Customer Intelligence: Still Wondering Why Your Marketing Plans Aren’t Working?

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    Your LinkedIn feed is likely full of buzzwords like ‘Personalization’, ‘Fail Fast,’ ‘Omnichannel’, ‘Predictive Analytics’ and of course, the golden child of the moment, AI

    What do these buzzwords add up to other than glorified LinkedIn posts? How can they actually support our marketing strategies, and not just create more frustrations?

    Frustrations like running multi-channel campaigns across the whole funnel only for your tracking to fail. Customers taking non-linear journeys, and the difficulty of achieving single-channel attribution. Or… how broad segmentation used to be enough.

    But now we need to do more to deliver personalization and ensure deliverability. CTR and Open Rates are no longer the name of the game…

    Marketing has changed. And these days a successful marketing strategy is all about focusing on what will deliver the most growth: customer Intelligence.

    With this process, you won’t be getting distracted by the latest buzzwords. You’ll be bringing them all together to form a strategy to achieve your 2024 goals.

    In this post, we’ll define customer intelligence, look over its benefits and lay out the 8 parts to the modern marketing playbook to launch your customer intelligence.

    solutions for marketers customer journey
    image generated with Firefly

    What is Customer Intelligence?

    Simply put, customer intelligence is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting customer data to understand their behaviors, preferences, and needs.

    It requires data from various sources—customer interactions, transactions, social media, and more.

    Then using analytical tools to extract valuable patterns, empowering you to make informed decisions, enhance customer relationships, and drive growth by leveraging a deep understanding of your customer base.

    Benefits of Customer Intelligence

    Better Marketing Messaging

    You learn more about who your customer is, which helps you create a more tailored marketing message.

    Plus, you can develop new products or features that better address your customer.

    Improved Sales Process

    Customer intelligence helps to build a more effective sales process. You can monitor the customer’s journey and tailor your marketing message based on where each customer is.

    Also, you can identify the best-working sales tactics and instruct your sales team to use those.

    Stronger Customer Loyalty

    Once you know your customer as well as they know themselves, it’s easy to build loyalty.

    You just have to create a brand persona that they can relate to. Your customer will feel much more understood, trusting your brand more.

    Keeping Up With Market Changes

    Industries such as e-commerce and retail change fast. Falling just a bit behind on market knowledge can put you at a considerable disadvantage.

    By using customer intelligence, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your market. You’ll always know which way it’s going and be able to adjust accordingly.

    Customer Intelligence: 8 Rules To Up Your Marketing Game

    Rule 1. Create A Holistic Customer Understanding

    This is all about creating a comprehensive and complete picture of a customer by gathering and analyzing data from various touchpoints and interactions – be it online interactions, social media engagements, or offline experiences.

    In practical terms, this means going beyond a superficial understanding and delving into the intricacies of how a customer interacts with a brand across different channels.

    By creating a holistic customer understanding, you can tailor your strategy to align with individual preferences, needs, and behaviors, leading to more effective and personalized marketing campaigns.

    💡 Pro tip based on your budget

    Got budget for tech?
    A customer data platform (CDP) is a great tool when looking to launch a customer intelligence strategy. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is software that combines customer data from different sources to create a unified profile, helping businesses personalize marketing and improve customer engagement.

    Working with a limited budget?
    Budgets are tight, we get it and pushing for a CDP when you have a small budget isn’t the right move. Instead, a data analytics platform can be a massive help in linking all your data together.

    No budget at all for data analytics?
    If you’re really struggling for budget, many of the data sources (social media channels, email campaigns, Google Analytics etc) will provide enough information in their own reporting for you to bring it all together manually and gain a basic understanding. You will have to export and find a way to unify the data with Excel or Google Sheets. It can be more tedious, but it will be your first steps into gaining customer intelligence before investing in a data analytics or CDP platform.

    Rule 2. Work Off Real-time Insights

    Can you name one marketing activity that doesn’t create or require data? It’s a tough challenge, we know!

    This on top of how dynamic marketing is, means that weekly or monthly reporting doesn’t cut it anymore for modern marketers.

