In order to fully understand and profile your customers, you need to engage in some sort of customer segmentation. Depending on your business function and activity, there will be various bits of information which you need to record, but almost all businesses will need names, addresses, telephone numbers and emails, at a very minimum.
Profiling customers habits
As well as the basic customer information, you need to understand what kind of customers you have. This may involve finding out how long they have been customers, order preferences and the profit your business makes from them. You may well find that even the most basic financial analysis of your existing customer performance may be surprising!
Capturing the information in a database
Databases do not need to be complicated but it is important that you think about how you want to use the data that you capture and how you will extract this from your database. As an example, by using an excel spreadsheet, you can add both name, email and address fields, meaning you have much more control over methods of communication and how personal you want to make any contact you may have with your customer.
Variable data drives return of marketing investment
The greater your knowledge of your customers, the better your marketing communications will be as you can engage with them on a far better level. This can now go much further than just a name - it is possible to develop marketing campaigns that reflect you customers purchasing preferences.
Using a combination of variable data as well as purchasing profile data, you can help customer retention through events driven marketing, loyalty schemes and cross selling against individual requirements.
Investing in the right customers
Through effective profiling, you will not only understand who is buying what, and in what quantity, but you will also begin to understand the customer journey. You should recognise the stages each of your customers are at, and this will allow you to identify your audiences and target specific campaigns at them, giving a better return on your marketing investment.
Thinking it through
By thinking about what you are trying to achieve with your marketing campaigns, you can effectively build valuable consumer insight. Initially, this will be a slow process as data might be missing or incomplete. Yet, through building progressive insight, you will soon start to develop a real understanding and gain the benefits of considering this data within your marketing campaign.