuously reconstructed. This is done by assessing and categorising how your consumers interact with your company.

Furthermore, the main goal for creating customer profiles is to create a sense of personalisation in the visitor's experience. This is created by the not-so-simple process of combining logged data from multiple data sources and multiple devices, so you can anticipate what the customer might need in the present or in the future. In essence, if you’re aware of the different consumer profiles you can allude to, you can speak with your customers in a way that appeals to their needs.

Want to dig deeper into customer profiles? Check out our fact-filled whitepaper here

Let’s Talk Strategy

Push it, pull it, profile it. If you’ve ever opened a marketing textbook you’ve heard about push and pull marketing strategies. But how well-versed are you in the inner makings of a profile-based marketing strategy?

Push marketing pushes the products down distribution channels with the goal to get the product in the customer’s hands with very little advertisement. Pull marketing skips the step of the retailer or distributor and tries to communicate directly to and with the customer to make him or her decide to purchase a certain product or service(s).

The third marketing strategy is profile-based marketing. A profile-based marketing strategy is a digital strategy that focuses communication on the target audience. The mission? To increase awareness and improve the brand’s image by gaining awareness of the consumer’s individual traits in regards to consumption patterns and behaviours.

With push and pull strategies, it’s a hit or miss whether the audiences who receive the messages are the intended ones or not. Greg the Barber and Elisabeth the Oncologist aren’t equally interested in medical equipment. A stethoscope doesn’t spark Greg’s interest, so the marketing budget you spend on your pull strategy will virtually be tossed down the drain.

 

You Need To Trace Steps If You Want To Get It Right

Profile-based marketing fills the gap that push and pull strategies create. Every step a prospective consumer makes on the web produces data, which in turn provides insights on purchase patterns, habits and consumer behaviour. If you catalogue consumers’ behaviour in relation to your company, you’ll be able to create consumer profiles and tailor the individual’s customer experience accordingly.

Creating customer profiles is a brilliant method of understanding who you’re selling to and what ways you can automate your communication with them in, while still retaining the personal touch. Not only is it the first step towards embracing the future of digital marketing; it’s also the key to your success. After all, we do live in a consumer’s world...

So once again, to sum up:

  • Marketing activity has evolved in this age of information overload, from company-centric to customer-centric

  • Instead of mass-marketing, it’s essential to become personally relevant, based on actual data (not perceived demographics)

  • Customer profiles and profile-based marketing are the most efficient way of doing this (rather than the push and pull marketing strategies of yesterday)

Would you like to get started with customer profiles right now? Then book an online personal tour of our APSIS Profile Cloud solution today.

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