How Can Retailers Better Target Customers? on bigdataexchange.com

How Can Retailers Better Target Customers?

It’s all about having the right data – and knowing how to use it

Fall is the time for retailers to really start thinking about the upcoming holiday season. Because so many companies depend on strong sales at the end of the year, they have to be sure their marketing campaigns are on point.

To get a glimpse of what we can expect this year, let’s take a look at some numbers from last year courtesy of the National Retail Federation:

  • 174 million people in the U.S. shopped from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday
  • 51 million shopped exclusively in-store
  • 58 million shopped exclusively online
  • 64 million shopped both in-store and online
  • People who shopped both in-store and online spent an average of $49 more than the in-store-only shopper and $82 more than the online-only shopper
  • 63% of smartphone owners used mobile devices to make holiday decisions
  • 29% of smartphone owners used their phones to make purchases
  • The average amount each person spent over the 5-day period was $335.47
  • The highest average amount was $419.52, which was spent by people age 25-34

Additional stats show that for Black Friday, more than 46 percent of digital revenue came via mobile devices, which was up over 18 percent compared to 2016. However, most of the shopping that day still takes place in actual stores. Multichannel Merchant reported that while 66 million people shopped online, 77 million went to stores to make a purchase.

Millions of people are shopping in the run-up to the holiday season, giving retailers a huge pool of potential customers. But how do you find the ones who actually want your goods?

Instead of just devising a marketing strategy based on predictive data and hoping it reaches your ideal customer, wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly who that person is – and what and when he or she is looking to buy?

What real-time behavioral data and device-matching can do for your retail business

Your business probably utilizes data in its marketing, but it’s very possible that it just isn’t that useful. A lot of the data being sold has several inherent problems, such as being way too broad and sometimes outdated. But this is never an issue with the data BDEX offers. With more than 900 billion data points, we can help you figure out exactly who your best customers are.

The data allows you to check out the shopping behavior of someone in real time. This means that if they’re looking at a golf club online, for example, and you happen to sell golf clothes, you’ll know it – and you can immediately hit them with an ad or offer. Plus, with device-matching, you can follow the same shopper across multiple devices and adjust the messaging and the vehicle accordingly.

How to find customers in the real world

While it may seem as though all shopping now takes place online, remember those stats mentioned earlier. Brick-and-mortar businesses are still important to many people, and there’s a tactic that can let you know which stores they’re visiting: geofencing.

Geofencing uses software to draw a virtual line around a specific area, followed by telling you when a mobile device enters this boundary. This is beneficial in a couple of different ways. First, you can see which stores someone goes to, including a competitor. And when this information is matched with real-time behavioral data, you can see what they’re buying or perhaps thinking about buying. Your business can then send out its own offers for competing or complementary products at the exact time a prospect is looking to make a purchase.

If you’re working on your holiday marketing plan, BDEX wants to help you have an even more profitable season. To learn more about what we offer, call us at 917-410-6616 or send an email to info@bdex.com.

The Elements of Effective Targeted Marketing, Part 2 on bigdataexchange.com

The Elements of Effective Targeted Marketing, Part 2

The indicators that your ideal customer is actually ready to buy

In part one of this series, we discussed ways to identify your ideal customer. That’s the first, basic step in targeted marketing.

This is insufficient to refine a campaign, however – not by a long shot. True, highly-targeted marketing is all about reaching out to individuals who are actually ready to buy. And there are two subsequent steps in the process to achieve this: using predictive analytics and then real-time indicators that point to an imminent purchase.

Predictive analytics are last-gen targeted marketing – but still useful

The last generation of targeted marketing relied heavily (almost solely) on predictive analytics – which looks at data to spot behaviors, milestones, and demographics that are correlated with a purchase decision.

For example, as we described in a previous post:

The data will let you know that “Craig Smith” is about to finish paying off his car loan. A predictive analysis suggests that he might be interested in buying a new car. However, Craig may be just as likely to keep it in order to avoid making car payments. What if there are 10 million Craig Smiths out there? Not many of those individuals will shop for a new car. In fact, statistics might indicate that only about 10% of them will do so.

Predictive analytics takes the data describing your ideal customer – which may be, say, 50 million people for a national business – and refines it down to those who may be looking to buy based on historical data; in the above case, the 10 million individuals who just paid off their car loan.

