Powerful CRM and Marketing Automation tools require the right data to deliver successes

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems help drive organizational sales and revenue. However, the ability of these systems to assist in generating revenue is only as good as the data that resides in the system. Think of the saying; “garbage in, garbage out”. What you want is relevant data in, revenue generation as a result.

Big data is all the rage these days and with good reason. It can give DMOs incredible insight into how travelers make their decisions to go to certain destinations over others, for example. We can now watch what travelers do online, access their demographic information, analyze trends of similar travelers, and present them with extremely personalized messages to draw them into visiting your destination. Yet data collection goes deeper than gathering leisure traveler details for DMOs. The right data collection can help DMOs with convention sales, membership goals, travel trade, and more.

Just as face-to-face meetings between sales professionals and potential customers are important for information gathering, relationship building, and moving sales forward, completing notes, entering traces, syncing emails, completing lead forms, etc. within your CRM are also crucial elements in completing a sale and driving future sales, as the success or failure of sales can then be analyzed. With marketing automation programs like Act-On, this activity can be automated. Systems can be triggered to send personalized communications based on certain behaviors. Reports can then be generated for analysis. The data that you collect with your CRM and marketing automation tools allows you to build meaningful, long term relationships with your clients, as the data will help you discover and deliver what your clients need. Lost business can be followed up for future business. The right data also helps you make those larger decisions … are we losing business due to lack of flights? Lack of hotels? Rates? Etc.

Remember what we said in the first paragraph about relevant data, however? This means that prior to data collection, a DMO must first define their goals and objectives. Without a plan, you are just collecting random data. Ask yourself: Once you have your data, what will you do with it? How will you utilize it for targeted marketing?

We have access to all sorts of data. Data that you can acquire yourself via surveys, online forms, telephone inquiries, etc. All this collection, however, means little without a plan and metrics to measure the success of that plan. Too many times I have seen online forms that capture all sorts of data, and not all of it necessary. For example, I once saw an online form to register for an e-newsletter that captured name, email address, home address, phone number, interests, expected visitation dates, and so on. When I inquired about the form and asked how much of the data the organization was using, the answer was: the email address. No specialized newsletters based on interests were being sent out. No follow-ups regarding their expected visitation date. Nothing. We began to review some reports in CRM to demonstrate how they could use that data for targeted marketing campaigns based on when the inquiry occurred, where the consumer lived, and what their interests were. We also discussed how the form could have been built to just capture email address and or interests, as the more questions people have to answer, the less likely they will be to complete the form. In this case, however, many people did fill out that form in its entirety and gave the destination some really good data that would allow them to target like-minded travelers that were very likely to visit.

So how will you use your data to target the right audience? I read an interesting article written by now Simpleview employee Aaron Nissen in which he discussed moving from collecting demographic information to starting to think about what makes your destination special, and marketing to people who are interested in that. So your marketing focus is on the niche experiences and then you can work with your stakeholders to enhance those experiences and understand the target audience of people interested in those experiences. I am not suggesting this approach is the best approach, but it is an option. The approach you decide to take should simply be defined up front, prior to data collection, so your organization can effectively utilize that data for targeted marketing.