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Speak Softly: Using Data to Build Relationships With Customers

Posted by Kirsten Onsgard

July 09, 2018

emotional-marketing-dataResonating with your customer begins with listening to your customer.

Customers provide vital information at signup, and the way your customers interact with your brand is revealing. But those behavioral data only tell part of the story.

When behavior is paired with crucial context, then customer actions speak louder than words.

This means adding third-party data — such as demographic and household data — to behavioral data to clarify the customer story. Now, their behavior has meaning.  

By understanding the context of a customer’s behavior, brands can appeal to their values with emotional marketing. Emotional marketing tells a story and connects with a customer on a personal level. It treats customers not as numbers, but as individuals.

Customers who connect with a brand emotionally are more than twice as valuable than highly satisfied customers. Emotionally connected customers make more purchases, are less sensitive to price, recommend the brand more often and pay more attention to brand communications, according to the Harvard Business Review.

It all starts with having the best, most complete and accurate data on hand to understand the context around customer behavior, know customer priorities and anticipate their needs.

Here’s how to use data to build emotional connections with customers.

Understand context

How a customer interacts with your brand reveals a lot about them, such as purchase history, purchase frequency and wish list items. That’s not to mention information they provided at sign up, such as demographic information, email address and postal address.

But brands can’t collect all of that information at signup. That’s why third-party data enhancement is key for understanding the context surrounding each purchase and each behavior.

Think about the last time you purchased a gift, such as baby clothes for a loved one’s new little one, or a gadget for a teenage nephew. These gifts were important purchases, but not necessarily items you would like to receive.

Context is vital. By adding data, brands see beyond their own blinders and completing their customer view. Now, a brand might understand that a purchase was a one-off buy or a gift, allowing the brand to better empathize with a customer.

Know priorities

Priorities change at different times in life.

For new parents, life is all about their children. Engaged couples are consumed by wedding planning. Recent home buyers need to furnish and make their new space a place to live. And millennials are busy eating avocado toast and killing corporate America (kidding).

Jokes aside, these life stages are telling. Brands that understand what is important to different demographic segments at these key stages can better personalize content and offers. They can tap into customers’ emotions by showing they understand and care.

Anticipate needs

Creating a single, complete view of your customer opens up huge opportunities for better reaching them across channels and knowing their current behavior. But paired with strong marketing automation and AI, these vital insights can also fuel predictions that will wow your customers.

Consider this: A popular retail brand knows that one of their customers is a mom-to-be. She’s shopping for maternity wear. Third-party data suggests she’s looking at pregnancy content elsewhere on the internet.

Based on data from similar customers, the brand knows that their new mom customers typically buy three baby clothes in particular first. The retailer can then anticipate their pregnant customers’ needs, suggesting these items and new mom content. Better yet, the retailer can direct the customer to her nearest retail store based on her postal address.


Powerful, targeted and personalized content builds relationships between customers and brands.

To keep up, break through the noise and make a strong impact on customers, brands to listen to their customers first, understand second and then take action. This is only possible with a complete, accurate and insightful customer picture thanks to strong data.

Brands who level their data and third-party data will compete in a crowded landscape, creating an emotional connection customers won’t soon forget.

Access the Customer Data You Need Today

Topics: Email Marketing, Email Intelligence, Personalization

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