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How Proactive Customer Profiling Can Win the Day

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Who are your customers, and what will they buy from you next? “Beyond Purchase Histories,” a post that Paul McConville wrote for the Destination CRM blog last week, offers some useful advice on how to answer those critical questions.

“Many companies today rely primarily on customer purchase histories to power their customer segmentation strategies,” he writes. “Although a critical component in determining value, this strategy falls short . . .”

As a case study, McConville writes about a woman who purchased a $10 candle on her first visit to an online retailer’s site, bought a $30 picture frame on her second visit, then disappeared for three months before returning to make another purchase. Meanwhile, the company had little data about her except her address and information on her prior purchases. To combat situations like those, McConville recommends using predictive analytics, which involves analyzing customers’ preferred channels of communication and other sophisticated data.


Act now to download your free copy of 10 Secrets for Successful Customer Relationship Marketing without cost or obligation.

Because our company focuses on small-business marketing strategies that are sturdy yet simple, here are some steps I suggest for profiling customers after they have made their first purchase from you:

  • Start communicating right after the first sale. You can send an email that invites customers to ask questions or express any concerns, and then ask for information about where they live and other data. Or you can call new clients personally. Once lines of communication are open, you can ask customers where they live, how they use your products, and what they are planning to buy next. Even simple data can be extremely helpful to you as you turn first-time buyers into repeat customers.

  • Require customers to submit data when they validate warrantees. You can have customers validate warrantees or service agreements online, or by sending in printed registrations. When you do, ask them where they live, what they earn, how many people reside in their households, and other critical questions. This kind data-gathering works best online, not on paper, because you can require customers to fill in certain data fields before registering a product or validating a warrantee.

  • Create new marketing campaigns that target new customers. Rather than waiting passively to see what customers will buy next (a candle or a picture frame?) start offering them specific new products or services. Once they buy from you a second or third time, you are already building a customer profile that is based on hard data.

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