Is your website haunted by strange apparitions? You may not know it, but right now you have an army of ghosts, zombies and vampires creeping across your website.

In this blog we reveal their true identities and how to harness their strange powers.

Like a scientific data-driven ghost-buster, if you will.

The new breed of customer intelligence tools are helping to explain who these un-earthly visitors are and why you should welcome these ghoulish visitors into your marketing programme.

GhostsGhosts

Have you got anonymous un-identified clicks and swipes inhabiting your website?

You could be encountering paranormal activity – but more likely just a lot of unidentified browsers. A lot of organisations tend to run scared of these silent visitors by waiting for ‘Casper’ to identify himself as a friendly, But just because you don’t know who these ghosts are - you shouldn’t be scared of communicating with them.

Put that Ouija board away, we won’t need that here.

“I aint afraid of no ghost”

Live browsing behaviour is incredibly powerful, and you should be using it to begin personalising your customer’s experience. We don’t mean those annoying ‘99% off – buy that item that you looked at two years ago’ type ‘personal’ messages - it’s more the ‘sit down, put the kettle on, do you take sugar?’ type of engagement: 

  • How many times have they visited? 
  • What time of day? 
  • What did they look at? 
  • What information did they share? 
  • What can we infer from this?

You should be able to build quite a good picture by the time they do identify themselves. However, there are a couple of things to watch out for here when trying to identify Ghosts, such as their ability to disappear and reappear somewhere else, but more daunting is their tendency to mutate into Zombies and Vampires!


ZombiesZombies

Every business has a list of living, breathing customers that have purchased within the last two years and receive marketing messages that convert into sales. But what about the customers that haven’t - does that make them the living dead?

Don’t be shocked when these once valuable forgotten customers suddenly start creeping across your site – these are the ‘undead’, and you’ve just hit marketing gold. 

You know more about your zombies than you do about anyone else – their interests, preferences, past purchases – and now you can add their real-time needs into the equation.

One thing that a real-time customer intelligence service will help you do, is to operate successfully in a multi-channel environment. This means not only recognising your customers on and offline – but also recognising those customers that your marketing might have forgotten about.

What’s more, you have a relationship to resurrect and some great personalised messages to send for maximum impact. Zombies love to be recognised and rewarded for their loyalty just like everyone else. If you’re sending generic messages to zombies -  or worse, treating them like new customers – you’re wasting a massive opportunity.

Not all zombies deserve the VIP treatment, though. Some of these zombies are, in fact, vampires.

VampireVampires

It’s very easy to go overboard with personalisation and triggering offers. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

If you’ve spent time getting to know your customers and mapping out their different customer journeys you know that customer value varies widely, with some customers even costing more than they will deliver. In fact, a close look at browsing detail will reveal that some of these visitors consistently display competitive browsing patterns, shopping for that elusive loss-leader special offer.

These are your vampires. They suck your marketing budget and fly off to the next unsuspecting victim.

One of the huge benefits of real-time customer intelligence is being able to personalise and adjust what you offer to each customer. In some circumstances this may mean saying and doing nothing at all, instead investing more in the customers with greater potential (by the way – modelling ‘share of wallet’ can be an effective approach for predicting this). However, there are circumstances when knowing who your vampires are and taking action is absolutely the right thing to do.

“I see dead people”

Recognising existing customers across sessions and devices is a critical first step to delivering decent customer experiences and optimising your content strategy across channels.

Of course, none of your customers are really ghosts, zombies or vampires but once you’ve taken a real-time customer intelligence approach, you’ll start seeing dead people every day.

Daniel Guest

Published 30 October, 2014 by Daniel Guest

Daniel Guest is Director at R-cubed and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can connect on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google  Plus.  

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