Organizations are finding it easier than ever to collect and store customer data. Even so, having more data doesn’t automatically mean more business intelligence. In order to glean any form of relevant insight from your data it needs extracting, preparing and presenting in a way that is fit for purpose.
Shortening the ‘time-to-insight’ and seeing genuine value from this data has become a key challenge for businesses, although many organizations are not yet in the position where a sophisticated analytics tool (or expert) is in place to deliver it.
For many years, marketers have turned to others to handle their many channels and data points to create their reports: IT analysts, infrastructure suppliers, CRM vendors or other third party marketing analytics firms.
Even now, many cite lack of time or lack of expertise as their reason for not having a closer eye on their marketing analytics. Yet whether their data is prepared by an external agency or handled by an in-house expert from the IT department, problems with asking questions of your data and the speed of the response remain.
For example, asking the question “who are my best customers” shouldn’t take long to get an answer. However, this answer isn’t the end point – it should provide the springboard for a whole host of additional queries like purchase frequency, what products customers buy and what they might be likely to do next. It might even help reveal hidden insights you had not originally considered, as new questions are triggered and additional paths of investigation are opened.
Without direct access to their customer data, and someone else having control of the marketing database, marketers are essentially restricting how and when they can generate new insights. Your momentum is lost and your analytical journey comes to a halt as you wait for one question to be answered before moving onto the next.
With the right customer analysis tools, marketers can ask unlimited questions of their data without any delays interrupting their journey of queries – what we like to refer to as ‘train of thought analytics’.
This visualization of customer information, shown in a contextually relevant and easy to comprehend format, allows marketers to blend data with more creative thinking – perhaps from direct interaction with customers or first-hand experience in the field to shape questions they ask.
It’s often assumed that organizations need the expertise of a data scientist in order to unearth such results, but it is possible to segment and understand your customers in depth with self-service tools that integrate data from multiple channels using an accessible interface that it within the capabilities of marketer that may not have previously considered themselves as ‘technical’.
Implementing a Single Customer View is very desirable way to pull together fragmented data silos and improve the accuracy of your data, ensuring that you have a clean and consolidated base to draw your data from. Plugged into an analytics and marketing automation platform, you can dig into this data, develop actionable insight and turn it into relevant, personalized campaigns.
The ability to respond with strategic and tactical messages from a single platform where you can analyze and understand your customers means independence and empowerment for marketing departments. Taking control of your data might not be as daunting as you think.
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