Large corporations marketing their products to consumers have been collecting, processing and analysing data for campaigns for many years - we’re all familiar with the purpose and thinking behind loyalty cards. Yes, you’re being rewarded for shopping with a certain brand in return for discount of some sort, but the company also benefits from collecting the shopping habits of its customers.
Understanding the types of products consumers buy, the frequency of their purchases, and locations, can all be analysed and modelled to provide insights into the consumer’s behaviour. Using schemes such as Tesco Clubcard,
Nectar points or even department storecards, certain identifiable patterns can be detected and companies can then predict which customers are likely to spend more with them, whose incomes are growing, as well as which customers are gradually spending less and/or going elsewhere.
Consumer-facing businesses, particularly retailers, have become adept at this. So why are business-to-business organisations so bad at doing the same thing?
Most businesses spend their marketing budget targeting areas that have traditionally been successful for them last month or last year, spending money on the same advertising media and channels. Attention is focussed on the channel or the advertising campaign itself, perhaps even the type of customer, but that is generally where the segmentation ends.
The power of segmentation lies in the ability to identify your organisation’s perfect customer. This might be a company poised for growth, that pays on time. Your ideal customer could be more niche than that: you could be looking to identify traits which indicate a growing company, within a wider sector that’s currently experiencing a downturn – take retail for example, while the high-street is struggling, online retail is booming.
It's vital to know and be able to identify this type of customer, even if you’re a large company and you think that you know your customer well. Things can change quickly, often due to external events, such as the health of the industry or wider economy. If your company exports many products, currency fluctuations can play a big part. Even the largest companies in the world never stop looking to refine their knowledge of the perfect customer.
The insights that you gain from modelling this perfect customer, can be applied to find similar companies and therefore, are a perfect example for account-based marketing.
Don’t just think about outbound marketing. What do you know about your website visitors that you can apply to your inbound marketing activities? Take, for example, a dynamic homepage on your company’s website, or a landing page. Does your website allow you to profile visitors and create ‘personas’? If so, (and despite the perceived limitations of GDPR) why not personalise your landing page depending on who visits it? Maybe your construction sector clients might see a construction-specific blog at the top of the webpage next time they log in, or a renewable energy client might see an industry report advertised in a banner at the top.
What small changes can you make to create a more personalised, account-based experience?
In a world where customers are looking for a unique personalised experience, making them feel valued, customer-focussed marketing is more important than ever. But you can’t just acquire this knowledge about your customers through purchasing it, or by assumption.
Your organisation must do the hard work and analyse the data you’ve collected historically, as a by-product of your organisation’s purpose. Those who make the effort now, will reap the rewards in the future.