Predictive analytics can use a variety of factors for different decisions. As another example, an individual who just moved and forwarded their mail may be in the market for new furniture for a new home. Individuals who bought a tablet computer five years ago could be ready for an upgrade. Consumers who completed the minimum contract for cell phone service might be interested in another provider with a lower rate. Perhaps someone recently had a baby. They would need diapers, clothing, baby supplies, and even furniture, such as cribs or changing tables.

These predictors are very useful and represented a massive step forward for targeted marketing. But they are still inefficient when used in isolation.

Predictive analytics narrowed down the above example list of 50 million to 10 million potential car shoppers – but how many of the latter group will actually buy?

If that number is really only one million, nine out of ten marketing dollars are wasted if you reach out to the whole group. This is why predictive analytics must be combined with real-time data that features actual indicators someone is shopping for a new car.

This is where targeted marketing gets real.

What signals that a customer is actively looking to purchase something?

Indicator #1: Online activity

One of the easiest ways to know whether someone is in the market for a product is through their online activity. Whether the person has visited cars.com, realtor.com, or a site that offers free diaper delivery, these indicators can be tracked and collected as real-time data.

Indicator #2: Visited a physical location

Technology can tell us when a customer has visited a physical location, such as a car dealership or a retail clothing store. It’s done via geofencing, a location-based service that uses GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular data to track where people go within a certain radius. You can even collect data based on point-of-service (POS) systems to find out what customers bought if anything.

The complete targeted marketing process with BDEX

You’ll start the targeting process by defining your customers, and BDEX can help you refine this definition with data. From there, we fuse predictive analytics with the real-time indicators of people who are looking to buy right now. Based on these parameters, we provide you with an actionable list of your best customers as they are actively shopping for your product or service.

In the above example that could represent a nationwide auto dealer, the process moved a list from 50 million to 10 million – and finally down to the one million individuals who are really looking to buy a car.

But that’s just a generic example. The data is often specific enough – in terms of industry, product or service, and behaviors – to narrow down weekly lists to merely a few dozen individuals, in some cases. This means you get a recurring, narrow, and highly-actionable list of potential customers.

When this list is fused with our Data Exchange Platform (DXP) and Device Graph, it includes contact information as well as the different devices that prospects use in their daily lives.

This gives you the power to reach out to individuals who are specifically looking for your products and services, as well as the means to reach out to them where they are likely to see your message.

Marketing doesn’t get any more targeted than that.

Reach out to us today to learn more.

BDEX features the first-ever Data Exchange Platform (DXP). The BDEX DXP and DAAS platforms enable companies to acquire impartial, quality-scored, third-party data reaching the right people at the right time like never before. We offer cross-device matching, auto dealership services, DAAS, real-time targeting, and custom segment building that is ideal for any industry, including auto dealers, retailers, brands, agencies, out-of-home, and franchises.

The Elements of Effective Targeted Marketing, Part 1 on bigdataexchange.com

The Elements of Effective Targeted Marketing, Part 1

Identifying your ideal customer

The first, essential element of any targeted marketing strategy is identifying the ideal customer for your product or service. Actually, this is crucial for anyone who wants to build a successful business.

And it applies no matter what you’re selling; whether it’s a car, a washing machine, diapers, or legal services. Any successful strategy relies on having a basic understanding of the specific target market.

How to identify your target audience

1. Compile the demographics and habits of your ideal customer

Start to identify your target audience by thinking about the characteristics and behaviors that make a person your ideal customer.

These demographic and psychographic factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Cultural heritage
  • Geography
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Income
  • Lifestyle
  • Type of residence
  • Education level
  • Interests
  • Common problems

To summarize the findings, think in terms of one to a few people who represent your customer base, and then build an ideal customer avatar for each one.

For example, a 35-year-old married woman with two children and a full-time job. You must also try to detail what kind of residence she lives in and where its located, as well as her interests and common problems, such as being too busy to … [insert pain point]. The more specific you can get, the better.

These avatars will be influenced by …

2. Studying your existing customers and accessing third-party research

If you have an established business, you’ll want to study your existing customers. Who is buying or ordering your product? Is it single men, married women, Millennials, Baby Boomers, outdoor enthusiasts?

