To stay relevant, you need to know who your customers are, and what they want. Seems a simple enough idea, right?To stay relevant, you need to know who your customers are, and what they want. Seems a simple enough idea, right? But you might be surprised to hear that according to the Customer Lifecycle Engagement: Imperatives for Midsize-to-Large Companies study released by Yesmail Interactive and Gleanster, four out of five consumer-facing companies don’t know their customers well and lack the data insight to engage them with personalized, relevant campaigns. The survey of 100 senior-level marketers with online and offline sales models suggests customer intimacy is more a longing than a reality. And according to Michael Fisher, president, Yesmail Interactive, it’s of utmost importance that this level of intimacy DOES become a reality, quote, “Brands that don’t get to know their customers intimately and drive the value of the relationship won’t survive. We at the Lempert Report agree with this, and feel that retailers could compete for trips and protect margins more effectively if they learn what makes customers tick. 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. So how can this happen? And what needs to change? 86% of marketers surveyed say the data to segment customers well enough is missing. They blame limitations on marketing tools, fragmented marketing systems, and poor data quality. Customers’ purchase history well should be known as well as basic demographics. Transactions can be a good way to trigger certain campaigns and also perhaps online promotions can be offered as a way to link customer information with the stores and providing triggers for birthdays, lifestages as well as likes, dislikes and relevant product information.