AnalyticsAnalyzing Customer DataUsing What You’ve Got

Using What You've Got

Strut your stuff. Your data capabilities are probably more whiz-bang than you think.

Did you see the Gmail email addresses being sold on eBay for $70… and up? I did, and it got me thinking. I suspect though people will pay big bucks for these addresses, most aren’t using the email and data capabilities they already possess.

Instead of wondering, “How do I get a Gmail account?” ask, “Am I doing everything I can with what I already have?” Let’s look at an example.

Impress Prospects, Tailor Your Approach

Do you monitor prospects and tailor sales pitches to them? If you’re trying to impress clients with your company’s knowledge of data, technology, or both, prove you actually know what you claim to know.

Here’s a simple way to do it:

  1. Send an email. Prior to the sales meeting, send all attendees an HTML email that links to your site.
  2. Track opens. Who opened the email? When did they open it, and what pages did they visit on your Web site?
  3. Use the information in your meeting.

The above requires incorporating a “traxel” (a “tracking pixel,” or one pixel clear GIF or JPG) into the email message and accessing the Web log from the server that serves the traxel. Both are simple procedures that take just a couple of minutes to accomplish.

In one meeting I attended, the wily guy giving the pitch used the above technique. He was discussing how to use customer data.

“Let me show you what I mean,” he began.

“Let’s say you send your marketing messages out to your prospects. You can then check to see who’s seen it,” he said as he put up the slide showing who in the meeting had opened the email he’d sent to each of them.

“John here, for example, investigated the message and apparently was working late as he opened the email at 10:37 p.m.,” he said to a suddenly surprised and more attentive audience. “I’m sure your company appreciates your diligence,” he added in John’s direction.

“Some of the other email recipients also investigated the message, but some of you are apparently working so hard you didn’t quite have the time to do so,” he continued, citing the names of meeting attendees who hadn’t opened the email.

“Um… you’re right,” one participant interrupted, obviously embarrassed that he’d been “caught.”

Since tracking ability, not embarrassment, was the point of this exercise, the pitchman quickly moved on. “Sue here not only opened the email message, but she also investigated some of the biographies on our site. She knows, therefore, about Steve’s, Mary’s, and Ginny’s backgrounds,” he said, indicating the specific three bios she’d visited on the site. “Do you have any questions about any of these people?” he asked.

“I’m wondering if Mary knew Ann Carlson when she went to school,” Sue responded.

Point made, the meeting continued. This company knows its technology and knows how to use the provided data to its advantage.

The example above is meant to get you thinking. It illustrates two ways to use data you should already have access to to improve knowledge about your customer and subsequently improve your marketing.

So while you’re watching the eBay bidding for a Gmail account ($70 for a “free” email account?), think about how you can improve data and analysis use in marketing efforts.

And while you wait for bidding to stop, send me examples of good uses of data and analysis in the on- and offline marketing worlds. I’m always looking for good examples to share.

Nominations are open for the 2004 ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards.

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