Look at which of your products have the best sales record and think about why they do better than others, and with whom. Understanding the buying habits of your customers helps you determine the best way to reach them and with what message. There are of course differences between the demographics and psychographics of someone looking to buy a minivan versus a BMW, for example.

In addition to your own, highly-valuable experience with current customers, there are third-party research services that can add layers of contextual demographic and psychographic information tailored to your industry, products or services, and geographic area.

3. Conduct a competitive analysis

You should also do a competitive analysis by looking at similar businesses in your area (or your industry). For example, a dealership that sells Hondas would research what competing dealerships are doing, in terms of pricing and deals, as well as other marketing specifics. Who are your competitors targeting in their marketing? What kind of marketing vehicles are they using?

You’ve defined your ideal customer and the media and products/services they use. What’s next?

Studying what you believe to be your ideal customer won’t tell you the full story. If you own a car dealership, simply advertising to everyone who falls under the basic profile of a car buyer won’t be very effective.

That’s still a pretty wide group. Not everyone in that demographic is actually looking to buy a car right now, and you’ll end up wasting vast resources marketing to people who aren’t even thinking about a purchase.

As we discuss in the next installment of this series, the basic profile of an ideal customer interface with both predictive analytics and the latest actionable, real-time data that pinpoint individuals who are actually ready to buy.

Click here to read part two.

BDEX features the first-ever Data Exchange Platform (DXP). The BDEX DXP and DAAS platforms enable companies to acquire impartial, quality-scored, third-party data reaching the right people at the right time like never before. We offer cross-device matching, auto dealership services, DAAS, real-time targeting, and custom segment building that is ideal for any industry, including auto dealers, retailers, brands, agencies, out-of-home, and franchises. Contact us today to get your customized marketing data.

How Mobile has Enabled Target Marketing on bigdataexchange.com

How Mobile has Enabled Target Marketing

Now you can find your customers anywhere, anytime

Attracting potential buyers to a service or product has always been one of the primary challenges of any business. For years, the most common approach utilized poorly-targeted outbound methods – TV commercials, display ads, bulk direct mail, and similar vehicles.

Recently, there has been a move toward inbound marketing, which is focused on creating online content that lures in customers. And while all of these tactics can be effective, what if there was an even more precise way of reaching prospects?

What if you could get what you’re selling in front of someone at almost at the exact moment they’d be interested in purchasing it?

Using data for real-time mobile targeting

Right now, about 78 percent of Americans use a mobile device, and the total number of people who own at least one worldwide is 3.7 billion. It’s no wonder that online searching and sales using a smartphone or tablet have skyrocketed in recent years – and that these figures are only increasing. This is why smart companies now put an intense focus on mobile marketing.

With people spending an average of about six hours per day on a device, it just makes sense. And businesses can take advantage of mobile usage in an even more powerful way with real-time targeting.

How BDEX can connect you with customers

At BDEX, we can give your company real, actionable data that makes people aware of what you’re offering when they’re looking for it. We do this by allowing a business to see someone’s buying and search activity across all of their devices.

How it works

When a person does something like download an app, this connects that particular device to their email address or IP address. This uniquely ties that individual to that device.

This information is then captured in a database called a Device Graph. Other databases will then be checked to find the same unique identifiers, along with information volunteered by the individual, including their name, address, or phone number.

The benefits to a marketer are obvious; not only do they know what a person is planning to buy, they’ll know the devices they use as well as their contact information. This allows highly personalized and precisely-targeted marketing campaigns.

Find customers online and off

Wouldn’t it be nice to know who’s buying from your competitors? You can. In addition to discovering what people are planning to buy, you can also find out where they’re shopping.

This is possible with geofencing, which involves setting up a virtual boundary around a specific geographic area. Using software or an app that utilizes things like GPS or even just Wi-Fi, a business will know when a mobile device enters this boundary.

Not only will you be able to see where someone goes – such as to one of your competitors – but it may be tied to if and what he or she buys. This information is valuable on its own – but geofencing combined with other actionable data allows a company to send out immediate notifications about their own specials or deals.

How to get even more personal with your customers

Personalization could be the most important component of marketing these days. Almost 80 percent of consumers say that unless an offer from a retailer has been personalized based on their previous actions with a business, they won’t act on it.

While email is still a good way of reaching people on a personal level, texting has proven to be much more effective. The open rate for emails is about 22 percent. Texting, on the other hand, has an open rate of around 98 percent.

