With 2012 approaching, there is a single, inescapable trend that we are seeing, no matter the marketing channel: big data. It’s easy to get caught up in the avalanche of hyperbole, and of course, your own never-ending data problems. Every marketer is accumulating customer data every minute — whether from the Internet, from direct response, in sales conversations in CRM, or through ongoing service history. That’s big data. If you are not leveraging it, then it’s a lost buying opportunity.
It’s no wonder that marketers are continually trying to transform their data into customer intelligence. It all starts with the very simple marketing questions you ask yourself over and over again. What kind of customer responded to the campaign? Do they fit the basic profile of your existing customers? Aren’t the answers to those questions the beginning stages of segmenting, profiling, and interacting with customers the way they want to buy from you?
Once you begin to see a correlation between customer intelligence and results, a key decision at this early stage is to treat customer intelligence as a continuum within your multichannel marketing strategy. Most organizations at this stage seek to map their content to the channel, but they do so in isolation without customer intelligence. Instead, ask questions about the attributes of your customers, factor that knowledge into your content creation process and campaigns, test what you have learned and measure the results.
Now you have got to decide if your marketing database has the horsepower to drive the data flowing into it, and make the data actionable to an entirely new level of sophisticated customer intelligence. Many organizations assume that their new marketing automation system provides them with that technological benefit. However, the limitation is self-evident and binds the outbound marketing channel to “batch and blast,” while limiting the use of customer interaction and purchase history from the rest of your channels. I intentionally did not mention Twitter ID or LinkedIn profile because most systems have difficulty leveraging this data.
What’s truly needed to leverage customer intelligence is a marketing data mart that is able to manage interaction history from a myriad of online and offline sources; provide complex segmentation and profiling data; and use customer intelligence to drive multi-touch, trigger-based campaigns to the right buyers at the right time and in the right places.
As a result, with a marketing data mart acting as the core of their customer intelligence system, marketers have the opportunity take a deeper, holistic view of the customer, spanning segmentation, profiling, penetration and behavior.