Don’t Be a Data Creep: Use Data to Add Value

Modern Marketing


Consumers reveal tons of information about themselves on the internet – their gender, geographic location, contact information…the list goes on. They also (mostly inadvertently) share behavioral data, which marketers then leverage to better target their campaigns. To justify collecting this kind of data, and to avoid being creepy, make sure your data collection adds value for your customers.

For instance, my iPhone uses my behavioral information to predict my travel times, mapping my current location to where Apple expects me to go next (based on my recent travel history). I was surprised to see that after Apple detected a change in my routine, my phone adjusted its prediction. Although I felt slightly concerned about this data being recorded, I accepted the circumstances because Apple was using the data to add value. Ultimately, Apple saved me time I’d usually spend looking up the length of my commute.

As marketers, how can you be like Apple – leveraging data to add value for your users, without scaring them away?

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads are advertisements served to your audience after they’ve visited your website. Typically, these ads are customized to target individuals, based on their specific behaviors. Here’s an example of a retargeting ad from Crate&Barrel.

First, while searching for barstools, I visited this page on the Crate&Barrel website:

crate and barrel stools

Next, I was distracted by Facebook, and navigated away from the site. Crate&Barrel, however, used retargeting ads on Facebook to remind me about my potential purchase:

 crate and barrel retargeting ad

Retargeting can be used to send reminders to a potential customer, just in case they were distracted (like me) and didn’t purchase the item they intended to buy. Of course, retargeting ads can also be used to lure people who didn’t intend to buy an item, and you’re always in danger of retargeting people who did buy the item – from another site. In this case, retargeting gave me an easy way to cross something off of my shopping list. Thanks for the reminder, Crate&Barrel!

Facebook Lookalike and Custom Audiences

If you’ve already analyzed and interviewed your customers to create ideal buyer personas, you can leverage that data to find prospects with Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences. This feature targets people who are similar to your audience. If I’m in your lookalike audience, I’m much more likely to find your ads relevant. Selling designer high-heels? No thanks. Snowboards? I might click.

Facebook’s Custom Audiences allow you to reach prospects you already know. You upload a list of their email addresses to Facebook, and can then display Facebook ads specifically to them. This segmented approach keeps you top-of-mind with your interested prospects, and is a laser-beam way to reach your desired audience. How can you make sure it’s not creepy? As we advise with all of your marketing, keep your ads useful, valuable, and relevant.

Behavioral-Based Nurturing

Does your marketing automation solution track behavioral data, such as white papers your users have downloaded, or web pages they have visited? Use that data to categorize your prospects’ interests and deliver relevant content. You don’t need an extensive content library to start – start with what you have, and go from there. 23% of email engagement relies on your segmentation, so spend some time mapping out your segments to your content.

For instance, with Marketo’s own marketing, if a prospect is just getting started with email marketing, she probably isn’t interested in how Marketo integrates with different CRMs. Instead, she might like to know how email marketing will benefit her business. Sending the right information at the right time helps you gain trust. Your customers will see the value that you add, and they’ll continue to engage.

Dynamic Landing Pages

If your users demonstrate that they enjoy eating apples, it’d be safe to assume that they would enjoy eating more apples. Dynamic landing pages allow marketers to personalize landing pages based on demographic or behavioral data. Comprehensive buyer personas will help you create landing pages that fit each persona’s needs.

Pre-fill Forms

I don’t enjoy typing my information online. Sure, I’ve gotten fast at it, but it’s a pain to complete the information over and over again. Some marketing automation systems offer the option to pre-fill forms, so when I’m about to register for a whitepaper, I don’t have to complete the form again – my information is already populated in the fields. Make your prospects’ lives a bit easier by turning on this neat function. If they’re asked to fill out their name and email address each time they want to download your latest whitepaper, they might not bother!

The same goes for social sign-on features, which offer your users the option to sign in with their social credentials. You’ll decrease the number of fields they have to complete, and as a bonus, you’ll collect data such as Twitter handles, Facebook URLs, or LinkedIn profiles.

Of course, there are many other ways to use behavioral data. How do you leverage data without scaring your customers? Do you find the use of your data creepy, or helpful? Let us know!