While people will almost always open a text you send them, you have to be smart in your approach:

  • Make sure they know who you are
  • Make sure you know who they are
  • Send them pertinent information at the right time
  • Don’t forget the call-to-action
  • Keep it short and sweet

Another benefit of device matching is that it allows you to dynamically serve display ads to that device on the media that these individuals use. Someone who is searching online for a specific product or service will see your message, at the exact time they are ready to buy.

BDEX will give you real insights that convert

If you’re tired of wasting time and money on poorly-targeted marketing campaigns that bear little fruit, it’s time to start doing things differently. BDEX can help you easily find your ideal customers when they want to buy. And more often than ever before, that means reaching them on a mobile device.

Contact us to get started.

Data-Driven Direct Marketing for Auto Dealers on bigdataexchange.com

Data-Driven Direct Marketing for Auto Dealers

How modern car buying habits can be used to create highly-targeted marketing

Just as with nearly every aspect of our lives, technology has transformed the way people search for a new car. That same technology is also helpful in collecting data that marketers can use to very specifically target potential buyers.

Of course, having the right information is essential. In the past, the data has told marketers that “Alan Smith’s” truck loan will be paid off soon, but it can’t tell if he’s actually searching for a new truck. Until now.

BDEX uses real-time data to more precisely target those who are actively in the market for a new vehicle. How is this done? First, let’s discuss modern search habits when it comes time to buy a new vehicle.

Search habits of the modern automotive customer

Car buying has gone digital in a very big way. A majority of customers now begin the buying process by doing a tremendous amount of online research, from looking for types of vehicles and reviews to maintenance costs and depreciation of the major car brands. They also use a mixture of different devices for research, including smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Look at these stats from an AutoTrader.com/Kelly Blue Book study:

  • Car buyers spend 59% of their time researching online
  • 46% of car buyers used multiple devices in online searches

•  83% used a computer (desktop/laptop); 46% used a smartphone; 41% used a tablet

•  14% only used mobile devices

  • Only 30% of car buyers knew the exact make/model they wanted before they started researching
  • Third-party sites are the most-used of any online resource, with 78% of car buyers visiting at least one of them
  • Car buyers spent 60% of their time on third-party sites
  • The top 5 online activities of car buyers:

•  Researching car prices

•  Finding actual vehicles listed for sale

•  Comparing different models

•  Finding the current worth of a car

•  Locating a dealer/getting dealer info

More evidence of modern automotive buying habits, including the use of social media, from a study by JD Power & Associates:

  • Internet shoppers visit an average of 10 automotive websites in their shopping process
  • The three most frequently visited third-party sites are: Consumer Reports, Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book
  • 22% of new-vehicle shoppers use social media sites as a shopping source

Once digital research is complete, the majority of shoppers still visit an auto dealership in person

Walking into the dealership is still the most common initial point of contact for car buyers, according to JD Power and Associates. 56% walked into a dealership, compared to 25% who used the phone, 14% who sent an email, and 3% who participated in an online chat.

How BDEX uses the modern search habits of car buyers to create targeted lists of data

BDEX uses real-time targeting to compile data from connected devices that marketers can use to offer relevant products related to current online (and even offline) buying activity. For instance, the data can tell marketers that a potential buyer has visited a site like cars.com, downloaded an app, or signed up for a newsletter. Unique identifiers are fed into a database and cross-referenced with other databases to help identify consumer behaviors, devices, and patterns.

Marketers can learn when users have been researching cars online, which sites were visited, and the specific device that accessed them.

Precise data that targets offline habits

People do still need to visit dealerships in person, either to test drive a number of different vehicles or purchase a specific one. So, it’s also important to be able to track this kind of activity.

BDEX leverages “geofencing,” a technology in which GPS, radio frequency identifiers (RFID), Wi-Fi, and cellular data are utilized to see information about the places people go, including a local car dealership. This makes it possible to identify prospects who have visited competitors in your area – which lets you know that you also need to get their attention.

Data that allows you to target modern car buyers (or any other product)

BDEX uses the shopping habits of modern consumers to provide data that goes beyond guesswork – is this prospect actually looking to buy a car? This enables you to vastly increase the efficiency of every marketing dollar compared to traditional direct marketing methods. We have over 700 million device ID connections, as well as more than 900 billion data signals available through our proprietary Data Exchange Platform.

