Filling the Customer Funnel – Why Data Scientists Need You!

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It’s called the customer funnel and PR and Marketing professionals work with sales to fill it– just one more valuable role you represent.

The economy is pivoting from being “all about the numbers” to what’s behind the numbers. It’s not about how full the funnel is as much as it is about the quality of the customers filling that funnel!

Does it matter if you have a zillion Facebook followers if none of them buy from you or ever will? And as those of us who manage social media well know – those followers demand our attention and time. If you give out samples of your new product and just a few of them return the coupon at their local store does it matter if there was a line for your freebie? What if you had an event and though you filled the venue the local sales figures never budged?

Now imagine in the scenarios above that you had half a zillion Facebook followers, but they all responded to your posts and purchased your product or service within 24 hours. Hmmm! Or your samples went to the ‘right’ customers who on their next visit to the drug or grocery store redeemed the coupon you gave them with the sample? And lastly if your event converted people from trial to buy – you would find yourself in high demand to do more events.

Here are two examples of how data is having a big time impact on sales and marketing:

A major real estate brokerage in New York is 80% tech and 20% sales and support. One real estate broker is in the field with a buyer – he no longer says “let me go back to the office and look for that” nor does he say “I’ll have more to look at tomorrow” – oh no. This guy is on a headset telling his tech team “she just added a balcony to what she wants” and before the potential buyer has finished looking at the kitchen the broker has two more nearby listings, with balconies, for her to see. The goal is to find this customer what she wants – today.

The Financial Times – Europe’s 127 year old powerhouse newspaper is bringing data scientists into its newsroom. This is about more than the news, it’s about full fledge engagement – and that includes the success of its advertisers and the special events and products that are becoming secondary sources of income for media organizations. FYI – engagement is someone who not only subscribes but visits the website 2 or more times a week and stays awhile.

So where do you come in? You are the person who asks the questions. Whether this is through hiring a research organization or informally asking specific questions through your mobile app, on social media, through your call in center or the people on the front lines – all of those questions and answers are data and they are the engines that make your sales and marketing run.

Reading sources of data about your customer types is beneficial too. Advertising departments at magazine do an excellent job of profiling their readers, this is often a great place to start and will lead you to the next resource. Consider starting a folder on your computer where you save this sort of information – open it quarterly and you’ll see the pieces come together.

Try this:  go to a smart blog like: https://blog.kissmetrics.com  and see what the end result should look like – I call this the “Z” of marketing.  Then work backward through your situation and you’ll tap into where you should begin.

It’s time for all of us to pivot – add ‘data scientist” to your thought process and plan and become the source for meaningful customer information. Nothing is more valuable to a boss, an owner or a client than having a person on their team who really knows the customer.

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