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It may come as a shock, but we have some major news for retail brands: Customers are more than a number, they’re people with unique preferences, habits and personalities. In a world driven by data, there’s a temptation to view customers purely as another potential conversion rather than a person, and this is where brands miss a crucial marketing opportunity. Doing the research and uncovering the “who,” “what,” “why,” “when” and “how” behind your customers’ actions is a surefire way to tailor marketing initiatives for more efficacy and response. Makes sense, right? The better you know your customers, the more you can appeal to them on a personal level, which means more sales, stronger brand loyalty and lasting brand value. Curious about how you can get to know your customers? Check out our tips on how to develop accurate customer profiles below.

1. Start with Social Media

Social media is a hub for conversations which reveals personal preferences and information that brands can learn from and incorporate in their campaign messaging and strategy. A simple hashtag or keyword search can provide valuable insight into how customers are interacting with your brand, providing clear answers to questions like: “How do customers feel about my product?” “What products are popular and why?” And “Where are people buying my products?” These key details can inform your targeting strategy, allowing you to cater to your customers’ interests, location and educational status, among other factors. Check-ins, geofilters and hashtags are just a few social tools that track where and when customers are engaging with your brand, whether it’s at a point of sale or a branded event. This is also beneficial for retailers with multiple locations, as it offers an efficient means of monitoring foot traffic and how retail store locations are performing.

2. Monitor Purchase History

Sometimes, brands have to look internally for the most powerful customer insights, and purchase history is a perfect example of this. Not only is this user-generated content easy to acquire and access through point-of-sale systems, it also reveals compelling information about customer purchase behavior. If you have a detailed, accurate customer profile, you can start to draw connections between the customer and the items he or she is purchasing. Accounting for factors like customer age, gender and address, along with product-specific information, like date and place of purchase, price and the type of item purchased, will provide all the data you need to create a customer profile and effectively market products to highly targeted audiences. Plus, this method is a great way to determine trends in purchase history, like what items are most popular in various locations and times of year, which can be used strategically when planning sales events, discounts and specials.

3. Look at Web Traffic

As a retailer, your website is one of your biggest assets, not only because it’s a direct connector between your brand and your customers, but also because it provides exceptional customer analytics. For example, conversion funnels are a key component of any retail response marketing strategy because they outline exactly how an interested person becomes an actual customer. Leads can come from a variety of places, like search engines, PPC campaigns, email marketing and social campaigns, and understanding what’s working will ensure you are always spending dollars in the most effective places. You can also monitor bounce rate and time on page, to find out what types of products, page layouts and CTA’s (call-to-actions) are garnering the most clicks.

4. Conduct Customer Surveys

We’ve covered ways to collect customer information using third-party resources, but nothing compares to gathering customer information first-hand. Reaching out to customers directly using survey strategies is a quick and efficient way to expand customer service efforts while learning about your customers. The average shopper wants brands to take an interest in their thoughts and opinions – according to a retail survey conducted by Vision Critical 87 percent of participants wanted to “have a say in a company’s future products and services” and 86 percent said they would likely participate in a survey that they felt made a difference in the world. One of the most effective customer survey techniques is making the assessments short and sweet to maintain the user’s attention span and asking the right questions. Ultimately, you want to uncover what customers enjoy about your brand, discover areas of improvement and, while you’re at it, give users the option to provide personal information, like gender, relationship status, age and location.

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of response marketing is figuring out how to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. Creating an ideal customer profile through third-party services and direct customer outreach will not only help you find, but cater to, potential shoppers and loyal customers.

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Founded in 1972

As Orange County’s longest-standing, privately held response marketing agency, we have witnessed dynamic shifts in the world of marketing. Through it all, we have ensured our clients stay at the forefront of communication and technology, driving response and value with every new endeavor.