Customer relations is in many ways a central tenet of modern marketing, with the trust and relationships built between brand and consumer a key driver of spending and loyalty. Yet, whether your business is large or small, managing these customer relationships is a challenge and can be time consuming.
One approach that marketers have adopted to tackle this is customer view. Sometimes called single customer view, this approach is best defined as an aggregated representation of the data that an organisation knows about its customers. Aimed at providing a seamless experience for the customer, irrespective of how many platforms are used for interaction, a single customer view enables marketers to track interactions and communications across different channels. This also allows marketers to better organise their campaigns, particularly in bigger organisations where multiple teams often have different responsibilities and deal with different stages of the customer journey.
While there is no one approach to building a single customer view, there are a few important things to remember when starting out on your strategy.
A recent whitepaper by Econsultancy (and distributed by Marketing Week) has suggested that data has to be at the core of any customer view strategy. According to the whitepaper’s survey of 2,250 marketers, this can include both internal data and second- and third-party data, with the quality of data far more important than the quantity.
Perhaps the most useful section of the whitepaper is its ‘actionable tips’ section, which suggests that starting with a strong data strategy will work wonders for your customer view. It argues that:
‘your data strategy needs to address how it will be collected, stored, shared and managed over the short and medium term. Don’t neglect data management and measurement policies, as they define what is being measured, and how.’
Yet the whitepaper also emphasises the need to remember that amassing the largest amount of data possible is not the end goal. High-quality data is the key, with the whitepaper arguing that ‘first-party data is a largely untapped resource for most organisations, so always start with that.’ It also adds ‘it’s important to look beyond basic analysis as true insight lies in the models you build on top of your data, be that internal or external, and the ability to adjust these models based on performance.’
One of the key benefits of adopting single customer view is that customers receive much more personalised, streamlined treatment from the brands they interact with. Yet according to Marketing Land one of the biggest mistakes that marketers make when adopting a customer view strategy is to lose sight of this longer-term goal in favour of short-term wins and low-hanging fruit.
Marketing Land argues that while it is tempting to use promotions and incentives to boost take rates and customer acquisition, by tracking conversion over the year it is possible to see which initiatives transform new customers into loyal ones. It argues that:
‘it is intuitive that we should want a consistent view of consumers. On another level, we have to recognize that we must help members of the marketing team better understand their contribution to success. Fractional attribution that looks at the complete customer journey, and applying empirical analysis can help.’
By ensuring that your customer view is dedicated to better mapping the long term customer journey, it is possible to reap the longer-term rewards of your efforts.