MINI-COURSE · 1 | Five Quick Ways To Attract Profitable Customers & Improve Your ROI

Our 5 Tips will show you how to maximise your ROI in 2020Today's Marketing landscape can be loud, confusing
and even make you lose money.

Intelligent Marketing Mini-Course | PART I

You'll Learn

  • Millions of Marketing campaigns are inefficient and lose money
  • The problem: they are not directed to the 20% that causes 80% of the business.
  • Identifying & targeting your "Wally", that crucial 20%, will raise your ROI
  • Keep It Simple: create Marketing based on deep knowledge of Wally & Smart Data

It's not easy to be a CMO or Brand Manager these days. If you carry the responsibility of not only caring for a Brand, but also maximising each Euro ... Dollar, Yen or Yuan invested, you know what we mean.

On the one hand, you have a vast array of almost "magical" Digital tools at your disposal: they'd make Harry Potter jealous!

Yet, at the same time, the sheer noise and saturation of the 24/7 Internet makes it increasingly difficult to reach your goals.

It's hard to find and attract "solid" clients who will turn into repeat customers and attract others. It's confusing when you try to decide exactly where to put your message and how to make it stand out. And it's time-consuming, trying to measure your results when you have fragmented data and KPIs all over the place.

So, what are Best Practices for capturing quality Leads and driving traffic to your Digital campaigns?


1. Identify Your Best Customers

This first point seems ultra-obvious, yet it's not.

Thousands ... even millions ... of companies fail to correctly understand who their most profitable customers are. They waste terrible amounts of Marketing money directing poorly-conceived strategies and creativities to the wrong people. The most common error: selling everything to everyone!

This utter waste of money was unavoidable in The Era of 'Mad Men', where few channels and only mass audiences existed. Companies sold diapers to men and motorcycles to grandmothers.

Very creatively, of course -- yet totally inefficiently and ineffectively.

Thanks to the Digital Revolution, we have the ability to identify, segment and then target only those consumers or clients who truly make a difference: on the company's bottom line (€€€).

Finding your most profitable customer is often just like "Looking for Waldo". Copyright Martin Handford.

What many call "The Pareto Principle" or "The 20/80 Rule" is what we call "Looking for Wally" here at Barcelona Virtual. We liken the search for the perfect, profitable customer to the search for Waldo in the popular children's books by the same name. (In Spain, Waldo is called Wally, by the way.)

In other words, our first strategic step is to ask ourselves: Who is Wally? That 20% who will cause 80% of the business. These are the people we will focus on in Step 2.


2. Get to Know Them Well

However, just knowing who "your Wally" might be is not enough. For the best results, base your strategy on real facts, not just on intuition. Paul Fleming observes that many Marketing professionals fall into "The Self-Projection Trap":

"They project themselves, their lifestyle, own preferences and reality onto what is supposedly the definition of their Ideal Client. As Marketers, we can all easily develop this type of myopia"

A sure recipe for mediocre Marketing, at best. Unintelligent Marketing, at worst.

We're sure you've seen examples of this:

"Our target is:

  • "a young, urban woman between 25-34"
  • "a fan of Instagram, just like her friends"
  • "has an Android-based mobile"

Do you have proof? How do you know?

To attract your best customers, you will first need to base your strategy on concrete data. There are many criteria, of course. For the sake of this example, let's focus on the money! Who buys the most?

Fortunately, we have the perfect tool to find out:


Strange, simply the word itself can frighten some Communication and Marketing specialists!

From now on, we hope that "Database" will be one of your favourite Marketing terms ;-)

Let us explain:

If you were to look for the 20% who cause 80% of your sales, your first data-driven step should be to ask for an RFM Extraction of the database of your clients. Don't let that name scare you, either. "RFM" simply stands for "Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value".

Use a RFM Extraction in your database to find your profitable 20%.

Here in the agency, we joke that you need to "listen to Radio RFM if you want to find your Wally".

If you do, this is how you will base your Smart Marketing strategy:

"My Wally ...

  • "has purchased online from us within the last 2 years" (Recency)
  • "makes an average of 4 purchases a year" (Frequency)
  • "and spends at least 5.000 € in that period" (Monetary Value)

Armed with this initial information, you'll be a step closer to knowing your Wally better. Be sure also identify details such as your top 3 markets in terms of annual sales ("Germany, UK, Spain" ... or "Barcelona, Madrid, Seville").

