Today, customers hold the power. They know what they want, and they know how to find it. With the digital world at their fingertips, shoppers are likely to investigate the real value of a product before purchasing.
In an increasingly competitive landscape and with such a tech-savvy audience, how do you engage with your customers better and maximise business success? With customer intelligence.
First-party customer data such as demographics, online habits, spending preferences and interests can prove valuable to marketers, allowing you to find out enough about your customers so you can proactively predict what they want.
This data can be used to develop effective strategies with the aim to attract and retain audiences. No matter your industry, customer intelligence can help you thrive in today’s competitive markets.
In this blog, we discuss:
- What customer intelligence means and why your business needs it
- How to gather the different types of customer data
- How to use customer intelligence to drive better results
What is customer intelligence?
Customer intelligence is the process of collecting and analysing customer data before turning it into actionable insight. It’s worth noting that customer intelligence is different to data. Data is raw customer information while intelligence is derived from the analysis and interpretation of this data.
It not only answers the questions of who, what, when and where but also why. Gathering this intelligence allows you to generate a true understanding of your customers’ behaviour and create strategies to reflect this.
Effective customer intelligence does more than just inform. It guides you to better marketing decision making essentially improving your customer’s experience with your business.
Why do I need customer intelligence?
Customer intelligence is the way forward for any business wanting to succeed online. With 46 percent of businesses ranking customer intelligence as their top priority for the next five years, it’s clear that you’re missing out if you don’t place emphasis on your customers and their data.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, you can personalise and improve the customer experience to increase conversions, loyalty and retention. Using this perspective will help place your business ahead of the competition.
The different types of customer intelligence data
- Transactional: Transactional data is usually captured at the point of sale. It records the time of transaction, the price of what was bought, the payment method used, and any other attributes associated with the transaction.
- Behavioural: Behavioural data isgenerated by a customer’s engagement with a business and shows what customers do on your website. This could include factors such as page views, email sign-ups or other significant user actions and can be collated with different technique such as heat maps, eye tracking, cookies and surveys.
- Demographic: Demographic data contains information such as gender, age, location and employment. Although demographic data is an important part of targeting, transactional and behavioural data is usually a better indicator of what your audience prefers.
- Psychographic: This is an emerging approach informed by psychology to understand why people make certain decisions by revealing information on what triggers customers to make a purchase.
How to collect customer data
Your website should be used to create a holistic view of your customer data. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, you can understand what customers are doing on your website and why they are doing it.
There are a few common methods that you can use to gather this customer intelligence, these include:
Google Analytics is one of the best places to start when it comes to collecting customer data. There are two types of data Google Analytics (GA) can collect:
- User acquisition: When a user lands on your website, the source of their acquisition can be identified whether it’s a search engine, Facebook or another website. Their demographic data can also be accessed via GA too. This data can then be used to group users into segments, enhance your digital marketing strategy and further personalise targeting.
- User behaviour: Behaviour data is collected during a user’s interaction with your website. This includes how they engage with your website, the most common path to conversion, how long they stay on certain pages and where customers are bouncing off your site. By understanding the barriers to conversions, improvements can be made and a better UX can be created. This type of data is effective at improving the onsite experience and increase conversions.
Both acquisition and behaviour data are useful for gathering customer intelligence. It’s important to remember that, unlike acquisition data, behavioural data can be influenced and it’s important to make the most of this potential.
When a user browses online, there are a lot of things that they do which they may not even be aware of. Subconscious thoughts and reactions, emotions, eye movement and electric signals can all be used to understand what delights and what disappoints a customer.
These AI-powered biometric tools are a great way of gathering and analysing customer data and translating it into customer intelligence. By tracking your visitor’s behaviour onsite, patterns and trends can be identified.
Biometric research is being used to enhance UX, allowing businesses to track user’s emotions and reactions. Biometric testing methods that are commonly used include:
- Eye tracking: This tactic tracks users eye movements in real-time to monitor what they are looking at and when. Heat maps can be used alongside eye tracking to highlight the areas of your pages that are gaining the most or least attention. Another effective method of measuring how hard the brain is working, pupil dilation can also be teamed with eye tracking to create an in-depth understanding of your website’s pain points.
- Galvanic Skin Response (GSR): GSR measures the skins electrical currents to uncover genuine emotions including reactions people are sometimes aware of.
- Facial Expression Recognition: Real-time recognition highlights your user’s natural responses at each point during the buying journey. This data can help identify barriers to conversion and issues with the customer journey.
- Electroencephalography (EEG): With EEG, we can use the brain’s electric signals to investigate what’s happening in a user’s mind when interacting with different parts of your website.
Map the journey
Mapping the customer journey creates an understanding of how customers are reaching and interacting with your business. This involves analysing their journey from other channels through to landing on your website to identify gaps along the way.
Data can be gathered on how a user has found your website as well as their purchase history, the most common journey to reaching the website, how much time they have spent on each page and how many times a month they visit. By transforming this data into customer intelligence, you can gain a better understanding of your customer personas and preferences. From this, audience segments can be formed to target more effectively.
If you’re not making the effort to understand who your customers are and what they want, it’s unlikely your offering is as relevant or engaging as it could be.
How to use customer intelligence to get better results
Customer intelligence allows you to get to know your audience better. Knowing more about who you are speaking to empowers you to create powerful content that resonates and target more effectively.
Here are some of the top ways customer intelligence can be used to get better results:
Your focus should always be on your customer. By having a clear understanding of who your audiences are, what they want and how they prefer to shop, you can create a marketing strategy that aligns with them.
Once you have created data-driven personas, they should be kept in mind during every touchpoint with your customer whether it’s an email campaign, written content, a social media post or any other interaction.
Create loyal customers
Leveraging customer intelligence in your marketing activities shouldn’t just be a one-off task. A long-term approach to research and data collection is crucial if you don’t want to be left behind.
If you want to transform one-time shoppers into loyal customers, you need to give them a reason to invest in your brand. By using customer intelligence to create intuitive interactions, a memorable connection is formed which the customer holds onto long after the purchase has been made.
By using real-time customer intelligence to inform your business decisions, you can ensure each interaction between your business and your customers is always relevant and enjoyable.
Target the right keywords
Customer data can even be used to determine what keywords your audience use when searching for your product or service. You can use this insight to target those keywords and push traffic to your channels.
Using a tool such as Google Ads Keyword Tool, you can see which keywords your competitors are using to inform your strategy. Monitoring and analysing the results can help you continue to optimise your strategy for the best result.
Keep up with your industry
Customer intelligence allows you to stay in touch with real-time changes to the market. Markets continuously evolve which creates new opportunities and challenges. Not being aware of these advancements could see you quickly falling behind.
Investing in gathering and interpreting customer intelligence provides a steady stream of data from which you can build actionable insights. The ability to forecast allows you to improve business activities and ensures your marketing strategy is up to the minute.
No matter what your marketing activities are, stakeholders want to know that their marketing spend is making a real business impact.
Fortunately, with digital marketing, every actionable item such as a form being filled out or a click-to-call can usually have a tracking parameter added to it. This allows you to understand which channel is driving the most traffic and allocate digital spend where it’s needed.
Customer intelligence and your business
To increase trust and build brand loyalty, businesses need to strive to build a transparent connection with their audience. As a result, your customers will feel valued, they’ll be more likely to come back and continue advocating for your brand.
Customer intelligence underpins our strategies to help us maximise campaign performance. Whether your focus is on paid media or organic, deep diving into the customer data helps us deliver real business impact. If you want to find out more about customer intelligence and how it can be effectively implemented across your brand, contact our digital experts.