Acquiring customer intimacy

August 15, 2013

Lifecycle and other data could help retailers and CPG segment and message audiences more powerfully.

Who is in your stores? Who is buying your brands?

Four out of five consumer-facing companies don’t know. They lack the data insights to effectively segment customers and engage them with personalized, relevant campaigns.

So concludes the Customer Lifecycle Engagement: Imperatives for Midsize-to-Large Companies study released by Yesmail Interactive and Gleanster. 

The survey of 100 senior-level marketers with online and offline sales models suggests customer intimacy is more longing than reality. “The battle for market share now rests on building customer relationships, not simply a promotional coupon approach. Brands that don’t get to know their customers intimately and drive the value of the relationship won’t survive. If brands are not relevant at scale, their customers will find another brand that is,” says Michael Fisher, president, Yesmail Interactive.

Retailers could compete for trips and protect margins more effectively if they learn what makes customers tick and message and market appropriately, we feel at The Lempert Report. Price as the primary trigger for store visits and purchases probably isn’t sustainable. And point-of-sale data goes only so far in developing customer understanding.

But 86% of marketers surveyed say the data to segment customers well enough is missing. They blame limitations on marketing tools (42%), fragmented marketing systems (34%) and poor data quality (34%). “Brands must build one-to-one relationships with their customers—but marketers don’t know how to get there,” notes Ian Michiels, principal and managing director, Gleanster. He urged them to follow a customer lifecycle approach.

Some of the more detailed research findings indicate the distance retailers and brands need to go to precisely segment and powerfully message customers:

  • 53% feel they know customers’ purchase history well, and 42% have a good grasp of basic demographics
  • 40% use transactions to trigger automated campaigns, but just 21% use lifestage triggers such as birthdays or newborns.