Any respectable database form should capture your Wally's gender ("Mr, Mrs, Ms") for personalisation purposes, of course. Yet, also due to your need for "BI": Business Intelligence / subsequent segmentation ("43% men and 57% women" / "Send the Fall Sweater mailing to women in Paris, Lyon and Montpellier").

If you already work this way, CONGRATS from our entire team! 



3. Understand Their Digital Lifestyle

So, perhaps you're feeling good at this point. If you "feel the love" from our virtual applause above, it's clear that you're moving in the right direction. Nevertheless, you're not quite "there" yet. Identifying Wally and segmenting messages to that crucial "Profitable 20%" will not produce better ROI just like that.

The true Jedis of Intelligent Marketing know that strategy and creativity that captures attention and produces "conversions" (remember the AIDA model) are entirely dependent on a deeper understanding of Wally's "DL": Digital Lifestyle.

The following success story ("Wally stops scrolling, she clicks to see details of that Fall Sweater, buys it") is only possible if you deeply understand behavioural details such as:

  • Language and visual codes used by Wally and her "tribe"
  • The Social Media that are her favourites, used daily by her
  • The type of Mobile device, model and brand Wally uses
  • Other more advanced activities: use of Voice Assistants? Biometrics? Apple Pay?

How can you discover this valuable information?
Only by investing more time and work in really gettting to know Wally and his friends.

As Paul always tells his students at ESIC:
"Take great care of Wally, really spoil her, and soon she'll introduce you to her cousin, ROI!"


A Warning for Lazy Marketers:
We'll warn you right now: if you truly want to create a "Money Machine", based on products and services that are relevant to your Profitable 20%, then your interest in them should be sincere, long-term and "vocational" from this point on. If your only interest is in quick, one-shot sales, you might as well stop reading right now.

4. Keep It Simple

The good news about Intelligent Marketing is that it is based on common sense. In Marketing, we love to complicate things: we crave magic formulas, flowcharts, seminars and symposia.

To help you to quickly increase your Return on Investment, here are three simple tactics you can use this very month, if you've made changes mentioned in the preceeding sections.

  1. Create a Promotion or Contest to capture information you need.
  2. Use Loyalty Events to get to know your "Super Wallies" in person.
  3. Draw up a Buyer Persona (profile) about your Wally: call her by her name

Let's take a quick look at each.

A. Create a Promotion

When our client, European luxury hotel chain Derby Hotels Collection, needed to know details about their most profitable customer, we helped them by creating an extensive survey, disguised as a contest. Thanks to gamification, narrative forms, prizes and other details, we discovered the favourite mobile devices, social networks, travel habits and personal tastes of their Wallies in Europe and the USA:


B. Meet Them in Person

Every single event for your customers -- whether they be B2C consumers or B2B clients --
s an opportunity
to get to know them better.

We remember a highly visible event of a major European sport shoe brand that we attended a few years ago. It was so popular, that people needed to sign up online to obtain coveted codes, in order to know the exact time they would be allowed to enter.

What made it so popular?

That's easy to answer: extraordinary, "members only" prices for their fans. Prices so low that people drove an hour or more to a remote location to buy the Brand at basement prices.

Once inside, they were greeted at a Photo Call wall, with a Facebook mural of thousands of fan photos, listened to funky music and nibbled on Hipster food as they shopped. They then paid ... and left.

That's all! There was no special recognition for their "Super Fans", Wallies that had remained faithful over the years and purchased their shoes and sports clothes again and again. No Chill-Out Zone for these Wallies, where the Brand's Sales and Marketing team might have chatted with them.

Listened, and learned.

It was only about the money. Quick cash.

C. Draw Up A Buyer Persona

The best way to Keep It Simple (the KISS Rule) is to create a fictional profile (based on data you've researched) called a Buyer Persona. Once you finish it, you and your team will have a visual, personal reference to relate to, whilst planning product innovations, promotions and other Marketing or e-Commerce campaigns.

Are Buyer Personas Obsolete?
Due to Marketing driven by Artificial Intelligence, many feel that generalised Buyer Personas are a thing of the past. Well, not entirely.

