Finding impactful ways to improve the customer experience is on every entrepreneur's mind and top experts agree that the best way to achieve nirvana is to become friends with data.
As IBM's CEO, Ginny Rometty put it, "Big data will spell the death of customer segmentation and force the marketer to understand each customer as an individual..."
In years past, we got to know customers over time - if we were lucky enough to get their attention in the first place. Gone are the golden years of cold calls, blind email blasts, and hopefully, those annoying flyers the local tax guy puts under your windshield wiper when you run into the bank for five minutes.
Today, savvy startups are using data technology from day one to maximize their customer conversion and impact. Trendy Butler is a prime example. This fashion-centric tech platform for guys allows users to create a personal "style profile." Using that info, a professional stylist selects clothing for the customer each month and sends those items to him in a slick little package.
Because fashion is so specific to the individual, the founders of this startup made it their business to get up close and personal with their customers - and it's paying off. They currently have 7,000 active members after being in business just a little over a year and anticipate having over 20,000 by the end of year 2.
Trendy Butler's quick success certainly illustrates that data should always be at the core of every marketing initiative in order to use limited funds efficiently and powerfully. Starting with:
Choosing a Target Demographic
When a startup's service is so broad, it's a common mistake to get very general with the marketing. Using the current example, Trendy Butler sells clothes and every guy wears clothes (we hope!). If they were to cop out and say their target demographic was simply "men"--that would be too broad and wouldn't service them well.
Businesses must have a very clear picture of their ideal customer in order to most effectively communicate with them through. Digging up as much data as possible on the demographic is the right place to start.
"We segment our marketing based on specific interests and demographics on Facebook as well as Instagram's sponsored platform," says Jeremy Barnett, co-founder of Trendy Butler. "We harvest data points and research the best customers from both an internal and external perspective. Aside from interests, we account for age, geography, purchasing power, referral value, and projected LTV."
Deploying Highly Targeted Marketing Campaigns
The marketing industry has always used some form of analytics to sell various avenues of advertising, but now, there's access to much deeper data. This allows business owners to make every dollar of their marketing budget count by allowing them to select the opportunities that truly carry the most weight with their target audience.
With the explosion and constant evolution of social media, customers have become extremely well-informed and look towards trusted resources that impact their buying decisions. This can be tracked by data. One of the most popular ways of establishing a new brand among a certain target demographic is by tapping into social influencers.
"Initially, we devoted our efforts into campaigns with influencers and internet celebrities with followers within our demographic," Jeremy explains. "This is a great place to start for any start-up with limited resources."
The company later leveraged that initial traction into larger marketing campaigns as the business grew.
Creating an Enjoyable User Experience
"One of our goals is to remove deficiencies in the garment industry by integrating new tech," Jeremy notes.
Customers today have endless options of businesses to fill their needs and countless social platforms to either sing their praises or damn them to hell. So, creating a phenomenal user experience helps businesses in two mighty ways:
1) It keeps current customers coming back
2) It develops strong brand advocates, whose "word of mouth" becomes a powerful marketing weapon
"We developed technology to manage scaling, while optimizing the overall customer experience. The technology assigns products continuously for members, and makes suggestions within the framework of each members' profile. The core essence of our business is structured to stimulate operational efficiency," Jeremy explains.
Customers in mass will only adopt a new app or service if it solves a profound problem for them AND is easy to use. Data can always be deployed to innovate new technology features that make the buying process so streamlined and enjoyable, that it's newsworthy! When a business creates a pipeline of enthusiastic customers, they've also effectively created a new army of loyal marketers!