The Secret to Marketing Transformation Is a Unified Customer View

Siloed data sabotages your marketing and personalization efforts

With Covid-19 continuing to disrupt business for the foreseeable future, marketers are constantly looking for ways to optimize their efforts to drive revenue. But if you’re like most marketers—83%, according to our survey—your customer data lives in disparate silos, with data from different channels and systems stored in their own repositories and managed by isolated departments.

Unfortunately, this common setup keeps you from using your data to make truly informed decisions and understand the revenue impact of marketing campaigns. When customer data is locked into your ecommerce platform, your CRM, your customer support systems and other platforms, it’s nearly impossible to do anything meaningful with it. And without a comprehensive, big-picture view, decisions that you make based on these different pieces of standalone data will be less-than-optimal, thwarting your customer personalization efforts.

The result of all of this? When your data and decisions suffer, so do your brand and your bottom line. The old edict of “it takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one” rings especially true these days. The Northridge Group’s State of Customer Service Experience 2019 report found that 72% of consumers are likely to switch brands after a single bad customer experience, and, more concerning, 86% will share information about their bad experience with others.

Clearly, the stakes couldn’t be higher. If your business wants to continue to survive and thrive, you must be able to make decisions based on comprehensive customer data.

Achieve a unified customer view

So, what’s the solution? You need to invest in a single system that unifies all your customer data so that teams across your organization, from marketing to sales to customer service, can access, understand and take action on it. With a complete customer profile, your business will be able to draw informed conclusions, develop data-based insights, appropriately segment your audiences and personalize your efforts in a way that truly resonates with customers on an individual level.

How do you make this happen? Marketers are going beyond legacy ways of unifying and activating data, as none of them give the marketer what they need to drive a customer-centric business. Unlike the other options, such as CRMs, marketing service providers, or data management platforms, customer data platforms (CDPs) allow you to gather data from any online or offline data source. This gives marketers real-time self-service access to a single view of the customer so they can more effectively segment and personalize their efforts. CDPs go far beyond similar types of solutions when it comes to delivering advanced functionality and multiple benefits.

What to look for in a CDP

Just like other platforms, not all CDP solutions are created alike. When evaluating your CDP choices, insist on an open solution that connects to your other mar-tech systems and provides the following functionality:

  • Data collection and aggregation: The CDP uses real-time connections and open APIs to gather data from all available sources into a single data store. These may include your customer-facing systems, transaction data from order management and point-of-sale systems, and customer engagement data from your websites, email or call centers.
  • Customer data unification and identity resolution: With all data aggregated, the CDP cleanses, dedupes and enriches it to create a single, complete profile of each customer.
  • Customer segmentation: The CDP offers machine learning to allow marketers to segment customers to the individual level based on a variety of criteria, including pages visited, purchases, channels used, spending level, estimated future value and more.
  • Analytics and actionable insights: To deliver actionable insights and drive 1:1 customer engagement, the CDP delivers predictive, persona-based and personalization-driven recommendations.

To survive in a post-Covid world, marketers need to be more focused on customer retention, loyalty and lifetime value. Making this shift to revenue marketing will require data to be unlocked from silos and activated. Marketers will need a CDP with a true, open approach to consolidating data and creating a comprehensive view of their customers. 2021 will be the year marketers realize the value of a CDP in making informed decisions to optimize customer experience and drive revenue.

As Acquia’s CMO, Lynne Capozzi oversees all global marketing functions including digital marketing, demand generation, operations, regional and field marketing, customer and partner marketing, events, vertical strategy, analyst relations, content and corporate communications.