November 2013 - You can beat out the big guys


tugowarPull in more customers by using everything you know about them

How much do you really know about your customers? If you know more than basic customer profile and purchase history, you know more than the overwhelming majority of mid- to large-sized marketers know about theirs.

This leaves the door wide open for small and mid-sized companies not only to compete effectively with “the big guys” but win over new customers by leveraging data in print and multi-channel marketing campaigns in ways their competitors don’t.

According to research from Yesmail Interactive and Gleanster, which surveyed 100 senior-level marketers from businesses with $10 million to $1 billion in sales*, only 20% of mid-to large-sized companies know more than basic-level information about the customers who purchase from them.

Only 42% of marketers surveyed have a thorough understanding of basic demographic information such as gender and age. Even fewer have solid understanding of preference data, such as whether their customers participate in social media (20%), their channel preferences (21%), and the composition of their households (27%).

“Despite their assumptions, marketers really don’t know their customers,” says Mike Fisher, president of Yesmail Interactive, quoted in Direct Marketing News (August 8, 2013).


“Marketers continue to rely on legacy marketing tactics and struggle to incorporate critical cross-channel data to inform customer messaging and offers.”

This opens opportunities for smaller marketers to gain access to these customers by tailoring their marketing campaigns to their preferences and needs. Something as simple as adjusting the message by age, gender, or household composition could put you well ahead of the pack.

Take, for example, household composition. A family with young children is going to have significantly different needs than one with children in high school. Likewise, a family caring for aging parents in the home has vastly different needs than a family that is not.

Or consider channel preference.  A customer who is indifferent to email may respond positively to well-crafted product information by mail. Or a customer who orders from a catalog only once per year might become a frequent buyer if nudged by special offers or discounts via text messaging.

Just because a company is big doesn’t mean it’s marketing is as effective as it can be. There is a tremendous opportunity even for smaller companies to score big by personalizing and targeting content by simple demographics, channel preference, and media mix.