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Customer loyalty: How better data builds better relationships

Expert tips or making your data manageable and actionable

As marketers, we have access to what seems like a limitless amount of data about our customers.
We know their contact info, how often they visit our websites, what pages they view and what kind of jam they put on their toast this morning. (Note: It’s boysenberry).

But the challenge is how do we use that data to better engage our customers?

Emma and Virsys12 brought together marketing and CRM experts for a panel discussion to answer this question and more. Bryan Huddleston, President and CEO of the Nashville Technology Council, led and moderated the discussion, which yielded several useful tips (and free beer and snacks) for the nearly 100 sales and marketing professionals in attendance.

But first, meet the experts who participated in the panel:

Tammy Hawes, Founder and President, Virsys12
Grey Garner, Market Strategist, Emma, Inc.
Joseph Curtis, Regional Sales Manager, Salesforce.com
Troy Crabtree, COO-CTO, LetterLogic
Jennifer Martin, Vice President, Alday Communications


Breaking down data silos

A challenge faced by many organizations is that the data they’ve collected is inaccessible to everyone who needs it. Here‘s what the experts had to say:

  • Too many organizations have silos of data that don’t talk to each other and that users throughout the company can’t access. Assess the various sources of data within your organization and make connections where possible.
  • While you’re breaking down data silos, crush the organizational ones, too. For example, data that the sales team collects could be useful to the marketing team and vice versa.
  • Overall, clean and accessible data makes processes more efficient and facilitates growth. Make it a priority.


Digging out from the data avalanche

Once all of the data has been uncovered, marketers can find themselves buried by the amount of data that their organization has collected. How can marketers make sense of it all? The experts’ advice:

  • Focus on the important stuff. More data isn’t necessarily better, so marketers should emphasize the quality and relevance of their data rather than the quantity.
  • If you’re not already doing so, then you need to use a CRM tool to organize and store your data. This makes it so much easier to manage, update and ensure the accuracy of your data.
  • Once you’ve organized the most relevant data, then it not only becomes accessible, but it also becomes actionable. And hey, that’s the reason you’re collecting all of this data to begin with.

Creating a personalized customer experience

Now comes the fun part. Combine this new-fangled data with your creative to build and engage your customer base. Here’s how:

  • Email marketing has shifted from “blasts” (ick) to tailored communication. Make that next send-off a personal one.
  • The key is to turn your big data into small data. Organize and chunk your data into usable bites by segmenting your audience.
  • You have far too many contacts and too little time to personalize every email by hand. Audience segmentation and automation allow you to quickly create a personal experience for your customers at scale.

Special thanks to the expert panelists and all who attended the event! And if you have any questions about managing and using your data in your email marketing, feel free to ask away in the comments.