The need for customer data: Everything You Need to Know

Everything You Need to Know About Data & Customer Experience, in partnership with Acxiom, is designed to help marketers quickly get up to speed with one of the most important issues in today’s marketing industry. The series of videos lets you find out everything you need to know about each crucial subject in one short film – something you can watch in the back of a taxi on the way to your next crucial meeting on the subject. That’s why each episode is filmed in the back of a London black cab.

To launch the series, we present the top 10 reasons why you need to know about data and the customer experience today.

1. Customer experience (CX) is perhaps a marketer’s biggest priority today – though the sheer scope, complexity and holistic nature of CX make it hard to always execute effectively. It’s why data can make the difference. Jed Mole, Acxiom’s European marketing director, says: “The scope of CX can be confusing for us all. It is holistic in nature and encompasses facets from the product itself to store design, people skills and training. In such a universe, a brand’s data can and should play a pivotal part; in truth, data is now at the heart of everything we do.”

2. The amount of data produced each day is now in almost unimaginable quantities. This comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records and mobile phone GPS signals to name a few.

3. Data is the number one factor that will make or break a brand’s ability to deliver a great customer experience. Yet, only 15% of European brands think that they are over half way through their journey to digital maturity. As Pete Edwards, chief strategy officer at Engine UK, says, consumers today are moving faster than clients and are much more demanding of the relationship they have with brands. “Consequently, clients are trying to play catchup,” he suggests. “They are trying to provide experiences. They want to give better personal experiences, and the fuel that empowers those personal relationships must be data.”

4. Data is the bridge that allows brands to create a wonderful customer experience. Some are better placed than others just because they have access to the right data, and some are struggling their way through it. Rob Bassett, head of UK and EU multinational advertising at eBay, believes that only now is the industry waking up to the important role data has to play. “Not only does data provide marketers with valuable insights into the performance of campaigns – enabling informed decisions around providing an optimal experience – but it’s also a huge help when it comes to understanding audiences,” he says.

5. Siloed data creates a roadblock to relevant marketing, says Mole. Edwards agrees: “It is frustrating when you see data sets that should be joined up, but aren’t. Clients know they need to, but don’t necessarily know how.”

6. Brands which fail to connect the different data sources at their disposal - anything from electronic point of sale data to social media and everything in between – will have an incomplete understanding of their customers and target audience. “Stitching together data requires time, resources and effort, and some companies are doing OK at releasing the maximum value of data by breaking down silos and overcoming the legacy structures they had in place,” says Edwards. “But crucially, first and foremost you have to think from the customer perspective. A customer who experiences a brand doesn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m online so I must be speaking to the e-commerce team, or I’m on social media so I’m communicating with the social community management team’.” Brands must try wherever possible to structure themselves in a way that best reflects their customer, and customers form opinions in a holistic way.

7. Privacy is a fast-evolving and increasingly important aspect of data-driven marketing. Mole says: “You cannot simply bolt on privacy – marketers need to embrace the concept of ‘privacy by design’, building it into their organisations and everything they do. It is not just about obeying the letter of the law, but the spirit too. It’s something we simply have to get right.” Bassett agrees, saying: “At eBay our shoppers always come first; we operate with a philosophy of respectfulness and recognise that having access to their data is a privilege rather than a right.”

8. Brands need to take customers on a trust and permissions journey. “You’re under pressure from two directions to achieve this,” says Karmarama partner Mark Rumacus. “a new, tighter regulatory environment, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and a very savvy consumer. Demonstrate how you’ll deliver a superior customer experience with their data, and you’re heading in the right direction.”

9. De-identification is the process of turning data into a form which does not reveal individual identities but allows insights to be connected to the individual, delivering far greater marketing relevance.

10. Building a CX strategy built on data is crucial for any brand. By getting the fundamentals right, data can make marketing more relevant and ultimately drive a better customer experience.

The EYNTK - About Data and Customer Experience video series has now launched – the first video can now be viewed above.

More information can be found in the EYNTK hub.

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