What a great opening to an emaildon’t you agree? It’s a little bit quirky, personal and friendly. Unfortunately, what followed didn’t live up to expectations. I’ve only been to one of Eventbrite’s events, so its recommended events were way off. I really love cake, but I got turnip. A great campaign spoiled all for a lack of data.

Indeed, so much of marketing these days is getting the right data. As marketers we gather it wherever we can, buy what we can’t scrounge, run competitions to capture what we can’t buy, and process the lot to help shape everything from product portfolios to marketing campaigns.

As we’ve discussed, there’s no shortage of data out there to gatherin fact, we’re overloaded with the stuff. Yet still we see mistakes like Eventbrite’s. Surely there’s a simple way to get the data you really need to engage with customers?

Tip: Forcing people to fill in a registration form just to download information about your products is a really poor idea. You want people to read your collateralso make it easy for them! Don’t succumb to “form creep”, where you start off asking for just a name and email address and end up with a form as long as the census. Otherwise you’ll find you’ve got 15 hot new leads named Mickey Mouse.

Well, we’ve got a pretty simple suggestion. If you can’t wait to amass the data that you need, why not just ask for it? Tell the customer what value they’ll get in return for their information. The email below from Kodak is a great example. It’s very open about what it wants, and why. If Eventbrite had followed Kodak’s lead and asked me to tell it a bit more about my interests in order to make better suggestions, I probably would have done especially if it gave me a discount to boot. And if I liked the service that resulted, I would probably have recommended it to my friends.

See the whole email

Tip: There are some really clever and inexpensive tools that we’ve used for years to gather data about customer behaviour. Crazyegg offers a detailed visual representation of what users do on your website. And then there’s our old favourite, MailChimp, in our opinion the best email newsletter tool around. As well as managing your lists, it helps you to segment your list, run multi-stage campaigns and perform A/B testing.

Posted by John on 5 October 2011