For many companies, digital marketing is a crapshoot. They drop dollars upon dollars in digital ads, retargeting campaigns, social campaigns, etc. to entice a visitor to buy. It’s a “spray and pray” strategy that to me, as a curious consumer (with an MBA in Marketing!), seems like such a waste. There has to be a method to the madness!
Ah, young Padawan, Neil Hoyne, in his new book, “Converted: The Data-Driven Way to Win Customers’ Hearts” provides the insight that only the chief data-guy at Google can share.
The book is split into three Parts: Conversations, Relationships, and Self-Improvement. In each, he provides very simple guidance on what to do and what not to do to create an online, digital relationship with customers that will provide value over the long run.
Note: He does NOT go into specific tools and doesn’t even hawk Google to do this for you! Rather, he gives the process of what needs to be done in simple enough terms that you can use a spreadsheet!
“Understanding your customers isn’t about capturing every nuance of their behavior…the fact is that the more information you try to gather, the more you miss, and the more you spend.”
Here are some key nuggets:
- Start with small steps, a simple spreadsheet, small teams, swift action. The priority is simplicity. Start with data you’re confident is accurate vs. clean up everything you have collected. Add more data as you go, but do it with purpose.
- Identify as many real names as you can – and make sure that name is tied between systems.
- Data doesn’t tell you everything. You have to reach out and ask questions.
- Learn to recognize the signals/hints that are important – and learn what NOT to obsess over.
- All customers are not created equal. While personas and demographics are more familiar, behavioral characteristics are much more boring but more insightful. Look at what your customers are actually doing and buying through simple segmentation first, calculate the customer lifetime value (CLV).
- There are things you can do to make existing relationships a little more valuable, and some are actually costing you money. Beware of “averages” as you don’t see the full story.
- Don’t wait until someone cancels – identify a sign that tells you they are at risk.
- “Clicks” are outdated. Companies need to play a much longer game, becoming better at grabbing high-value customers and convincing them to stay.
I particularly enjoyed the final part of self-improvement, particularly Chapter 16: Try a Career in Politics – sage advice in navigating a decision that can be rooted in data, but fraught with other factors.
Finally, Hoyne exhorts the reader to “teach, to listen, to let others be curious about customer relationships and contribute their own ideas….join the process and support the transformation a business needs to make this [digital marketing] approach successful.” Indeed, it is about curiosity, and Hoyne has offered a process to hone that curiosity.
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action. Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.