Know Thy Customer

I keep hearing the phrase, “own your customer.” This is like saying that you own your spouse, ridiculous! Anyone who is married or even dated knows that it takes time and effort to really know someone. So, why do brands think if a customer bought something from them and is now in their CRM or CDP, that they own them. I would argue that you don’t even know them, yet.

Millions of people have made a purchase at Nike.com. All Nike really knows about them is what they bought and where they live. They can infer gender but that’s really it. Just because someone buys a running shoe, that doesn’t mean they are a runner. Perhaps they are a fashion statement or they use them just for walking. Maybe they were a gift. Regardless, a person is more than a purchase. One hundred people could buy the same shoe today but that might be the only thing they have in common. Each person has a different composition. Maybe there is a cohort that works in the medical profession, drives a sports car, and also likes hiking. Another cohort might be a business professional and like science. The point is that it takes time to get to know someone and their purchase behavior is just one piece of who they really are.

Thousands of brands have or are in the process of investing in a CDP or upgrading their CRM. This is a good thing but simply setting these up doesn’t give you anymore information about your customers. You need to continually fill these databases with information about your customers. The more that you get to know your customers, the deeper your relationship can become with each of them. It’s like dating, if you rush things, the other person might be turned off.

Several months ago we purchased a sofa from a company called Valyou Furniture. Since this purchase, I have received 4 SMS messages per week promoting additional furniture, often times more sofas. I haven’t made another purchase, ever. This brand is tone deaf and turning me off. If I haven’t engaged, slow your roll. Better yet, find ways to get to know me better. In November, I purchased a smoker from All Things BBQ. Now I receive 1-2 emails per week with recipes. If I like a recipe, they make it easy for me to buy the products I need. They also ask me to submit recipes and share my experiences with them. I know this is self-serving for them, but it also has value to me. With each recipe I read and purchase I make, they are learning more about me. As good as this is, they don’t much else about me. On the flip side, I bought a grill from BBQGuys around the same time and they slam me with emails and SMS constantly and half the time they are pushing grills on me. Whomever managers their email and SMS programs really needs to learn how to segment better. Nonetheless, they don’t really know anything about me.

So in a world of “privacy first” and relationships second, how is a brand going to build long-lasting relationships with me? I used to be a member of Trunk Club. I would visit their LA location when I was down their on business and meet with my personal stylist. Her name was Stefani and on each visit, she would learn a little bit more about me, my family, my job, etc… She took her time and built trust so that then we could have a long-lasting relationship. I understand that this is easier to do IRL but still, not everyone takes the time. This doesn’t mean that brands can’t think about customer relationships the same way. The key word to CRM is RELATIONSHIP and there is more to a person than what they bought.

DTC brands have been hit the hardest by all the changes to privacy law and the changes made by Facebook in June of last year. DTC brands relied heavily on the precise targeting and reporting capabilities that Facebook offered. When the changes went into effect, campaign performance seemed to tank. However, it’s been proven by brands like Measured that Facebook can still drive incremental sales, just measuring it is more difficult. These changes made Facebook a black box. Brands no longer have the deep insights into their customers that they once had. Now Facebook says, “give us your customer file and we will find more people that look like them.” Many brands are at the mercy of Facebook so they reluctantly went along with it. But is Facebook the company you want to trust? Facebook is out to maximize revenue and drive just enough performance to keep you coming back for more. But if a brand is spending money on any platform, they should understand who they are targeting, what their composition is, and what is working at a cohort level. With this information in hand, brands can strategically target the right consumers with the right message. This will drive even more conversions at a much lower overall cost. If brands have deeper insights into their customers, they can begin to build relationships with them and meet them where they are. If you sell shoes on Facebook, wouldn’t it be helpful to know that there is a large cohort that likes to ski? This kind of information can lead to better messaging and product development.

Brands need to target based on the interests of their consumers. I don’t mean the interests they checked off 10 years ago when they signed up for Facebook. I mean, what are they reading today? What have they posted? Where have they visited? And they need to look beyond Facebook. What do they search for on Google. What do they buy on Amazon? What do they like on TikTok? Your customers are three dimensional so take the time to learn about them from all angles. How do you do this, you ask?

ProfitWheel is Cogent’s newest partner. They are bringing the AdTech and MarTech worlds closer. PW makes it very simple for brands to instantly gain a deeper understanding of their customers and then builds them several cohort audiences to target in their effort to acquire new customers. And unlike others in their space, they don’t charge a percentage of media. They want brands to use the data anyway they can, as much as they can. To get started, all a brand needs to do is give  whitelisted ProfitWheel ID ‘read only’ rights to their Facebook business account so they can gain access to the brand/clients audience set. ProfitWheel will then unpack rich and granular audience insights such as audience passions, cohorts that work for a brand and those that dont etc. to help you unravel and discover your next most valuable audience. ProfitWheel acts as a layer of intelligence over native platform consoles to place you in control of your data and allow you back into the driver’s seat of your campaigns. Plus, the tool’s deep intelligence will increase your ROAS and LTV as you continue to build relationships over time by deciphering your next likely performing cohort and help you expand insights globally. Cogent members can get a heavily discounted trial so talk to us.

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