There is no question that “batch and blast” email marketing is becoming increasingly less effective at capturing an audience — let alone retaining customers. Every day, the inboxes of consumers are being flooded with irrelevant, non-personal messages that leave them feeling disengaged and even lead to clicking “delete” or “unsubscribe”.

Unfortunately, there is an extensive pool of critical customer data already being collected by B2C companies on a regular basis that is being underutilized or simply not utilized at all. This stems from a lack of awareness that customer data can be further maximized to turn the lackadaisical “spray and pray” marketing approach into a highly personalized relationship-building tool.

In order to do so, however, it’s important to know exactly what data to capture, how best to capture it, and how to turn it into truly actionable insights.

Identifying the “right” data

Any retailer or e-commerce brand that is collecting data and understanding who their customers are is far better off. It opens the door to opportunities for interacting with them in a way that provides real value. No customer wants to receive an email that is over-generic or doesn’t resonate with them at all, like advertising the launch of a new male bicycle to a female customer.

This is where identifying the best data points to collect comes into play. Off the bat, companies should be collecting some level of personally identifiable information (PII) like email address, phone number, and location. Even one piece of identifying information helps develop a basis from which to slowly act on. From there, collecting more information about their demographics, interests, purchase behavior, and how they interact with the brand allows companies to understand who the customer really is.

The most effective ways to collect customer data 

Collecting customer data is not meant just for marketing and to sell products to customers. It’s also about providing stellar customer service and building relationships.

At Ascent360, retailers often tell us that their shop employees feel uncomfortable asking for this information from customers. The key is to change the frame of reference: instead of asking if they’d like to be added to a digital marketing list, explain how providing their information will allow the company to provide them with real value. For example, sending them important information about what’s going on in the store, new technology, or updates related to their purchase — communications that will make them feel like they are part of the family or community.

Companies can use both customer incentive as well as staff incentive to encourage data collection. Examples of customer incentives might include offering a code for a future purchase or the ability to enter a drawing. Staff incentives come from transparency surrounding metrics, and if an employee achieves a specific metric from collecting data, they receive some type of payout or reward.

Putting data into action with Ascent360

The purpose of the Ascent360 data-driven marketing platform is to ingest and aggregate all of this collected data and clean it to create customer “golden records”. This allows companies to segment their customers based on geographical location, gender, purchase history, spending behavior, and other identifying factors. With that information, they are able to send highly personalized 1:1 messages at scale that leave a lasting impression on customers, encourage them to engage, and create customers for life. The lifetime value of a customer is just as important as the monetary value of their last purchase.

One of Ascent360’s clients, Belmont Wheelworks, has been putting these strategies into action since setting up the platform. Based on information they’ve gathered about their customers’ purchase history (e.g. hybrid bicycle purchases under $1,700), they have built an automated, customer-service oriented email sequence to send specifically to those shoppers. This includes a thank you email, a guide on how to maintain the bike they purchased, a check-in on how they enjoyed their first ride, and a reminder to bring the bike in for a tune-up. Eventually, they’ll send a “happy one year bike birthday” message to celebrate the anniversary of that exciting purchase.

In the past, Wheelworks sent out the same emails to everyone on their list no matter how they interacted with the store. Since adopting Ascent360, they have had the tools to easily create emails and build automated sequences that are tailored specifically to what their customers want. Because of this, the team has seen an increase in responses and growing metrics of customers interacting with the brand and returning to the store after opening the emails.

Today, modern platforms like Ascent360 bring the retailer back to the table and enable them to compete with the “big guys” in the industry by activating critical data. At Ascent360, we provide end-to-end support to help companies implement the platform and get started right away in making their data work for them.

To see the platform in action, check out our latest webinar with NBDA, Wheelworks, and Lightspeed: How to Capture, Engage, and Retain New Bike Enthusiasts with a Personal Touch.

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