3 Ways to Find and Keep Valuable Customers

Here are three ways to find and keep valuable customers in a data-driven marketing environment.

Thanks to the proliferation of data and content customization trends, today's customers aren't as responsive to one-size-fits-all appeals as previous generations and instead expect a highly personalized shopping experience.

According to a Yahoo survey, 78 percent of responding consumers said they expect personalized content from advertisers. Marketers created these expectations by using data from past purchases, loyalty programs, social media and other sources to develop customized content and sales appeals. A data mining gold rush is well underway, with merchants poring over data from multiple sources to identify nuggets of valuable consumer information.

But the sheer volume and diversity of available datasets pose their own challenges. Today, customers choose to interact with companies in many ways, including social media, email, text message, e-commerce or CRM platforms, chat rooms, and phone calls. Many companies find it challenging to aggregate information from so many data streams.

The resulting data silos prevent marketers from gaining a clear picture of the customer and achieving true personalization. And in addition to data silos, operational silos also complicate the personalization process. Operational silos arise when teams like marketing and CRM work in isolation from one another, failing to share data and join forces to drive sales and satisfaction.

The companies that have successfully overcome these challenges have done so by facing the obstacles head-on. Here are three ways to find and keep valuable customers in a data-driven marketing environment:

1. Identify your top customers. Customer information flows into a company via a variety of streams. A well-designed marketing automation platform makes it easy to link customer identities across the data streams and then access matching databases on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. In this way, marketers can get anonymous data in aggregate from databases larger than any company could assemble in-house. This empowers marketers to find valuable new customers, analyze behavior and precisely target the most engaged and valuable segments of their audience.

2. Target customers with loyalty and retention campaigns. To effectively target customers, it's important to know who they are, but it's also critical to know where they are in the sales funnel. A marketing automation platform can provide crucial information on how customers move through the sales funnel, identifying steps they typically take before making a purchase. Armed with this information, marketers can identify their most valuable customers, accurate gauge where customers are in their journey and develop campaigns that effectively target customer groups with relevant offers, tailoring communication to prospects, active customers, at-risk customers and dormant customers.

3.Ensure that all internal teams stay focused on retention and customer loyalty. Marketers who want to achieve the highest levels of customer engagement should make sure the entire team-not just marketing but CRM and other customer-facing groups-fully understand that the company's most engaged and valuable segment of customers generate the lion's share of revenue. By sharing data and working together, teams across the company can stay focused on retaining the most valuable customer segment and gear various campaigns toward generating loyalty.

Delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time has always been the marketer's ultimate objective. The ability to capture and process massive datasets finally puts this goal within reach. By unifying data from multiple sources to map out and operationalize the customer journey, marketers can finally achieve the levels of personalization today's consumers expect and drive significant revenue gains.