    Unlike traditional approaches that rely on historical data, modern customer intelligence leverages real-time data analytics.

    This allows us to identify trends, track changes in customer behavior, and adapt marketing strategies quickly. The ability to act on fresh insights gives a competitive edge in a fast-paced market.

    And don’t forget, it’s not just for customer acquisition, nearly 60% of business leaders globally saw an increase in customer retention by using real-time data analytics.

    💡 Pro tip to make your data speak louder
    The right data analytics tool will help you bring together your data into a real-time dashboard, accessible anytime.

    This sounds expensive, but there are many cost-effective options for smaller budgets. The time you save mixed with the insights provided will be a gamechanger for your marketing strategy.

    Whatever your budget, to maximize real-time insights, it’s crucial to establish clear KPIs to measure ROI, define alerts for critical events, and empower your team to act quickly based on the available data.

    blog data driven predictive marketing

    Rule 3. Embrace Predictive Analytics

    Predictive analytics uses statistical algorithms and machine learning to predict future outcomes based on historical data. It involves analyzing patterns, trends, and relationships within data to make predictions about future events or behaviors.

    In a marketing context, predictive analytics can be applied to various aspects, such as customer behavior, lead scoring, campaign optimization, and sales pipeline forecasting.

    Now that sounds intimidating. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a data scientist or use expensive tech to achieve this. It’s all about making good use of your historical data to inform what may happen in the future.

    💡 Pro tip if predictive analytics isn’t in your budget
    Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget to introduce a predictive analytics tool. Remember, it’s all about using historical data to identify patterns.

    Learning how to leverage Excel or Google Sheets is a great place to start, and if you have some budget then a data analytics tool can help speed up this process.

    Rule 4 – Personalize Your Content at Scale

    Modern customer intelligence enables us to move beyond broad segmentation to personalized marketing at scale. By understanding individual preferences, we can deliver tailored content, recommendations, and experiences that resonate with each customer, fostering stronger relationships and loyalty.

    Personalization goes beyond referring to someone by their first name in an email.

    For example, when you collect emails, you can ask them which problem they have that your business solves. From there, you can create multiple autoresponders that help solve that problem while selling your product. In the example below, qualifies the lead by asking the seniority level, size of the team and company, and most importantly why you’re intending to use the platform.

    blog customer intelligence personalization example
    onboarding questions from

    In this case, I’m about to get some nice emails highlighting the benefits of to improve my marketing operations efficiency!

    You can use customer intelligence for services, too. Investing apps like Earlybird — an app that helps parents building savings for their kids — uses the user data to recommend investments.

    It’ll evaluate the following criteria to suggest investments:

    • The child’s age
    • The family’s investment goals
    • Time horizon
    • Risk tolerance

    Additionally, personalization also applies beyond ordinary marketing strategies, extending even to platforms like YouTube, where the challenge lies in standing out with unique and creative YouTube names content.

    💡 Pro tip to dig into your customers and leads online behavior
    Review the tools you have available, there will likely be something that can help you start to personalize content on scale.

    For instance, if you have a CRM like HubSpot, you can connect it to your website and start tracking what pages people in your system are looking at. From this, you can build out a personalized campaign that’s relevant to them.

    If your CRM and website don’t offer these features, you can build out enhanced customer segments based on actions people take. Use A/B testing, encourage feedback for refinement and if possible, test dynamic content in emails and on your website.

    5. Eat and Breathe Omnichannel Plans

    Today’s customers interact with brands through multiple channels. Modern customer intelligence helps optimize these interactions by understanding how customers move seamlessly between online and offline touchpoints.

    blog customer intelligence guide omnichannel
    Source: SEMrush

    This ensures a consistent and cohesive experience across all channels.

    Achieving successful omnichannel marketing involves understanding the customer journey, integrating unified data, and implementing cross-channel analytics.

    Here are a few concrete examples of effective omnichannel marketing strategies that digital marketers can use to leverage customer intelligence:

    1. Cross-Device Remarketing: By leveraging data on customer interactions across devices, you can implement cross-device remarketing strategies.

