What connects marketing, sales and support? They all want an impeccably maintained CRM database. At best, it contains data on customers that can be used to target marketing activities, the sales team can personalise offers, and data that enables support to solve problems efficiently. But how do you get all this relevant information, and how can you ensure that your CRM is up-to-date? In our blog post, we show you how you can use progressive profiling in email marketing to gradually collect data about your clientele and thus get an increasingly detailed picture of them.

Marketing and sales campaigns are only successful if you reach the right people. To get to know your buyer personas and leads, to send targeted emails, to achieve higher conversion rates and ultimately better results, you need to collect relevant information using web forms. However, this requires tact. Asking for too much key data at the same time usually deters potential prospects. Would you subscribe to a newsletter that required you to fill in ten mandatory fields in the first step – and to reveal personal preferences in addition to contact details and professional history? Probably not!

The solution is called progressive profiling

Our lives are becoming more and more digital. We use more and more channels on different devices and leave behind a multitude of data that allow us to draw conclusions about our identity and attitudes towards brands, products and services. With progressive profiling, you collect data on your customers step by step, thus ensuring a regular update and a clean database. You ask for “little bits of information” at different points in the customer journey, rather than asking lots of questions at once.

Let’s take an example: someone visits your website and wants to download an eBook. In the download form, ask for only the most necessary data at first. If this person visits your website again and fills out another form, you can see that it is the same person. Now, instead of asking for the data that has already been submitted, ask for a date that you do not yet know. So each new interaction with the person provides new data that you can use for your marketing campaigns.

Progressive profiling with marketing automation

You can gain even more data by using marketing automation for progressive profiling. Ask your customers at regular intervals for data that you still need. The marketing automation technology automatically recognises which data is still missing and sends e-mails asking for exactly this data. It is important that you tell your customers in each of these emails what added value they will get from giving you exactly this date. For example, in the fashion sector, ask for the size and argue that with this date you will only advertise offers in the future that are also in stock in the required size. Theoretically, you can also ask for more than one date. It is always important that the added value exceeds the effort to submit data. Instead of using a form, you can also ask a question in the email that is answered by clicking a button.

Indirect profiling

Instead of asking directly for the data you need, you can of course also obtain some data indirectly by tracking. For example, if you want to gain data about your customers’ interests, you can send them emails with content related to those interests. If they click on the content, you can assign a scoring value to the associated area of interest in the customer profile. With every further click, the value is increased and from a defined threshold value, you can almost certainly assume that the person is interested in the topic. With ELAINE Realtime Marketing Automation, you can easily link topic tags with links and assign scoring values to the tags, which are recorded in the profile when clicked.


Progressive profiling is an effective method for obtaining personal data from your customers. Initially (e.g. when registering for a shop or requesting a white paper), only ask for a few necessary data. After that, use every further interaction to ask for additional data and thus successively expand your database. With survey emails sent via Marketing Automation, you automate this process and independently create more and more new interaction opportunities.


This is a use case from our Whitepaper: Mobile omnichannel in digital dialogue marketing. With the help of 9 further exciting use cases, we will show you how you can expand and optimise your digital dialogue marketing with mobile channels.

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