Big Data is getting more complex by the day. In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone. The world is moving faster, data is exploding, and on-the-go furniture consumers are becoming more difficult to target.
Many furniture retailers continue to struggle with the tedious task of accessing and evaluating data to perform crucial marketing functions to better target today’s furniture shoppers.
As is frequently the case, marketing departments are heavily reliant on IT departments to access data in a format that can be used. Marketers are often required to have some type of understanding of the architecture in the data system to be able to write scripts to submit to IT. The process to simply send out a direct mail campaign can take weeks. Marketing requests are also often under-prioritized as IT priorities shift.
Furniture retailers who integrate their marketing data to perform analytics without the involvement of IT will have a huge competitive advantage moving forward. Many retailers tend to shy away from a marketing database project, citing time and resources as barriers to getting started. However, managing customer data and implementing an analytics solution is not as difficult as many believe.
Here are some critical steps to get started:
Step One: Pull Your Data into a Marketing Database
Consumers interact with furniture retailers across multiple channels, such as billing departments, POS, digital media, customer service centers, email, and more. This data is often stored in multiple silos across the company. Integrating each and every source of customer information is absolutely vital.
A well-integrated marketing database should include measures and controls to ensure the data is accurate and remains current. Data decays at an average rate of 2 percent per month, which means you can expect 25 to 30 percent of your organization’s contact data to go bad each year under normal circumstances. (Source: NetProspex) Customers move, names are misspelled, and households split. Data quality measures ensure you avoid being a victim to the adage “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. Nothing is worse than implementing a marketing database project only to be derailed by bad data.
Creating a marketing database involves the following functions:
- Clean and standardize data so consistent formats can be integrated.
- Integrate multiple data sources residing in varying formats and multiple silos to create a comprehensive, 360o customer view.
- Consolidate customer data into a single record, and eliminate duplicate data.
- Append missing customer information for a more complete view of the customer.
Using a data management solution, a fully functional marketing solution can be delivered in as little as 8 weeks.
Step Two: Identify Your Best Customers and Prospects
Customers are rich resources of information. A furniture retailer must be able to answer the following questions:
- What do my customers look like?
- What products have they purchased, and what is their purchasing behavior?
- Who are my best customers and what will keep them loyal?
- What is the best way to reach my customers and prospects?
- What patterns may indicate unhappy customers and how can I mitigate attrition risk?
New technologies and user-friendly analytical tools enable marketers and business-users to quickly find the answers to these questions within the marketing database. For example, a furniture marketer can pinpoint their best customers by analyzing information such as product purchases. When rich demographics are also added to the mix, the highest performing furniture groups can easily be determined among customer segments. Perhaps living room purchases are highest among your customers between 45-60 with a household income between $75,000 and $99,000.
With an understanding of your best customers, the same criteria can then be applied to find your best prospects. By using an analytical solution with mapping capabilities, you can easily map out your best prospects by zip code or view those who live within a close proximity to your store location.
Analytics can be used to identify a variety of opportunities, such as sales trending by store location, which customer segments are most ideal for cross-sell and up-sell offers, or which marketing channels are most suitable to reach specific customer segments.
Step Three: Market to Consumers with Targeted Campaigns
While media outlets such as television and newspaper advertising will continue to attract new shoppers, using data for targeted campaigns has the potential to really ramp up your customer acquisition strategies. With a marketing database and analytics solution in place, your customer and prospect records can quickly be exported for targeted direct mail or email marketing – without the involvement of IT.
For years, furniture retailers have used strategies to broadcast to the masses. However, take a look at some of these compelling statistics from retailers using data to deploy targeted direct mail and email campaigns:
- 44% of consumers made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email they received. (Convince and Convert)
- 60% of marketers say that email marketing is producing an ROI for their organization. (MarketingSherpa)
- On average, direct mail advertising gives a business a 13 to 1 return on investment. (DMA)
- 70% of customers renew a business relationship because of a direct mail promotion (DMA).
With an integrated marketing database and analytics solution, furniture retailers are seeing huge competitive advantages and are better primed to expand their marketing strategies into other areas, such as more digitally focused strategies to attract millennial consumers. Of course, it all begins with the data, or more importantly, data that has been transformed into comprehensive insights about your best customers and prospects.