Crossing the great divide to a single customer view

October 23, 2014 by Matt Tipperreiter

Marketers have to deal with a lot of data flying at them every day, and it’s easy to fall into the habit of sorting this data by device or channel. After all, data sources are often divided by channel, as are marketing campaign executions and even teams within the marketing department. It’s simple to stay in our silos … and after all, is it really so bad?

According to our report, Getting to a Single Customer View, it is. Customers don’t think in channels — they’ll attribute an email and a social media interaction to the same brand conversation — and they have come to expect a seamless experience across all channels. Beyond that challenging expectation, though, failing to link disparate data into a single customer view can lead to real impact on brand loyalty, revenue and return on investment (ROI).

There are two main costs of unlinked customer identities. The first seems obvious — the cost of dissatisfied customers. In Getting to a Single Customer View, I open with a story about a friend of mine who was targeted with a ‘$300 off’ coupon the week after he had purchased that exact product. As you can imagine, he was upset—why didn’t the company know that he had already made the purchase? And why was he not offered the discount prior to his purchase? In the end, he called the sales rep and was offered a refund on the discounted amount. The company was able to retain his loyalty, but at the cost of the $300 discount they would have otherwise saved, in addition to any residual loss of goodwill. And it’s unlikely that this just happened to my friend … how many other customers did this company lose by failing to maintain a single customer view?

The second cost to disparate customer data is an opportunity cost. Sure, many marketers have gotten away with maintaining separate data by channel while avoiding any major mistakes like the one described above. But imagine how much more effective, engaging and authentic campaigns could be if they had an understanding of each individual customer. Not only would they be able to avoid embarrassing mistakes, but they would be able to understand the exact channel preferences, and ultimately path-to-purchase, for each customer and create highly relevant experiences based on that insight. They’d be able to identify the customers that respond to deals, make strong product recommendations and stop over-discounting for the customers who would have purchased without a coupon. Finally, the ability to clearly understand each customer’s journey to purchase will allow for more accurate measurement and ROI reporting.

Overcome the costs of unlinked customer identitiesNinety-nine percent of companies believe achieving a single customer view is important to their business. Only 24 percent believe they have achieved it today. Download the report to learn how you can link your disparate customer data to increase loyalty, engagement and, ultimately, your bottom line.