Trigger-happy marketing: know your customer, today and tomorrow

In turbulent times share prices aren’t the only numbers to have fluctuated – individuals’ incoming and outgoing finances have also changed.

In fact, recent research showed that 54 per cent of British adults admit to having experienced some form of sudden change in their finances during the past two years.

Yet unlike share prices, which are hung out like dirty laundry for all to see and speculate upon, personal finances remain a great taboo – 69 per cent of those whose finances have recently altered admit to never having alerted financial or other institutions to their new situation. This instability and lack of clarity represents marketers’ latest challenge. How can we be sure that we’re targeting those consumers who can afford our products and services and that we’re continuing to grow a loyal customer base, despite these uncertainties?

When swimming in today’s tumultuous customer pool, even the most current data isn’t enough. Instead, intelligent marketers are basing their targeting decisions on trigger data, which points to likely future changes in a consumer’s lifestyle or spending patterns.  Sophisticated data sets and insight can provide information on physical changes (eg, moving address), family changes (eg, marriage/divorce) and lifestyle changes (eg, financial status/payment problems) – all powerful information in the hands of a data-savvy marketer. 

Even in a general sense – when the consumer and economy is stable – trigger data can be invaluable. Why contact a home mover after they have moved house? Trigger data alerts marketers as soon as their customers start to plan for moving – enabling them to provide helpful advice and offers to them throughout the process. Likewise, consumers who have recently divorced do not want to see letters addressed to their previous name advertising joint bank accounts – an uninformed approach like this could instantly turn a loyal customer cold.

Be on the money

Let’s be frank: changes in consumers’ lifestyles do not always map to enhanced affordability. Rather, the present day truth is that many consumers have been knocked down a rung or two – and without clear insight into individuals’ current situations, marketing spend is often being wasted on consumers who are not in a position to make a purchase or who do not actually qualify for the product or service on offer.

Marketers need to make sure that they are targeting the best prospects effectively and responsibly. An important part of this is using credit pre-screening, scoring and validation datasets to ensure companies are only targeting those consumers most likely to match their credit requirements and who are likely to be accepted for credit should they respond (eg, for a monthly phone contract). 

By doing this, marketers save on marketing and application costs for consumers who otherwise wouldn’t be accepted for credit, helping improve conversion rates and reduce mailing costs. They can also protect brand reputation by preventing invitations being sent to consumers that are likely to be rejected at the final credit hurdle.

Now more than ever, it’s vital that marketers place data at the heart of their campaigns – providing insight into consumers’ true financial status and so facilitating appropriate targeting decisions. At the most basic level, tighter targeting will improve cost-efficiency in marketing spend – but it will also improve conversion rates, motivate spend and grow both consumer loyalty and brand reputation. 

Data is driving a win-win revolution for marketers across all industry and market segments – and for the customers that are benefiting from well-targeted offers and services.

By Adam Leslie, head of data sales, Callcredit Information Group

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