Marketing is about influence and persuasion, and you cannot persuade until you can perceive. Seek first to understand, then be understood. That has always stuck with me, because in every business — and in marketing in particular —you have to understand people before they can understand you.” – Steven Covey

A certain anticipation in the room creates a sizzling energy that permeates the entire marketing floor.  The acquisition team silently glares at their screens with perspiration glowing from their foreheads, waiting for their email stats to update…

Suddenly, the silence breaks as someone enthusiastically shouts “WOOOHOOOO!!  We just reached our (insert____ #) email address!!”  A loud roar is heard throughout the floor.

…Ok, that might be a bit overdramatized but you get the point.  It’s a pretty big deal when your marketing acquisition team hits their numbers.  After all, acquiring customers is the lifeblood of any business, and it’s no simple feat.

Now the celebration begins, right?

Let’s slow down for a moment, as herein lies the question.  What additional information do you know about each email?  Or rather, how much do you know about each person that opted-in to your site?   Gaining minute details on people opting-in to your email program is where most organizations and marketers miss the point – that is, unless you’re a spammer and only care about the number of emails you collect.  It’s important to recognize that each email you gain is a real person (at least most are) and they hand over personal information that must be respected and used appropriately for valuable communications.

Thinking about it a bit further, you must identify your business goals for your marketing and digital channels. What are you trying to achieve? What do you want your customers to experience? Then start thinking about what you could learn about them to help them in that customer journey and what kinds of moments of truth you would like to create. Creating those ‘value moments’ where you get something you want and give something they want is what each marketer should strive towards.

The mistake would be in collecting just an email address. This may serve as a great entry point into better understanding the individual, however, to effectively communicate with the individual it’s important to have additional information to create what we call a ‘single view’ of the customer.  Here are a few ways this can be achieved:

–         Preference Center- Direct the user to answer questions about themselves to give you a more complete picture of who they are and what they desire from their interactions.

–         Hit Data- Append this session data to each user record. This will give you a behavioral perspective on the user, such as, what they clicked, how long they stayed on a page, and whether they watched a video or read an article and the type of content.

–         Data Appending– Appending 3rd party data can give massive insights into user demographics, behavioral insights and purchase preferences, though this data should be used thoughtfully.

–         POS or Purchase Data- depending on the business type, purchase data may be available and can be linked back to the user.

–         Social Data– Social sign-on is a great way to get additional info such as birthday, gender, interests, etc. You can also incorporate Likes and Shares on your site which can be tracked and linked back to the record which give social influence insights.

So often times rather than getting a more complete view of their customers, marketers are scrambling to make their numbers despite the digital channel’s transparency and measurability. This is the failure of marketing to view the whole person — the real human.  This continues to perpetuate the impression that many marketers are no more convinced of the efficacy of digital marketing than they are of all the other channels they have used.  Marketers must start to connect the dots, ask the right questions and communicate with their consumers, as humans.

Take a step back and ask what your acquisition team is doing to connect the dots between your organizations’ available 1st party consumer data and 3rd party data to get a single view of the customer.  If this is something that has not yet been considered, it might be time to look into leveraging this essential data.


Originally published by Acxiom