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Data, data, everywhere….

In a digital age where we are all leaving data footprints wherever we go, the most important data will come from your most profitable customers. Andrew Cushing says focus here first.

When it comes to producing data, us consumers are prolific. Imagine the sorts of calculations that the likes of Google and others are making as they try to make sense of our online Xmas shopping.

Using complex predictive behavioural analysis to sort out patterns, working out where we’ll go and what we’ll do next. In a single month alone, Yahoo gathers 110 billion pieces of data about its customers. But to make sense of that you need to employ an army of mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers, never mind the legion of servers required to store and process all that data.

Fortunately, most of us in construction marketing don’t have to work on quite that scale. Of course it can still seem pretty daunting if you don’t have a clear data strategy, expensive CRM system and at least somebody that likes working with data as a day job. But you just can’t afford to ignore it. We all know that it is more cost effective to generate more sales from existing customers than it is to attract new ones. So where to start?

Well one good place is your most profitable customers. Do you know who they are? Its not always the largest customers, so as well as turnover understand the gross margin by customer. A full and detailed transactional analysis will also show what these customers are buying from you and also what they’re not.

What other information would help build a profile of these customers? Start by identifying customer type - industry sector (SIC codes), number of employees and turnover. Who are the key decision makers? Have you got their contact details up to date, especially phone numbers and email addresses? It would be also great to know how much they have available to spend on your products and services and therefore your share of their wallet.

So if they’re already profitable and have plenty more to spend on what you have to offer then at the very least these should be the first customers to receive a Xmas card from you. And all the better if you’ve got their email address and mobile number so you can email or text it to them!

Andrew Cushing is Head of Marketing for the Heavyside Division of Wolseley UK, CIMCIG committee member and a judge at the Construction Marketing Awards

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