Moving from a single view to a customer marketing view
For years, marketers and data practitioners have sought to achieve a single customer view (SCV). In large part, SCV models are facilitated by sometimes complex customer data integration initiatives.
There is no doubt that linking the different elements of customer data is central to getting the best possible return for your investment, and likewise, brilliant customer insight can only become an asset to a business if analyzed intelligently and used in the right way.
The plethora of channels being used by businesses to interact with their customers, though, make these goals a challenge (and an expensive one). This challenge has sparked an interesting industry trend, with a shift from SCV models to marketing customer view (MCV) models, a system designed and built to meet the needs of marketing and sales. If this shift encourages more marketers to weave only the most pertinent data and insight into their campaigns, then it is to be welcomed.
In my view, however, too much focus remains on creating an all-singing, all-dancing technology, without enough thought on what its primary goal is to achieve. Technology is vital, but it is not a cure-all for marketing ailments, nor a substitute for smart marketing strategy.
All SCV or MCV models should include in-depth insight into the customer base, including a look at which customers are the most valuable or profitable, and what they want and how to engage them effectively.
Regardless of the model, the most important step all businesses need to take at the beginning of setting up a database is to assess what the objectives are and the expected outcomes from the project. Ask the following before you get started:
- Which clients are most profitable to the firm?
- What do they want?
- What do we want them to do?
- Are our communications effective?
It is also important to assign responsibility and ownership for the system by recognizing marketing as a key stakeholder for SCV, or the sole stakeholder in MCV. Highly complex systems might be handled by specialist data or IT departments, making it imperative to bridge the gap between the marketers and the data practitioners to realize the full value of the data.
It is no secret that marketing budgets have been under pressure. As such, every marketing department must focus their energy on the best data model to achieve greater value from their customer activity.Simon Lawrence is CEO of Information Arts. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.