Are you using data effectively to improve customer experience?

By Chris Williams, SEMA Sales Director, speaker at 2015 Marketing Summit

For many organisations, obtaining customer data isn’t an issue, they have an abundance of it. From transactional data to customer survey data and everything in between most companies have all the customer information they need to drive truly engaging marketing communication. Yet many of them aren’t. Why? Because they are drowning in data and not using it effectively.

A recent report published by Econsultancy in partnership with Ensighten entitled “The Customer Experience Optimization Report” offers up some interesting insights into how businesses are deciphering customer data to drive better engagement with their brand. The report looks in detail at how organisations are using data and technology to deliver highly personalised customer experiences and the opportunities and challenges involved.

The report is based on a global survey of almost 600 digital marketers and ecommerce experts. Here’s a summary of the report’s key findings:

  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents felt overwhelmed by the volume of incoming data.
  • The vast majority (96%) of companies declared customer experience optimisation as at least ‘important’, with more than two in five companies (41%) ranking it as ‘high priority’.
  • Only 3% of companies have a strong capability for utilising cross-channel or cross-device data for real-time online or mobile app personalisation.

Sound familiar? For the vast majority of marketers the answer is a resounding “yes”! So how do you address these challenges and start to effectively decipher and use the data available?

Less is more

There’s a misconception that the more data a company obtains the better. Data is valuable right? Well yes but only if it can be used intelligently. That’s why less data used well is far more powerful than a ton of data collected for the sake of simply having more customer data. The focus needs to be on collecting the right data to improve the customer experience.

Integration is crucial

It’s especially true for large organisations that customer data sits in disparate systems across business units with little or no integration. There is no single customer view driving the customer journey. According to the data, customers aren’t recognised as individuals but as duplicate consumers of products across a business. The integration of these separate pockets of customer information is the only way to achieve a true single customer view and drive highly personalised brand and customer engagement.

Think “customer” not “customers”

Aggregate data (or “big data”) will quantify customer engagement en masse but customers don’t interact with a brand as a group. They each have their own individual experiences, their own relationship with the brand. If brands want to improve the customer experience they need to improve a lot of individual experiences. Consider how does this one customer interact with your brand touch points? How does this individual actually experience the brand and how does it make them feel? Many brands claim to talk to their customers “one-on-one” but in reality very few are delivering on this. Utilising big data will provide insights on trends and help predict customer behaviours, it has its place and it is valuable. However, it’s the small data that is marketing gold and provides the true insights on individual customer behaviours.

Look at the bigger picture

Your customers don’t consume your products and services in isolation. They are part of their busy lives and likely experienced in conjunction with other similar products and services. In turn, customer data needs to be analysed as part of a bigger picture for the most valuable insights. Seek insights from a broader range of information available including competitor data and information on industry trends and combine this with customer data analysis.

Learn more about the Customer Experience Optimization Report

Article supplied by SEMA, sponsors of the 2015 Marketing Summit to be held Thursday 4 June at Rydges Southbank, Brisbane. For more information visit www.ami.org.au/2015summit. Click here to register.

The Australian Marketing Institute gratefully acknowledges the support of the 2015 Marketing Summit Sponsors

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