In the first part of this two-part article, I discussed at a very high level the importance of understanding your customer data and the various types of audiences you currently have interacting on your digital platform. Now let’s talk about what to do next… piecing together your audience data!
How to Piece Together Your Audience Data
There are several tools available that offer very similar solutions to help you piece together your audience data. So before deciding on a tool, it is imperative (as with any initiative) that you understand the “WHY” behind this pursuit. A few thought starters to help get started:
- Why are you trying to understand your audience?
- Why should they pick your product or service as opposed to your competitors?
- Why do you want them to be your brand evangelist?
A Customer Data Platform (CDP) helps stitch together all relevant and existing customer data. You can use this data to better understand the composition of your current customer base and determine future advertising or marketing campaigns.
A Data Management Platforms (DMP) (this article showcases the difference between a CDP and a DMP) helps further the data you already have and gives you a competitive advantage. Your initial/seed audience can be enriched with added attributes using third party data within a data provider or a DMP. This enriched seed data can then be mined for patterns with the data provider’s total audience. Finding patterns within the total audience allows you to find people that “look like” the seed audience. Allowing you to craft campaigns or A/B tests to engage these “like” audiences.
There is an important step in between understanding your customer base and crafting campaigns. Understanding your customer’s experience with the brand is critical. Start mining the “trustworthy and accessible” data that you have already collected. Sample questions you may want to find answers to:
- What does the customer lifecycle look like?
- Are there any blockers that might be hindering customer purchase experience?
- How easy is it to find the product/content customers are looking for?
- How many clicks to get to complete “Action A”?
- Are there any significant drop-offs in the purchase process?
With a much clearer understanding of your audience and their experience with the brand, you are now ready to reimagine/realign your business strategy or rethink your success criteria and the path forward.
Using Data to Revisit Your Business Strategy
A great place to start when revisiting your business strategy is to ask yourself and your team/leadership fundamental questions about the company, purpose, and goals. The importance of asking these of your team and not just yourself is described in Jim Collins’s book “Good to Great.” Ask yourself and the team questions such as:
- Why do we exist as an organization?
- Who are our current, target, and new customers? What do they want with the brand?
- What are our short and long-term goals?
- What are we trying to solve? What are we trying to improve?
- What do we want the business to look like in 5-10 years?
- What steps should we take to reach this goal?
- What tollgates can you put in place so that you can track your progress towards achieving your goal(s)?
- The tollgates have to be measurable, preferably with data.
Once you have your answers, it’s time to determine what sort of data points make sense and begin developing a strategy of how you plan to achieve these. Be sure to understand the people, skillsets, technology, and processes needed to make this change come to life.
Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot
A quote that I live by is “Nothing is as permanent as change…” Change is constant, it happens around us every day. It impacts most everything daily.. work, business, family, economy, environment, etc. It is important to be prepared, stay on your toes, bob and weave, and PIVOT (Thanks, Ross!) when needed as a business.
Be prepared to adjust your tasks, tollgates, strategy, processes, and timeline as often and as necessary as possible. Unpredicted events can occur at any time, case in point COVID-19. It’s hypercritical to know if you have marched down the wrong path ASAP; to fail fast and course correct immediately is crucial.
Setting a new trajectory can seem overwhelming and the idea of change can be difficult, especially since business strategies are rapidly shifting and can change again every few months.
The secret to managing change is communication, an abundance of communication. Monitoring progress and keeping everyone informed about changes that are being planned or yet to come can make transitions easier and will help maintain positive habits throughout the process.
Some parting thoughts:
- Know your audience. Do what’s best for them and find ways to connect with them.
- Constantly ask “WHY?”
- Don’t be afraid to change or fail.
- Flesh out a plan and well-defined success criteria, and use data to monitor progress.
- Be sure to PIVOT when needed.
If you are new to this space we would love to chat with you, answer any questions, and carve a path forward, so feel free to reach out to us.
If you are a business that doesn’t have the skill set available to do any of this on your own, contact Cognetik and we can help you understand the lay of the land to reassess your audience and leverage new data.