As businesses expand into new target markets, one of their top priorities is to win over their initial group of customers. Once organizations have customers in a target market, they become a key source of information for future sales and marketing decisions.
Organizations collect information about end-users for the purpose of improving market segmentation or tracking sales to determine the viability of each target market. Many organizations focus their research on the customer’s journey and interactions with the organization to identify where they can improve customer satisfaction.
With an eye to the future, exporters maintain detailed sales records to better understand customers and their preferences and to gain leverage for future sales.
How do I decide what marketing metrics to measure?
With so much customer information available online, marketing experts are cautioning companies to track everything but to analyze and report only what is important and relevant. If marketers realize later that other information is important, they can go back into the data logs to retrieve the stored information.
How do organizations decide which metrics are important? They refer to sales and marketing objectives and the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) developed as part of the sales and marketing plan.
The selected KPIs should be quantifiable, and should guide sales and marketing decisions such as response time for customer support, customer experience ratings and percentage of problems resolved with one telephone call or email.
Other KPIs that are tracked might include customer loyalty before and after customers lodge a complaint, number of units sold per market segment, or sales per location.
Using digital analytics to uncover the numbers you need
Customer feedback and information about customer and product activity have long been collected through comment cards, surveys, interviews and focus groups. Sales representatives and customer service representatives also collect customer information. They make note of referral sources, customer requests and reasons that customers return products.
As a benefit of their direct contact with customers, they can gather information about customer interests and demographics, providing data that helps reach customers with the right message through the right channel.
Increasingly, research methods are being moved into digital formats. For example, whether customers bought their products in a store or online, the seller is likely to ask them to fill out a brief online survey about their buying experience.
Another influence of digitalization is the fact that information can now be collected and analyzed instantly by analytics programs. These analytics programs are commonly used by online businesses such as social platforms, e-commerce and software as a service (SaaS). These programs can collect and analyze data instantly and help organizations understand their customers and website visitors from a variety of perspectives. The types of information that analytics programs can detect include:
Behaviour: This type of data collection and analysis reveals whether visitors are new or recurring, how frequently they visit the website, the date of their last visit, and their level of engagement. Level of engagement is important because engagement leads to sales and loyal customers. Engagement is measured by metrics such as length of stay, number of pages visited and actions such as registering for the organization’s newsletter or posting a comment.
Technology: These analytics look at the types of technology visitors are using, such as browser type, operating system, resolution and type of device used to access the organization’s website. This data is used to understand how well the website works for visitors.
Demographics: An example of demographic information that analytics programs are able to detect is the language settings of users. If the organization has a sizable visitor base that uses a different language setting, it may want to expand the languages the website is available in or at the very least, add an automated translation tool to it.
What can I do with my marketing metrics once I’ve gathered data?
Digital analytics has greatly increased the capacity of information gathering, storage and analysis. The names and functions offered by programs can be confusing and can be challenging to integrate with existing data collection and storage programs. Programs with the capacity to collect online information about customers might be referred to as customer analytics programs, enterprise feedback management programs, customer relationship management programs or others.
One function to look for is enterprise-wide data management. This allows the provision of real-time data streams about the customer experience from social, mobile, local and commercial sources, such as passive geo-location data. This customer experience data is then combined with other data, analyzed and presented to employees across all functions of the organization. Another desired function is survey software that facilitates data collection, authoring, statistical analysis and reporting. Ideally such systems allow all departments to author surveys and reports, provide input into them or access them for information.
The ability to manage customer relationship data about leads, sales, existing customers and marketing campaigns is essential.
Programs that provide customer relationship management often have the ability to manage contacts, forecast sales, automate workflow and facilitate collaboration. They can also be used to create quotes and track sales deals.
Two key benefits of digital analytics platforms include the ability to integrate programs, and allowing organizations to take immediate action to improve customer experiences. This allows international trade practitioners to take advantage of the widely held belief that upset customers whose problems are addressed quickly and adeptly can be transformed into loyal customers.
The final analysis is crucial to your future decisions
The data collected by customer feedback and digital analytics informs the organization’s market segmentation decisions, the content of customer profiles, the need for adaptation of products and services, and sales and marketing strategies.
Tracking product and service activity reveals who the end-users are versus who the organization thought they would be. This information feeds into market segmentation decisions. If the target market is too broadly defined, customer needs and values will be too different and perhaps even contradictory. Customer feedback and product activity will help better define market segments. It is important to track product sales as this data indicates the viability of selling specific products or services in the target market.