Last week, ex-PayPal executive Scott Thompson was appointed president of Yahoo, and he pledged that data would be the key to his company's future. After years of trying to play the content game, Yahoo is finally leveraging their greatest asset - data.
After spending a decade in the world of retail marketing where data is collected, analyzed and utilized at almost every point in the decision process, I'm amazed that some companies, both large and small, are still not collecting or mining their customer data.
Mining the data is a blend of art and science, but follows a basic process: Develop business objectives for the data, create value segments for benchmarks, build profiles and tie them to the value segments, test, and then utilize the test results to enhance the segments and profiles. Testing is the most important part of a viable customer database. Customer relationships change over time, and your database should not only reflect these changes, but help you predict them as well.
Once the customer database is in place it can be leveraged for every part of the customer relationship process, from communication targeting and messaging to product development and placement.
If you have customer data, mine it. If you do not collect customer data, start.