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How Data Helps Attract Sticky Customers

by Marketing Tango

No online business wants abandoned shopping carts.

As marketers, we want customers that are “sticky”— meaning, they’ll stick with their purchase, come back again and again, and then tell all their friends!

So how does one attract these sticky consumers? If you think the answer is all about data, you’re only half right.

“What consumers want from marketers is…simplicity,” according to a study by Harvard Business Review. Datais the means by which integrated marketers can simplify the process for consumers. The HBR research concluded that the best tool for measuring consumer engagement was what they called the ‘decision simplicity index’—a gauge of how easy it is for consumers to gather and understand (or navigate) information about a brand, how much they can trust the information they find, and how readily they can weigh their options.”

The trick is to figure out where your customers are at in the purchase cycle, and what type of information they need. Then provide trustworthy information to ensure your customers return after doing their research.


You can tell what type of information your consumers need next by reviewing the search terms they use to find you. Someone who searches for a broad, general term (e.g. “used car”) is early in the buying process, whereas more specific phrases (“used Toyota Sienna”) indicate someone further along.

Data shows that customers searching on a mobile device are also usually closer to making a decision since they’re out and about and in a bigger hurry to buy.

Common customer purchase paths can be seen by analyzing four main data sources mentioned in the HBR study: social media monitoring; ad effectiveness and campaign-tracking information; clickstream analysis, and individual consumer surveys.


Your business can develop trust and credibility by providing reliable third-party sources of information. Consumers need information not only about you, but also about your advisers, spokespeople, and partner companies. The idea is to develop groups of reputable advisers, not merely recommenders.

Weighing Options

Brands often like to list their features and benefits to help consumers make product evaluations. Information alone is not enough. In fact, too much information can drive prospects away. Instead, marketers need to help customers feel smart and confident about their decision. The report cited De Beers’ use of the “4 Cs” (cut, color, clarity, and carat) to help customers evaluate diamonds as a good example of simplifying a complex process.


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