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Jun 05, 2023 Gulcan Kurtul

Turning Customers into Advocates: Harnessing Your Base for Success

In today's competitive business landscape, customer data is one of the most valuable assets a company can possess, which includes information about past purchases, interactions, and preferences. By understanding your customers' preferences, behavior, and needs, you can tailor your marketing efforts, improve customer experiences, and ultimately drive growth and revenue by building stronger customer relationships and increasing customer loyalty. In this context, utilizing the existing customer database is crucial for any business looking to stay competitive and thrive in today's market. 

In this article you will find;

Now, before further ado, let us get started.


Why should you leverage your existing database? 

Leveraging the existing customer database will enable you to identify valuable insights, such as purchase patterns and customer behaviors, to optimize marketing strategies, cross-sell or upsell opportunities, and deliver targeted and personalized experiences, fostering customer retention and driving revenue growth. If you are not convinced yet, let us look at some facts below. 

  • To start with, it is much more cost-effective to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. According to Harvard Business Review, it is estimated that acquiring a new customer costs 5-25 times more than retaining an existing one. 

  • Secondly, repeat customers are also more likely to spend more money and make larger purchases, increasing the lifetime value of each customer. According to research by Adobe, returning customers spend an average of 3x more than first-time customers. 

  • Plus, existing customers have already had positive experiences with your brand and are more likely to recommend your products or services to their network, becoming brand advocates. A study by Nielsen found that 92% of customers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising. 
  • By leveraging your existing customer database, you can create a loyal and passionate customer base that will help drive growth and success for your business. According to Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25-95%. 

As you can see, investing in existing customers can provide a higher return on investment than focusing solely on new customer acquisition. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty, you can build a strong and loyal customer base that can help drive growth and success for your business. 


How can you get the maximum value out of your existing database? 

Most probably you are already using your database for upsells, cross-sells, or renewals, but might be questioning how else you can leverage it more to get the maximum benefit. Here are some suggestions;  

  • Clean and organize your data: Start by making sure that your data is accurate and up-to-date. Better not to use inaccurate data as it will cause more confusion later on. Remove any duplicates, correct any errors, and organize your data in a way that allows for easy segmentation and analysis. 

  • Segment and identify your most loyal customers: Once you clean and update your data, start analyzing your customer data to identify customers who have made repeat purchases, left positive reviews, or engaged with your brand on social media.

  • Personalize communication: Once you have identified these customers, personalize your communication with them. Address them by name and acknowledge their past purchases or interactions with your brand.  

  • Offer exclusive perks: While you are personalizing your communication, you can also personalize your post-purchase experience with your customers. Offer your most loyal customers exclusive perks or incentives to become brand advocates, such as discounts, free products, or early access to new releases. These kinds of perks will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Imagine how you would feel if you received a personalized gift from one of the platforms of brands you make repeat purchases and how happy it would make you!

  • Upsell and cross-sell via Retargeting: Use your customer data to identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling by using retargeting ads. Offer complementary products or services to customers based on their past purchases or browsing behavior to increase the average order value. “You might also like this”, “Related products”, or “The customers who purchased this product also purchased this” kind of sections can be quite helpful and powerful.  

  • Referral programs: Encourage your existing customers to refer their friends and family to your brand and share their positive experiences with their network by providing them with shareable content or referral codes and by offering them incentives or rewards for doing so. This can help drive new customer acquisition while also strengthening customer loyalty. 

  • Improve customer service: Use your customer data to identify areas where your customer service can be improved. Address customer complaints and feedback promptly and make changes to improve the customer experience. 

  • Leverage social media: Social media is a powerful tool for creating brand advocates. Encourage your customers to follow your brand on social media and engage with your content. 

  • Monitor and respond: Monitor social media and review sites for mentions of your brand, and respond promptly to any negative feedback or complaints. 

  • Analyze and adjust: Analyze the behavior of your brand advocates to understand what drives their advocacy and adjust your strategy accordingly. Use this insight to optimize your marketing and customer service efforts to create even more brand advocates. 