They can still be very helpful, especially for smaller companies or Marketing departments just beginning to understand Smart Data Marketing.

We suggest use of general profiles like this as a first step, and primarily as a tool for your Creativity. Once your entire team is talking about "Henry", or keeping "Petra" top of mind, it will be easier for them to create more "conversational" campaigns that will connect (and convert) much better with them.

(We like putting their photos and profiles where everyone can see them in the Marketing department.)

Thanks to Intelligent Marketing tools and strategies, true "1 to 1" Hyper-Personalisation is possible, including offers in real-time and dynamic content based on a customer's purchase history.

We'll explore that a bit later in this 4-part blog series.

Here are some ideas for your Buyer Persona development:

Call Me By My Name

DHC - Elena Buyer Persona
Photo, name, key points. Keep it simple. In this case, we talk about Elena when creating Marketing for her.

Basic Worksheet 

WORKSHEET - Buyer Persona
A Worksheet for Team Meetings with our clients in Spain in order to create the profile together.

God Is In the Details

Get down to small, local details with your Buyer Persona.

Using the correct tone of voice and date/time/currency formats creates an ever stronger connection


5. Smart Data & Why You Need It

Thanks for reading all the way to this final tip! Let us tell you a secret: you'll be rewarded for doing so, because this step is where things become very interesting ... and profitable!

Many talk about "Big Data" (video) these days, yet it is "Smart Data" that you should be focusing on. Smart Data is a key component of any Intelligent Marketing strategy -- and we can guarantee that using this knowledge correctly will help you to quickly improve your ROI with each and every Marketing move you make.

Let's go deeper.

So what is, exactly "smart" data? Does "Dumb Data" exist? Oh yes it does! Dumb Data is irrelevant information that thousands of Brands literally assault consumers and customers with. The avalanche is so overwhelming that millions of people -- you and we included -- protect themselves by a digital shield.

What we call "The Personal Cybersphere".

CANNES LIONS 2016 - Poster of Paul Fleming's Hands-On Workshop, "Taming The Personal Cybersphere"
There was great interest about The Personal Cybersphere at the 2016 Cannes Advertising Festival

How can you find and use Smart Data? The answer is very simple: your own Smart Data consists of a deep knowledge of your Wallies: who they are, what they need, how they live their Digital Lifestyles. Smart Data can also be found when you analyse measurable results: your Top 3 best-selling products, the best markets for your Geo-Marketing segmentations, the progress of your KPIs when you track your "S.M.A.R.T" Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) each month.

Why is a "data-driven strategy" important -- even urgent?

We live in the Era of the "Entitled Consumer", an entire generation that has grown up "Always On".

The Selligent* Connected Consumer Index, a survey of 5,000 consumers around the world, shows us, with eye-popping clarity, just how demanding Digital Consumers are.

UPDATE 2023 | Consumer Trends Index 2023 for Europe


Look at these findings:

Selligent Marketing Cloud - Customer Expectation for Response Time Is Shortening.Selligent Marketing Cloud: Younger demand and take personalization for granted..
Selligent Marketing Cloud - Relevance Is King.

We'll admit, the information in Tip #5 can seem daunting. However, there's no need to despair!

Thanks to the time you've invested with us here, your insights and change of strategy will produce positive results very soon. You have the data and now you know about new and powerful tools.

The next challenge?

Much, if not most, of your data is fragmented, chaotic and already obsolete. (We wouldn't be true friends if we didn't tell you the truth ;-)

We'll talk about that next week, in the second post of this 4-part series.

If you'd like to be notified when the next post is up, just leave us your email here.


Key Points 

  • Millions of Marketing campaigns are inefficient and lose money
  • The problem: they are not directed to the 20% that causes 80% of the business.
  • Identifying & targeting your "Wally", that crucial 20%, will raise your ROI
  • Keep It Simple: create Marketing based on deep knowledge of Wally & Smart Data

Read the entire series:

1: Where is Wally? | 2: Fight Fragmentation | 3: Content Is King | 4: Cute Robots & AI

Originally published on this blog on 07 November 2019


  • 11 November 2019
  • 28 November 2019
  • 11 June 2020
  • 14 September 2022
  • 19 April 2023


* Full disclosure: Barcelona Virtual is a Partner Agency of Hubspot and Selligent Marketing Cloud.

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