Data collection and progressive profiling: a winning recipe!

In this era of “BIG DATA”, it’s essential to use the data smartly if you want to reach your customers and prospects effectively.
Sophie Lamarche
1 September 2013
Data Management
5 min 30
recolte de donnees et profilage progressif   une recette gagnante

UPDATE: May 1st, 2019

In this era of “BIG DATA”, it’s essential to use the data smartly if you want to reach your customers and prospects effectively. Collecting, analyzing and monitoring your customer profiles are no doubt mandatory factors in order to have successful marketing strategies and campaigns.

Gathering this kind of information through online forms can be a challenging process. Several things are to be considered, among others, the amount of time someone has, requesting relevant information, and of course the amount of information required to complete the form, while making sure to ask for relevant information.

There is a fine line between constantly asking for something and scaring away the potential contact or not asking them for enough relevant information. Whether you are always asking for the same information or your acquisition forms are way too long, the risk to discourage your contacts is high.

This is why using progressive profiling techniques becomes valuable and profitable in the field of marketing automation. This technique involves collecting the right data at the right time to maintain ongoing engagement by having one interaction lead to another.

The primary goal of progressive profiling is to gradually collect data about your visitors to complete their profile without having them fill out an endless form at the first visit. Basically, you make your forms smart and efficient. This also saves you from asking the same information over and over again for your visitors, which can be annoying and less personal.

How to do it?

A good way to gather progressively information from a visitor on your website is to ask them to create a user account. You will be able to ask them for information when they register. Once connected, it will be easy to enrich their profile with the behaviors they will have on their next visits to your website, their purchases, their preferences and interests. All without them being aware of it.

For visitors who will be unknown to you, that is to say, who will not have a user account, this profiling will be done through interactions with your company.

Setting up dynamic forms is a good way to collect data regularly to enrich the profile of contact during visits. Thus, the fields to fill will be different according to the information that you already have versus the information you need.

Then, with each subsequent interaction (generated by downloading a document or registering for an online event, for example), you ask for different information depending on the customer’s life cycle and your overall objectives.

For example, a white paper is offered in exchange for the name, email address and occupation of the visitor. Next time, you can offer a free class in exchange for your visitor’s date of birth and gender, to supplement the information already acquired.

It is therefore important to have a system linked to your database to concordance information and to associate each new information with existing ones.


By gradually profiling your prospects, you will by far improve your conversion rate and win people’s loyalty. In other words, you get the most out of every visit from your contacts to collect new, detailed personal information and enrich your customer database.

Several advantages arise from this technique here are the 3 main ones:

  1. Your forms, being shorter and easier to fill, allow you to increase your acquisition conversion rates
  2. You greatly increase the knowledge you have of your contacts
  3. You save a lot of time and effort since everything is automated

1. Boost your Acquisition Conversion Rate

The smaller forms definitely have a better conversion rate. It’s important to ensure that your form contains enough relevant questions to engage qualified contacts. It is therefore important to find the right balance between asking for enough information but not too much.

So, instead of using a long form, consider using smaller forms with 2 to 6 fields, that are easy to fill in. Smaller forms definitely register higher conversion rates. Your sequence of information you request has to be related to your client lifecycle stage within the sales funnel and your overall objectives.

For example:

A. firstname, lastname, email;

B. date of birth, occupation, number of children;

C. budget, product preferences, etc.

When you meet someone, the first question you ask him should not be his annual salary. It’s the same thing here. Ask them basic questions first to gain their trust and not scare them. By using progressive profiling, you adapt to the maturity of the contact. You will be able to keep pace with your contacts without tiring them of your brand.

2. Improve your Customer Retention

Having a better understanding of your customers’ interests and preferences will give you the opportunity to design personalized offers that fit closer to their needs.

In addition, the user experience will be greatly enhanced. Indeed, based on your customer behaviors – clicks and online navigation or even buying – you can present customized offers and add value with some specific recommendations. Thus, their satisfaction will be greater.

It is an easier way to nurture your leads in order to convert them and most importantly retain the relationship. Of course, you have to monitor every interaction to adjust your communication to be effective and relevant.

3. Easy and Effective Marketing Automation

The technique of automated progressive profiling saves a lot of time. In fact, this technique allows you to easily create a single form, and use it multiple times, rather than creating a ton of different forms tailored to each of your pages. The only thing that is changed is the requested fields and all this is done without your intervention.

Automation of the process also allows you to better qualify your prospects. Indeed, the most complete contacts, who have completed more than one form, are clearly more qualified than a contact where we only have the name and email address. Because it may be that it has not returned to your site or simply does not want to fill your form. In one way or another, it shows a certain lack of interest.

Where to start?

Start by creating an acquisition strategy. You’ll want to write down a list of questions you want to ask your clients, define a logical order according to your goals/sales cycles and execute your marketing automation!

Here some example questions to ask when you begin to develop your acquisition strategy:

  • What kind of information is vital for my organization to know about any prospect?
  • How long is my clients’ life cycle?
  • What kind of communication do I want to establish? Long or short term, product or service based, value based, etc.
  • How many communication types should I plan for? Are they included in a cross-channel strategy?

And, here are some example questions to ask your contacts or prospects in both B2B and B2C scenarios when you execute:

  • Please rate your overall last online buying experience with us.
  • Do you have projects coming soon?
  • Would you like to receive SMS or emails daily alerts/insights?
  • On average, how much do you spend a year..?

Finally, whether you are using regular forms or forms based on tracking your customers’ website activity, the ideal benefit of progressive profiling is to be able to collect relevant information throughout the cycle of your relationship with a client or prospect and most importantly establishing a valuable two-way communication with your contacts.

For more techniques to help you save time on your repetitive tasks by automating your marketing processes, check out this white paper.

Find out how your business can benefit from Dialog Insight.

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