2 Successful Brands That Make Use of the Customer Data

Now let us see it in practice! Let us check two of the famous brands to see how they utilize their customer database to drive growth.  


One of the successful examples of brands that have effectively leveraged their existing customer database to build brand advocates is Airbnb. Airbnb uses data analytics to understand the needs and preferences of its customers and create personalized experiences that encourage repeat bookings and positive reviews. 

For example, Airbnb uses machine learning algorithms to analyze customer behavior and preferences, such as the types of properties they book, the amenities they prefer, and the neighborhoods they like to stay in. This information is then used to create personalized recommendations and targeted marketing campaigns that are tailored to each customer's interests. 

Airbnb also offers a loyalty program called "Superhost," which rewards hosts who consistently provide exceptional hospitality with exclusive benefits and recognition. This incentivizes hosts to go above and beyond for their guests and creates a positive feedback loop, as happy guests are more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend the platform to others. 

As a result of these efforts, Airbnb has built a loyal customer base and a strong brand reputation, with over 200 million users worldwide and a valuation of over $100 billion. By leveraging its existing customer database and using data to create personalized experiences, Airbnb has succeeded in turning satisfied customers into enthusiastic brand advocates. 


Another brand that successfully leverages customer database is Amazon. Most probably you all purchased something from Amazon till now.  

Amazon is making the best use of its database by providing personalized recommendations via machine learning algorithms. It runs targeted marketing campaigns to the customers segmented into specific groups based on their preferences and behaviors. On top of that, it provides subscription services like Amazon Prime which provides additional benefits such as free shipping, exclusive deals, and access to streaming services.  

Amazon also applies dynamic pricing, where it identifies price-sensitive customers and offers discounts or competitive prices to increase sales, or targets premium customers with higher pricing strategies. By providing a customer who just made a purchase recommendation for related or complementary items, it also increases the conversion rates for upsells or cross-sells. Finally, it prominently displays extensive product reviews and ratings provided by customers, which help customers make informed purchasing decisions. 

As a result, by understanding and meeting customer needs effectively, Amazon has been able to drive growth and maintain its position as a leading e-commerce giant. 


What you should be careful about while using the existing customer database 

While leveraging an existing customer database can be an effective strategy, there are some potential risks and challenges that you should be mindful of. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Data privacy and compliance: You need to ensure that you are complying with relevant data privacy laws and regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA. This includes obtaining proper consent from customers to use their data, protecting their data from unauthorized access or breaches, and providing customers with options to control their data. 

  • Data quality: The accuracy and completeness of the data in the database is essential. Inaccurate or outdated data can lead to ineffective marketing campaigns, wasted resources, and damaged customer relationships. It's important to regularly clean and update the data to ensure it is reliable. 

  • Overuse or misuse of customer data: Overusing or misusing customer data can lead to a negative customer experience and damage customer trust. It is important to be transparent about how customer data will be used and to only use it for the intended purpose. 

  • Bias and discrimination: Bias and discrimination can arise when customer data is used to create targeted campaigns or make business decisions. It is important to regularly review and analyze data to ensure that there are no discriminatory patterns or unintended consequences. 

Overall, make sure you approach the use of their existing customer database with care and attention to ensure that you are using the data ethically, effectively, and in compliance with relevant regulations. 

To wrap up, creating brand advocates out of an existing customer database can be a valuable strategy for businesses looking to build long-term loyalty and generate word-of-mouth marketing. By focusing on providing exceptional customer experiences, engaging with customers regularly, and leveraging data to create personalized campaigns, businesses can turn satisfied customers into enthusiastic brand ambassadors. Offering loyalty programs, special promotions, or exclusive content can also incentivize customers to promote the brand to their friends and family. If you need any help or suggestions on which strategies apply best to your industry or business, NMQ Digital is here with its Digital Consultancy and CRM services.  

Published by Gulcan Kurtul June 5, 2023
Gulcan Kurtul