Marketing to customers in the digital age requires reaching them on their “channel of choice” in the proper context at the proper time. To do this effectively, you need a holistic, accurate view of your customer. However, a study, conducted in 2015, found that a mere 6 percent of the marketers surveyed have achieved a panoramic, single customer view. Without an integrated, cross-channel view of your customers, you cannot plan campaigns that offer the degree of contextual, consistent and relevant personalization that customers are increasingly demanding.

You cannot compile a single customer view by taking fragmented tidbits of data from separate touch points and attempting to compile them into a complete picture. One purchase, one tweet and one email from the customer do not tell you what you need to know. What about all of the other touch points? Has the customer visited your Facebook page, shopped in your physical store or interacted with your in-store kiosk? Does your customer access your website from his desktop computer or his smartphone? Did he visit your website to read your blog or search for product specifications? How long did the customer remain on each website page, and how many times did he return? How many orders has he placed, how much did he spend on each order and how often did he place an order? These are the types of questions you need answered if you want to create a single customer view.

You will face challenges when you move toward a single customer view. Marketers have identified the three primary challenges as insufficient data quality, siloed teams, and problems linking all technologies used. Fortunately, each of these issues can be addressed; although, it is normally best to break them into small, manageable pieces that can be resolved independently instead of attempting to handle the entire challenge in one massive push.

Insufficient Data Quality

If your data is not reliable, your customer views will contain inaccuracies or be far from complete. If you want to achieve a true single customer view, you must first ensure that your data is of sufficient quality to provide you with the accurate information that you need.

  • Encourage a strategy that centralizes data management for your internal data. A centralized strategy is the only way that your organization can ensure that all of the source data collected internally is governed in a consistent manner and subjected to the same rules.
  • Invest in the best technology for your efforts. In the era of big data, managing databases manually is not a feasible solution for many organizations. However, numerous vendors have products that can leverage technology to manage your data. Not every product, though, is suitable for all organizations, so you will need to evaluate the tools individually to find the best fit for your specific needs.
  • If you do not have the time or experience to analyze your data, consider expanding your team. Skilled analysts and data scientists can help you mine more information from your data, empowering you to make better decisions for all of your marketing efforts.

Siloed Teams

There are many different ways to manage marketing teams. Unfortunately, many companies have siloed teams that rarely interact with other marketing teams within the organization. For example, marketing teams may be divided by channels, with one team managing the social sites, another team managing email campaigns, and a third managing the website. Each team executes its own campaigns and measures the performance for its own efforts alone. As a result, the individual teams might have a view of the customer that only encompasses its own efforts.

  • Break down the physical or mental barriers that keep your teams segregated. Establish composite teams, such as a team member with heavy experience with social media and another with expertise in mobile marketing campaigns.
  • Plan every campaign to span at least two channels. Help teams plan campaigns that will have consistency across all channels used.
  • Establish measurable, meaningful KPIs. Align KPIs for consistency so that all teams are pulling in the same direction.

Problems Linking All Technologies Used

The more channels you use, the greater the variety of the technologies used will become. Different channels require different technologies for communicating with your customers. Communicating with your customers based on touch points will not help you craft communications that recognize each customer’s uniqueness. 

  • Co-ordinate and centralize your communications so that you can centralize your data management.
  • Make sure that your teams and your KPIs are aligned so that you are measuring the same things.
  • Define what you expect from your technology, making sure that you separate “must-haves” from “nice-to-haves”, as you are unlikely to find one product that can fill every point on your wish list.
  • Engage a technology partner to help you choose the best technologies for your specific organization.

Panoramic customer views do not happen overnight. It will take time and effort to achieve a fully integrated view of your customer, but it can mean substantial rewards in the future making it well worth the journey.

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