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How to Use Marketing Automation to Create Better Customer Profiles

Bryan da Frota | December 9, 2021 

Eighty-four percent of customers say that, when it comes to winning their business, they expect businesses to treat them like an individual person, not a number in a giant sea of others. That means serving up experiences that speak directly to them—their pain points, needs, preferences—across all customer journey touchpoints. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all approach to attracting, converting, and retaining customers. When it comes to marketing, personalization is the name of the game.

But none of this is possible if you don’t know who your customers are or anything about them, which is where customer profiles come into play. Once you’ve identified a customer or prospect, you can begin collecting insights about them, based on the information they provide and how they interact with you across all your channels—for example: name, email address, purchase history, social engagement, devices used, and app or website activity. All the data gets stored in a customer profile for that individual—which you can then use to trigger hyper-personalized messaging and experiences. 

Don’t Let Customer Profiles Grow Stale!

Customer profiles are powerful tools, but compiling them isn’t a “one-and-done” activity. Just like no two people are alike, no single person stays the same throughout their entire life. Needs, challenges, preferences, and behaviors change over time—and your customer profiles for each person should reflect that change over time. 

If you sell children’s toys and apparel, for example, sending personalized recommendations for newborn swaddles, onesies, and pacifiers to an expecting parent will be more effective than recommendations for toddler-sized clothing and toy kitchens. But fast-forward 24 months and that same parent won’t find those darling little swaddles relevant anymore. They’re the exact same person, but their life situation has changed—and so should your marketing.  

In order to continue to provide personalized experiences, your customer profiles must keep up with the ever-evolving characteristics and behaviors of your customers. 

Marketing Automation and Better Customer Profiles: A Reciprocal Relationship

One of the benefits of customer profiles is that they can be used to power marketing automation, making your marketing efforts more efficient and impactful. But the benefits between customer profiles and marketing automation aren’t a one-way street. Once set up, your marketing automation efforts can feed insights back into your customer profiles. As you interact with a customer—through your emails, social channels, website, etc.—you surface insights you can use to provide more meaningful and personalized interactions and experiences in the future. 

Here are a few tips to keeping those customer profiles evergreen through marketing automation: 

  1. Confirm your data sources: When you first set up your customer profiles, you probably went through an exercise initially to identify the available data sources across all your marketing channels—email, social, website, app, storefront point-of-sales, etc. Revisit that list to make sure you include any new sources and are maximizing data from existing sources.
  2. Automate your data collection process: If you haven’t already, set up integrations between your data sources and customer profiles to automate the flow of information. Using a tool like Salesforce’s Interaction Studio you can unite all your disparate data sources and pull data into customer profiles, automatically, in real time. 
  1. View every marketing campaign as a research opportunity. With each marketing push, you have the opportunity to learn something about your audience. Did a marketing message resonate strongly with one demographic, but not another? Did a particular sub-group of customers behave in a certain way? How might you use these insights to refine your customer profiles and be even more targeted and personalized in future messaging? 
  2. Plan to expand and scale: We’d all love to magically connect all our data sources together and build out robust, accurate, and complete customer profiles with the snap of a finger. But in reality, compiling data sources, setting up integrations, removing redundancies, and merging duplicate profiles takes time and intentional effort. Prioritize which customer attributes are most important to capture in your customer profiles and which data sources provide those attributes—then systematically build out from there, over time. 

Want additional support as you create your customer profiles or need to move faster than your current resources or capabilities allow? The ListEngage team is ready to partner with you to leverage the power of marketing automation inside the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to meet your goal of building dynamic unified customer profiles. Contact us today to learn more. 

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Bryan da Frota | Chief Operating Officer

Bryan is the Chief Operating Officer at ListEngage. He’s a successful entrepreneur, investor, and technology expert in the areas of marketing automation, digital transformation, and autonomous systems. Bryan has an extensive background in new market penetration and business development.