Customers are providing a continuous flow of mind-boggling data in their online ventures every day. Sometimes they are very aware of how much they are telling the world about themselves, but most of the time they are oblivious to it. Nevertheless, the specific data, when harnessed, could be a wellspring of information to help marketers and organizations reach customers with tailored materials. Unfortunately, marketers have not all jumped at the opportunities, be it because of the relative newness of social networking, the challenge of harnessing, interpreting, and implementing programs utilizing the data. Now there are websites and companies sprouting up to help marketers do just that, including Google Analytics Tutorials and HootSuite. Both of the site mentioned help take the statistics from social networking sites and help guide marketing efforts and convert investments into revenue.
In a Mashable article titled “Why Marketers Should Get to Know Customers’ ‘Digital Selves’” author Peter Pachal refers to a point Adobe’s Chad Warren said, “When brands successfully connect with customers around the things they love, advertising ceases to be a commercial endeavor and instead becomes simply useful information.” Adobe and other organizations are attempting to tie together “signals” customers are sending out from many different places in order to tailor creative material to match customer interests. A great point Pachal makes is that in order to do this effectively, organizations need to build this ability to tailor into the marketing process from the beginning, rather that try to insert it as an after-thought.
Another Mashable article titled “Beyond Likes: How Google and Adobe Aim to Measure Your True Social ROI” compares Adobe SocialAnalytics and GoogleAnalytics in their abilities to harness the social media and other online customer data mentioned in Pachal’s piece to improve CRM. As proof of the scope of the task, author Todd Wasserman said, “Given the dynamic nature of social media and the mind-boggling number of variables involved with each campaign, isolating the elements that made a campaign successful might be tough.”
While some segments of the business world are clamoring to get to the numbers, there are some that are taking the more “listen and learn” approach before jumping into to social data pool, notably banking. In this article from American Banker, Shane Kite details several bank’s toe-dipping in the data pool, with no real commitment to scour the social networks for customer information. This could be because of the high level of compliance mentioned on HootSuite to which financial institutions are required to adhere. It could be because banks have a vested interest in maintaining impressions of steadfast, traditional, stable business partners. They note the rapidity with which a customer incentive program spread through social media, but it was through customers and not initiated by the bank.
In previous posts here and on classmate blogs, I refer to the value in harnessing online customer data for targeted marketing and surveying. With all this taken into consideration here are some questions I have: For companies, are personalized marketing strategies worth the investment in the long-run? For customers, is being on the receiving end of personalized marketing creepy or comfortable?