In this day and age of convergence and so much data flowing in from all quarters, no matter what industry you're in, all customers want to feel like they are the centre of your business. These days, customers are becoming ever so demanding, wanting things "now", and wanting companies to understand them and their motivations.
For that feeling to resonate through your consumer, you must not only know as much about each of your consumers as possible but also actively use that information in your business.
Information Overdose, Data Duplication...
This happens primarily because companies hold customer data in various places, for different purposes. Even if you're using a single system, the day-to-day data processing within many businesses leads to capturing new records by different people at different stages of the consumer journey and the consumers' interaction with the brand.
The risk here is - with every new piece of data added, chances of incorrect data being added increases. All of this leads to companies getting a blurred reality of customers. This also results in a waste of marketing spends as you may be spending the marketing monies on people you perceive as your best consumers, but frequent messaging targeted at the incorrect audience - say, those who have already bought into your messaging - is a real challenge.
A 'Single Customer View' effectively eliminates all those issues, thereby putting all your customer data in one place - like a unique customer record.
How is a 'Single Customer View' created?
Achieving a Single Customer View requires the bringing together of all the interactions a consumer has with your brand, usually by matching name, address and date of birth, and applying a unique customer number to each profile.
This identifier is then appended to every item of data relating to that customer, allowing all data on the individual to be matched and brought together to create a single view or record of that customer.
Consumer data never remains static and is ever changing. However, the one constant will be this unique number; new and updated data will be attributed to that customer's profile as it is gathered.
Additional layers of data and lifestyle segmentation can be applied to this data. This will help build deeper insights into the consumer's lifestyle, behaviour and preferences.
What will a 'Single Customer View' enable marketers to do?
A Single view gives you greater insight into your consumers, and helps you get to know them better. It empowers marketers to market more efficiently and effectively, but most of all, it enables brands to provide more and more useful, relevant and enjoyable experiences for their customers.
With a Single Customer View, brands are able to understand a customer's past behavior, past purchase, interaction preferences, history and even their likelihood to buy new products and services. This also becomes a key enabler for cross channel marketing strategies. This is important as fully integrated cross channel marketing provides a seamless experience to consumers.
This also means that consistency and relevance is maintained and experienced by the consumer, no matter what channel she chooses to interact with the brand through.
Data is key to achieving the Single Customer View and it can only happen if all data and information about all customers is integrated and stored on the customer database.
Post that, all efforts by brands and marketing heads should be targeted at getting a genuine understanding of the consumer's history with the brand, their motivations, their habits and their propensity to buy more/information about issues that may prevent them from experiencing the brand.
As a marketer, you want to be able to communicate consistently with your consumers and understand them. It's about time you created a Single Customer View. While the task of organising large amounts of data is daunting, especially in India, it's important not to be overawed. Break it into smaller, more manageable steps.
(The author is vice president, Isobar India, a digital agency that's part of Dentsu Aegis Network)