Do You Have a Clear Picture of Your Customer?

06/03/2015 04:41 pm ET | Updated Jun 03, 2016

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Have you ever wondered what data was necessary for a near 360-degree view of the customer? This is an intriguing question. It hurts my brain to think about it. However, since I am a marketer, I enjoy a creative and strategic challenge that requires me to think about ways to engage with the people that are important to the company. Here are a few points I think are critical in order to get a more complete view of the customer. Maybe it's not a 360-degree view, but at least a well-rounded view.

1. The Persona: Personas used to be called a target audience. My suggestion is to think about whom you want to reach as a customer -- as a person, not an audience. Define who they, as many attributes as you possibly can as well we their behaviors. You must also think about; how they communicate? What motivates them? And what is it about your brand that inspires them to want to purchase?

2. Social Media: It's common knowledge at this point that nearly everyone of all ages engages in some type of social media. Tip: Find out which social channels your personas are more likely to use and only produce content on that channel. Then, look and listen at the conversations that are happening on your company social media page. You may soon have a clearer picture of what's important to your customers and what's not.

3. Marketing Automation: This may sound like it's only used for big business, but it's not. If you could instantly tell what prospects are in your pipeline and what content they are looking at on your website, do you think that would help you define what's important to your customer? Absolutely! Take advantage of marketing automation's benefits like real time metrics, social monitoring and auto-responses. These may sound like normal, everyday marketing tactics because they are. But, when these and other features are all packaged into one easy to use package, it makes for a very powerful tool for marketing teams.

4. Mobile Coupons: The original coupon was paper-based and probably distributed via the newspaper. Although this method still exists, the mobile coupon is what brands want and need because they realize smartphones are attached to their customer's 24x7. Often coupons are used at the point of purchase for ecommerce sales. However, brick and mortar retailers understand that mobile reach is critical to drive retail foot traffic and sales. The mobile device is the vehicle to get to the customer and the coupon is content that provides value. An old-school tactic used with today's new technology. This method can tell the brand what offer is important, what time that offer can be delivered as well as when that offer is being used.

These are just 4 simple things to think about when trying to define what data is necessary for a 360-degree view of the customer. I honestly think a marketing department must consider EVERY customer touch point, not just the digital ones. This requires a deep understanding of the touch point itself as well as the reasons why the customer is engaging with it. Then, there is the intersection of customer and brand at that touch point. Hmm... This is where content marketing, advertising, PR and general brand equity are critical. The next step is how to convert the customer at that touch point.