The most valuable data for your company is the information gleaned from your own visitors. Data gathered firsthand, and ideally observed in real time, is the digital marketer’s holy grail. Only it’s completely unlike the holy grail of legends; this one is hiding in plain sight, well within your grasp.

Firsthand Data is Unique and Relevant

Your internal, first-party data is pretty well guaranteed to be both unique and relevant. When people spend time on your site, fill in registration forms, or speak to customer support, they’re giving you authorized access to the most applicable data for your business. Yet many of us are so distracted by the dazzling claims of external, third-party, and other kinds of fancy-pants data that we let the good stuff slip through our fingers.

CRM Is Where It’s At

Customer relationship management (CRM) handles all the juicy information collected from visitor interactions. In a perfect world, CRM makes this data current, consistent, and available across your sales, service, tech support, and marketing silos.

Pop quiz: How well acquainted are you with your CRM?

a. My what?

b. We met that one time

c. We do lunch once a month

d. We hang out all the time

If your answer is d, give yourself a pat on the back. If it’s a, b, or c, get out your planner and start making dates—it’s time to cozy up to your CRM system, team, and, yes, data.

But What if We Don’t Have CRM?

You do. Maybe you don’t own a fancy CRM system, but one way or another, you manage your relationship with customers. You might call them visitors, readers, subscribers, viewers, members, supporters, or followers. The point is you interact with them, and hopefully, they interact with you. And where there is interaction, there is data (even if it’s not recorded or analyzed).

So read on for how you can turn your customer-data runoff into a valuable stream of insight powering digital personalization and conversion rates.

Integrate Your CRM Silos

CRM data exists in multiple forms and locations. The various types of data are rarely well integrated, which is why so many go to waste.

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of CRM: offline and online. According to a Digiday/Acxiom State of the Industry survey, 70 percent of marketers cannot (or do not) bring their offline data online. Our visitors exist in a multichannel marketplace, so why don’t we?

Start with bringing these two silos together, then work on synchronizing the data. The digital marketing team gets a boost of unique and relevant data to enhance online personalization. The sales team gets to see the online behavior that led a visitor to pick up the phone.

Online Data

Most of us are already capturing and paying attention to online visitor behavior and interactions. These include browsing history, external referrers, and visitor path; registration forms and shared social data; IP geolocation; third-party data; and chat records with online service reps.

It’s the offline visitor data that escapes us.

Offline Data

The offline CRM engine generates quality—and qualified—leads with personal and specialized visitor information.

  • The Why’s and the How’s

Sales and customer service teams are privy to visitors’ highest expectations and most urgent questions. They also have the opportunity to dig deeper than the standard registration data (phone, email, address, industry) and get to the why’s and how’s: Why did you ditch our product after the demo? How did you hear about us? Why did you spring for the upgrade? How can we improve your user experience?

  • Unquantifiable Behaviors

Consumers are multidimensional, and they certainly don’t make all their buying decisions online. By looking at offline behavior—and integrating this with the online data—you gain a more complex and accurate portrait of your visitors.

  • In-Store and Point-of-Sale (POS) Data

Brick-and-mortar buying behavior is an important element of that complex and accurate visitor portrait. A study by POPAI shows that “now more than ever shoppers are making an overwhelming number of their purchasing decisions in-store.” While most of this could be happening on a mobile device in-store, service reps get to observe some of the decision-making process, and then those decisions might ultimately be captured at POS.

Integrating Online and Offline Interactions in the Real World

A large office supply retailer began working with Adobe to follow individual visitors from online to offline and back again. Their newfound behavioral data revealed that online marketing was having a significant impact on in-store sales. They used this insight to improve product targeting online and saw an immediate spike in offline conversion rates.

By integrating the data from every visitor touchpoint, be it a POS retail system, visitor support phone line, or Web checkout page, they were able to optimize the overall shopping experience across channels. If a visitor had recently purchased a laptop in-store, they were shown the best deals on printers or external hard drives the next time they logged on to the website. It’s this kind of personalized content that builds visitor loyalty.

Key Takeaways

1. Interaction is Data

2. Integration is Powerful

Remember and apply these two takeaways, and you will gain deeper insight into your visitors, enhance personalization across channels, and see an uptick in conversion rates. When it comes to customer engagement, some of the best data is right under your nose.