lone man in a room of chairs
Most companies spend 100 percent of their marketing budgets reaching a small percentage of customers. PHOTO: martin.mutch

In the age of the empowered consumer, CMOs are struggling to differentiate their brand and engage with consumers on their terms.

If you're like most CMOs, you have so much on your plate that simply executing that next campaign feels like a win.

But one thing a lot of CMOs miss is that these campaigns usually generate interactions and sales from the same engaged members of your customer base. Or worse, you are marketing only to the same customer segment, who then gets turned off by your constant retargeting with the same old “come-back-and-buy-these-items-you-left-in-your-shopping-cart” message.

Marketing Reaches Too Few Customers

Most companies now spend 100 percent of their budgets, whether they know it or not, reaching a small percentage of customers with whom they interact regularly. For example, an enterprise company has a user base of 100 million customers, but regularly interacts with only about 5 million of them.

It’s the classic iceberg effect: just like only 10 to 15 percent of an iceberg is above water, marketers tend to focus on the 10 to 15 percent of customers who are active.

However, there is a lot of value in the remaining 85 to 90 percent of your customers who are “under water.” The problem is, getting to those customers takes some digging and a little detective work.

How can you reach and re-engage inactive customers and dormant prospects, bringing them up to the surface?

Most of the information you need is already available in your data. You just have to look for it — under the water — and give meaning to it to make it actionable.

Since you already have this data, there are a few easy steps you can take to reconnect with these lapsed users. Here are some ways to find that hidden customer data and make the best use of it.

Target Outside Your Usual Base

Many companies measure their digital programs by clicks alone. This approach tells us the campaign delivered, but not whether it performed.

If digital marketing campaigns are only measured by clicks then you’ll only ever target clickers. But are those clickers valuable?

You need to dig into what the individual customer’s data profile tells you. Is she an always-engaged customer, part of the 15 percent you already know and engage with, or someone under the surface? This type of marketing can lead to a sale, but it may not do much to build your brand.

Instead of settling on designing and distributing messages based on who clicks, use more of your customer data.

To truly maximize your interactions in a relevant way, identify users by their IP addresses, know which device they are now engaging with you on, and understand what channels they use and when.

Then, you’ll be in a position to deliver messages that reach your customers in the ways they prefer — and more importantly — deliver them when the customer is ready to engage with your brand.

Look Into Data Outside of the 30-Day Pool

As marketers, we’re all guilty of placing the highest value on the most recently engaged prospects or customers.

People with whom we’ve interacted within the past 30 days are often considered the most important, and marketers are pretty good at targeting those people across all media channels.

However, it’s also important to remember those customers with whom you haven’t interacted as recently. Dig back into your data for dormant users who haven’t been to your site for three months or longer.

There is still potential value here to re-engage the relationship by using the data you have to send personalized content that educates them and relevant offers to come back or make another purchase. You have the data; use it.

Embrace Non-Linear Approaches

Once you’ve made the commitment to dig into the data and reach as much of your base as possible, it’s critical that you reach them in the most effective ways possible.

For busy marketers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using the same channel to market to everyone in your user base. But we all know there is no channel that can tap 100 percent of consumers.

Use the data you’ve re-examined to determine the best ways to reach all your users, and design and distribute messages to match.

Email may be best for some, mobile may be best for others, and social may be best for still others. You have this preference information. IP addresses, devices used and lifecycle touch point should be part of your customer database, so put that information to use.

And when your content is built in a modular way, it allows for ease in reaching customers the moment they are ready to hear from you.

Listen, I get it. Your team’s time is valuable, and you have little of it. It can be challenging just to keep up with the campaigns you’re already running.

Discovering more of your underwater data and using it to build the relevant data-driven messages for specific segments is worth the effort, though.

There are even technology tools and services out there to help make the process relatively simple. The payoff is always worth the investment.