Biz Tips: The Value of Tracking Consumers for Business Growth

Biz Tips: The Value of Tracking Consumers for Business Growth

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The Value of Tracking Consumers for Business Growth

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Any business worth its salt is tracking its sales and spending. Business owners are looking over the efficiency of their employees. They’re assessing the size of their inventory and overhead costs. But some are quick to assume that if those things are all in line, tracking customers is an unnecessary drain on resources.

That assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that the companies that break ahead of the rest of the pack are those that know customer-related metrics are crucial. They’re the bread and butter of industry over-achievers.

According to entrepreneurship expert Sasha Rezvina, “When you’re starting a business on your own back, every penny counts. You need to tighten processes and be on the lookout to increase efficiency so that you can get more done with less.”

Not tracking customers will always result in wasted efforts because you will lack a complete understanding and picture of your target audience.

Customer-Tracking Basics

If you’re not tracking customers, you have little to no understanding of the relationship between your customers and your business. While metrics like sales provide insight, they do not provide the type of information that allows a company to evolve and adapt. Sales tell you what happened, but customer tracking can tell you how to proactively shape your future success.

Cookies: In the most general sense, cookies allow your site to store information including customer identification, their corresponding credentials, and the history needed to provide a customized shopping experience.

Call tracking: Product and customer marketing expert Madelyn Newman writes, “Phone calls are an important part of the customer journey, and in many cases lead to an immediate conversion. Tracking incoming calls in the same way you track clicks can help you better understand your customers points buying cycles, especially when comparing phone leads to those sourced by other channels.”

Don’t let the importance of the web allow you to lose sight of the other important aspects of customer behavior. Improved technology is keeping call centers relevant as it betters the customer service offered, and as we’ve noted before, cold calls can actually work.

Google Analytics: Even with the free version of Google Analytics companies can access important data points that explain who customers are. It provides reports that overview the different types of site traffic and the behavior of that traffic both on mobile and desktop platforms.

Ultimately, tracking done right will shed light on the behavior of your customers. It can act as a GPS for your business plan, so that each component is thoughtfully crafted with data in its crosshairs, because assumptions are for amateurs.

The Information You Need

Customer data management experts across the board will tell you that data is useless if you don’t use it correctly. If you’re tracking customers, the information that comes in can be overwhelming. As with all things, it should be targeted and then curated for usefulness.

This will differ from organization to organization. To pinpoint how to get the data to work for you, consider what problems you need solved. What areas of growth are lacking? Where is there a lack of clarity in terms of future vision and growth?

In general, the information you gather will largely fall under two camps depending on your relationship with customers.

Their habits: Your customers habits are the clearest indicators of how strong the products and services you offer are. Not only that, it’s helpful to recognize what specific types of people are interested in specific products, and when they’re most likely to purchase.

Additionally, becoming familiar with the concept of “basket analysis” is widely helpful. If you are able to use data to see how customer buying trends are related, your marketing will receive a powerful leg up.

Their loyalty and retention: Your retention strategy and the marketing it employs will never reach its full potential without customer tracking. It may be tempting to make customer acquisition the star of your efforts, but retention is what builds your brand reputation and authority. It saves money, and makes good business sense across the board.

According to Jerry Jao for Forbes, “This new focus on Retention Marketing is mostly due to customer choice having reached an all-time high while attention spans have dipped to an all-time low. This means companies need to take a more customer-centric approach in order to keep them interested. Customers now demand a more engaging and personalized experience, and companies must respond accordingly in order to nurture them into advocates.”

Tracking customers allows you to see what differences exist between the patterns of those who stay for the long run and those who bounce.

Put The Tracking to Work

The information gleaned from tracking customers is no good if a business isn’t willing to invest the time and energy needed to put the data to work. Tracking your customers will never be worthwhile if your strategy department doesn’t not take the information and make changes.

Again, this can look like a lot of different things. You may compare two marketing campaigns and see that the color choices used in one were actually more effective at driving conversions. Then your company can begin to build future efforts around those color schemes.

Or perhaps there’s a consistent point in your relationship with customers where you lose them. Knowing when that happens, and what led to that moment is paramount to correcting it. Again, tracking opens the door to problem-solving. But if you don’t work to utilize the information, it instead becomes a waste of resources.

Customer tracking has at times garnered bad press, and if done incorrectly, the bad press is deserved. However, tracking customer behavior can become the avenue with which your business is able to provide customer service that is second to none.

Customers are always in the midst of making buying decisions, and if you can provide the most appealing experience wherein it is clear you understand their preferences and needs best, your company will be an industry leader. And because tracking is essential for understanding future trends, it will also allow your industry to remain a leader for the long haul.

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The Value of Tracking Consumers for Business Growth was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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