To learn more about BDEX and what this data can do for your automotive marketing, contact us.

Getting the Channel Mix Right in Target Marketing on bigdataexchange.com

Getting the Channel Mix Right in Target Marketing

The marketer’s channel-mix challenge across the digital landscape

Back in 2011, Google introduced us to a new marketing acronym. Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is the moment where first impressions happen and the path to purchase often begins. Google explained that it’s a moment where information and marketing happen, and the consumer makes choices that impact the success or failure of nearly every brand in the world. Talk about the opposite of a “no pressure” moment.

Zero Moments of Truth happen. Nevertheless, many people aren’t going to remember the very first time they were exposed to a brand. “Ah, yes. It was a little after 3 in the afternoon on a Friday. I saw a mobile banner while I was checking the weather on my favorite app.”

That’s because it often takes more than the ZMOT to help a prospect overcome inertia and take the steps to become a customer. What leads to this conversion is a concerted effort to push recognition towards engagement. Often, we must be exposed to something multiple times for it to be stored in our long-term memory.

A marketer’s biggest challenge is to deliver an unbroken chain of impressions – on the right marketing channels to the right people – once the seed is planted with a Zero Moment of Truth. It’s a real-time pursuit across the digital landscape, and revenue from a customer is the prize.

Marketing by moments

There may be some steps unique to a particular industry, product, or service, but purchasing behavior generally has five predictable steps:

  1. Problem recognition: The path to purchasing starts when a prospect identifies their need or problem. Stop and read that again. It means that your ZMOT message should be focused as much on their pain point as it is your solution.
  2. Information search: A prospect will begin their search process in earnest now. They’ll look first for validation, perspective, and education about the problem – as well as how others have gone about solving it. The more complex the product or service, the longer this search will last. Think new car or real estate.
  3. Evaluation of alternatives: Do you stand out from the competition? Good. It still doesn’t mean a prospect will become your customer. This is the age of unlimited free search. Prospects want to be assured they’re about to make the right decision. The overarching solution here is to give prospects every reason to go with you.
  4. Purchase: Problem validated. Research completed. Ditto with the comparisons. Now it’s time to make the purchase decision. Marketing messages here usually revolve around a sense of security and value about the decision.
  5. Post-purchase evaluation: The transaction may have occurred, but the purchase is far from complete. A customer must now determine whether he or she is satisfied with the decision. So, another round of evaluation occurs, and brands must continue to communicate with these new customers to make sure they’re happy.

There have to be specific marketing messages delivered at one or more of these steps to encourage a decision to buy. Marketers must locate the right prospects as they take each step closer to deciding whether you understand their problem and offer the best solution.

Which channel keeps you by their side? That’s not the only challenge to conquer. It’s also necessary to consider the benefits and limitations of each channel. For example, SMS can be delivered instantly, has a higher open rate than any other marketing channel, and is extremely cost-effective. On the downside, you’ll have a limited message length and your choice of rich media is extremely narrow. Dynamically targeted banner ads have great targeting (these days) but could get lost in the mix during web surfing. Phone calls can be extremely effective but potentially invasive.

Some channels have a higher engagement rate, while others give you the opportunity of frequency. And not everyone uses all channels – so how do you follow a prospect along the path to purchase if they’re appearing and disappearing like the Cheshire Cat?

Fitting the puzzle pieces together

Marketers know they must be present in as many steps along the way as possible while the prospect is taking the buyer’s journey. There’s no pre-configured map since marketing channels have different characteristics. It’s up to you to determine the right mix so that you’re making the best impression when the prospect is ready to make a decision.

The first step in doing this in today’s complex media environment getting actionable, highly-targeted, real-time data that reveals exactly who is looking to buy your product or service – and which channels they use. BDEX can help you with that.

Find out how you can access real-time data that connect the dots, allowing you to reach prospects who are on the buyer’s journey.

BDEX features the first-ever Data Exchange Platform (DXP). The BDEX DXP and DAAS platforms enable companies to acquire impartial, quality-scored, third-party data reaching the right people at the right time like never before. We offer cross-device matching, auto dealership services, DAAS, real-time targeting, and custom segment building that is ideal for any industry, including auto dealers, retailers, brands, agencies, out-of-home, and franchises. Contact us today to get your customized marketing data.