      For instance, if a customer adds a product to their cart on a mobile device but doesn’t complete the purchase, the marketer can retarget them with relevant ads on their desktop or tablet.

    2. In-Store Beacons and Mobile Apps: can utilize beacon technology in-store to send personalized offers and recommendations to customers’ mobile devices based on their past purchases and current location within the store.

      Additionally, mobile apps can enhance the in-store experience by providing features such as digital loyalty cards, product reviews, and personalized recommendations.

    3. Seamless Cross-Channel Experiences: ensure a seamless transition between online and offline channels by offering features such as click-and-collect, where customers can purchase items online and pick them up in-store, or by providing consistent branding and messaging across all touchpoints (website, social media, emails, events, webinars, etc.)
    webinar advanced data security

    Rule 6. Get Obsessed With Data Privacy and Compliance 

    For marketers, being data-driven is a necessity. It’s critical to everything we do, but how we use that data is now also a key focus for our customers. 33% of consumers switch companies or providers over their data policies or data-sharing practices. Making ethical data use not only a legal requirement with 140 national and multinational privacy laws globally, but a crucial part of building customer trust and supporting the delivery of great customer experience.

    The previous five steps all require the collection and use of data, but it’s important to remember you need to do this responsibly and transparently. 

    💡Pro tip: data regulations can no longer be dismissed
    Get to grips with data regulations (GDPR, CPPA, CCPA etc), and not just those relevant to your own country as some will apply to your business if you are processing international data.

    You should also look to implement robust consent mechanisms, regularly update privacy policies and notices, and conduct Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs). Remember, transparency is key so make sure your customers and website visitors are aware of what you have in place and how seriously you take their data.

    Rule 7. Feed Sales Teams With Actionable Insights

    These days, customers prefer to do their own research before speaking to a salesperson, especially in the B2B context.

    However, the sales team is still an important part of the customer journey so it’s essential to set them up for success. You can do this by correctly setting up your marketing activities and tracking them. This will equip your sales team with invaluable customer intelligence.

    Modern customer intelligence goes beyond lead scoring to provide deep insights into the challenges, needs, and preferences of individual businesses. When done correctly, you’ll have all the info to understand what brought customers here, which messages resonated, their issues, and how much they already know.

    Knowing more about customers helps salespeople build a trusting relationship and deliver a smooth customer experience.

    💡 Pro tip to build strong relationships with sales
    Remember, just because you can see the value in a new tool or process, implementing a change can be difficult.

    It can be challenging for people to change the way they work, which means any new activity needs a change management plan with realistic expectations.

    Communication is key, and building great relationships with the sales team will make it easier to change how you work.

    Rule 8. Learn to Fail Fast and Improve Continuously

    ‘Fail Fast’ – ok so we nearly got away with not bringing in any more ‘buzzwords’ in this article but stay with us! Like all marketing activities, modern customer intelligence is an ongoing process of learning and adapting.

    ‘Fail Fast’ in marketing comes from agile methodologies and start-up culture. It encourages marketers to quickly test strategies, campaigns, or ideas and, if necessary, to abandon or pivot from those that aren’t delivering.

    By regularly reviewing and refining our strategies based on new data and insights, we make sure that our marketing efforts stay relevant and effective in the ever-changing landscape.

    💡 Pro tip: Fail Fast doesn’t mean constantly changing tactics
    You need to focus on the continuous improvement aspect and only launch the way of working once you have a solid marketing strategy as a foundation.

    Otherwise, you run the risk of being a tactical marketer and forgetting about strategy.

    Customer Intelligence, It’s Time To Get Started

    Like most strategies in marketing, modern customer intelligence is all about harnessing the power of data.

    At first, it can seem intimidating, but the reality is it’s about making the most out of what you already have, and working in new ways.

    When done correctly, you’ll be able to understand, connect and engage with customers in a way that is personalized, timely and ethical. This in turn will drive business success for both B2B and B2C marketers.

    And the best bit? You don’t always need the biggest budget to make small changes that can have a big impact.

    Good luck! 😉