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The Best Marketers Know More About Their Customers

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

We think we know our customers. We think we understand what motivates, drives, and excites them. We think that, thanks to all this “big data” we have at our fingertips, we can perfectly connect the dots between behavior and action.


But here’s the brutal and honest truth: we don’t really know our customers at all or not nearly as much as we should.


As marketers, it’s easy to confuse data with knowledge. We forget that a single data point about a transaction or a social profile doesn’t tell the full story about a customer. We have to dig deeper and do a better job of gleaning insights from all those ones and zeroes. Access to data simply gives us the benefit of having many points of reference to better understand who our customers are and what they truly care about. That’s why, when push comes to shove, we can’t forget that there are real, living, and breathing human beings behind each and every data point.


Now here’s the catch: based on Gartner research, only one percent – yes, a stiflingly small one percent – of companies who regularly tap into stores of social and legacy customer data actually use it to its full potential. Seems mind-boggling, right? So I suppose we need to ask ourselves, “What’s the purpose of having all this data if I am not answering the right questions?”


It’s time to close the gap. We owe it to ourselves to take the time to understand our customers in a new dimension. Not only will this allow us to engage them at a deeper level, but also, and more importantly, it will benefit our customers tenfold. Why? Because when we equip our marketing and customer care teams with useful, tangible insights, they can be more effective and efficient at building long-term relationships. It helps shift the focus away from engaging in simple (trans)actions to driving loyalty via personalized interactions.


When we truly know more about the wants, needs, and expectations of our customers – and can anticipate them in real-time – we can change the very nature of customer service and fundamentally reshape the ways in which customers view our brands and businesses.


So, it’s time to start asking the type of questions that will give us the useful and meaningful data to know more about our customers. For example, if you are a makeup retailer you should ask customers these types of questions:

  • What is the one makeup item that you can’t live without (e.g. mascara, eyeliner, lip gloss)?
  • Do you have any makeup allergies or skin sensitivities?
  • Do you ever buy makeup as a gift for family and friends?


In fact, based on a recent Harris Poll survey, two-thirds of Americans surveyed said they expect the brands they do business with to know more about them now than even a year ago while fifty-two percent agreed that they would be willing to share more information with brands if it meant receiving more a personalized experience in return.


Our customers have spoken. So why aren’t we doing anything about it?


At Lithium, we pride ourselves in being at the very heart of the social web. We intertwine data related to social activity, online behaviors, and transactions to help brands see their customers like they’ve never seen them before. In short, we help brands know more, see more, and do more. That’s the crux of our “Be 3D”promise. Are you ready to know your customers in a new dimension? We can help.



*This article originally appeared in Marketing Land