Data enrichment: How to know everything there is to know about your customers
By Jamshed Mughal, global head of strategy & services, Marigold
The key to delivering personalized messaging and benefits to customers, at scale, is through the collection of zero-party data.
But equally important is what you do after collecting it. Clean, organized and actionable data will pay dividends. Siloed, outdated, and forgotten data won’t. Given that consumers worldwide interact with brands through multiple channels — email, text, social, etc. — the need to create a single source of truth for customer data across platforms is more critical than ever.
According to our latest Marigold 2023 Consumer Trends Index (CTI), measuring consumer sentiment and expectations around brand marketing efforts, half of consumers report making a purchase directly as a result of an email, while 25% made a purchase directly from an SMS, and 50% browsed products while in store but bought elsewhere (like online).
Clearly, consumers don’t segment their research or purchasing activity by any one device or channel. So it makes sense that brands don’t pigeonhole customers in the same way. All data from all channels is important and valuable.
That’s where data enrichment comes in.
What is data enrichment and how does it work?
Simply stated, data enrichment is the process of adding data (specifically first-party and zero-party data) from multiple sources, to a single customer profile. Typically, this data is collected through progressive profiling, where data is collected in small increments during multiple interactions.
Data enrichment throughout the customer journey delivers outcomes that can generate more loyalty and business at the end of the day. It allows brands to create authentic, personalized experiences targeted to different customer segments based on their previous interactions. The way the same customer interacts on one channel can inform the experiences offered to them through another. It’s not just personalized. It's personalized with consistency.
What’s more, enriching cross-platform consumer data is an interim step towards investing in something much bigger. Consolidated customer data is the first step in determining what new experiences or messaging, or even products, brands can develop to engage and serve customers further.
But without it, brands will fall short of delivering the kind of personalized experiences customers demand. This is more important than ever, as according to the CTI, 86% of consumers favor messaging that provides a consistent experience, and 82% favor brand messaging that treats them like an individual.
This desire for personalization goes beyond the what, but also the how. Over half (53%) of customers prefer brands to communicate with them “only when necessary” which of course is different for each. That means brands need a communication strategy based on each customer’s individual purchase cycle and profile attributes gained across multiple touchpoints—online behavioral data, real-time customer signals across websites, apps, and owned properties, including in-store actions.
The data will tell you when it’s time to send a message, in which channel, and what the content should be. Listening is as important as talking when building relationships and driving favored outcomes.
What does personalization mean to consumers?
Customers expect you to know their name. That’s not personalization. That’s table stakes. Companies need to know what their customers want and proactively provide access to it through thoughtful, personalized communication. It’s developing a complete picture of the customer that shows you care about more than just their wallet, but their desires as well.
Done right, you’re not “marketing” to customers. You’re communicating with them as equal partners in a relationship. That’s relationship marketing.
Unfortunately, many companies are not prepared to meet these needs. More than half lack a single view of their customers. What’s more, 40% of the records they do keep contain inaccurate data. Combined with competing, overlapping, and redundant Martech creates operational inefficiencies that increase the complexity of production and increase time to value.
There’s a real risk there, as the Consumer Trends Index tells us that consumers are tired of tone-deaf brand communications. Nearly half (49%) report frustration after receiving irrelevant offers, with a third (32%) annoyed if messaging doesn’t recognize their shopping or loyalty history.
Consumers want you to listen to them, and they’ll give you their personal information if they think you’ll use it in ways that will ultimately benefit them. Listening in today’s landscape means listening to multiple channels, but retaining that information in one place. Once there, the data becomes more than just a spreadsheet full of numbers… it becomes a person.
With that single source of customer truth, brands can act intelligently and efficiently on the data they’ve collected to turn regular customers into loyalty brand advocates. After all, that’s what relationship marketing is all about — establishing lifetime relationships with customers through data, insights and thoughtful communication.