It was an afternoon like any other. A middle-aged father was happily sorting the day’s mail — until he found a direct mail piece from Target addressed to his high school-aged daughter with coupons for baby clothes and cribs.

Furious, the father stormed into his local Target store, found a manager and raged: “Are you trying to encourage my daughter to get pregnant?”

The store manager apologized profusely and pledged to investigate.

A few days later, the store manager called to apologize again.

“She’s due in August,” the father lamented. “I’m the one who owes you an apology.”

Target knew the daughter was pregnant before her family did.


What Do Target And Others Know About You?

Every major retailer and most governmental agencies uses analytics to predict and guide behavior. And it just so happens that Target is very good at predictive analysis.

If you’ve ever shopped at Target, you have a “Guest ID.” This enables the company to know how old you are, whether you are married and have kids, where you live, how long it takes you to get to their store, approximately how much you earn, if you’ve moved recently, what websites you visit, what credit cards you own, your home and cell phone numbers, your email addresses, your job history, what magazines you read, whether you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy, the year you bought your home (or defaulted on your home), your education, and what brands of toilet paper you prefer.

Need I go on?

Okay, I know your business probably isn’t a retailing behemoth like Target. Fair enough. But you can — and should — get savvier and more disciplined about your customer database.


Your Customer Database

Your database must have the basics:

First Name
Last Name
Cell Number
Home Phone
Email Address
Current Motorcycle Ownership (Specific Model)
Previous Motorcycle Ownership (Specific Model)
Any Modifications
Gear and Accessory Purchases
Motorcycle Event Participation
Have they purchased motorcycles from other dealerships?
Friends and Family
Key Dates: Birthdays, Anniversaries, Motorcycle Purchase Date (these are anniversaries, too!).
Sizes Worn
Categories Purchased

Make sure that basic information is updated and accurate.

If you have this sort of data, you can do a better job at target marketing. For example, when you have extreme sizes left over from a seasonal clothing purchase, you typically blow them out at a discount. That’s a terrible idea.


Turning Your Data into Dollars

Say you’ve got several styles in a men’s size small left over. Send a targeted email message to those customers on your list that fit (literally). In the specialized and personalized message, make the limited (but still full-price) offer to those customers. You’ll more than likely get the sale, and it will more than likely be at full margin. Now you’ve endeared yourself to a select group of buyers, because you’re looking out for their specific interests.

Do you have any tuners hanging around in stock? Of course, you do. Well, guess what you should do? What an opportunity for a customized offer to applicable customers for an air cleaner/exhaust system upgrade.

Want examples of inventory-driven database marketing efforts?

• How about an initiative to your skull guys? Do you know what’s better than one skull-themed accessory on their motorcycle? Yep, everything in a skull: custom shift linkage, front and rear axle nut covers, custom fuel caps, swing-arm pivot bolt, fender skirt, fender tip — you get the idea.

• How about identifying all of your customers who have purchased luggage racks but not yet purchased the luggage? (For some reason, there always seem to be a bunch of these customers.)

• How about identifying all your customers who work at the same company and making some sort of special offer to them?

• How about providing a special offer on the anniversary of a customer’s motorcycle purchase?

The opportunities go on and on, but it starts with having a solid and reliable database.

Remember: It’s not what you know about your customers that can make your marketing efforts effective. Rather, it’s what you know but don’t make obvious that skyrockets the effectiveness of your marketing.