Data management platforms: How to bridge the online and offline gap

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Perfecting the customer journey is the goal of every marketer — delivering targeted, personalised and relevant offers to build loyalty and increase revenue.

Of course, many organisations view this customer journey as a pipe dream or a shining future goal. But the reality is that marketers are already able to connect with their customers, and even their prospects, through a variety of channels. How? By using a smart data management platform (DMP).

Marketers have access to a host of customer data, all from seemingly disparate sources. The challenge is to bring this data together and use it in a meaningful way to shape and deliver the customer journey. Simply put, a DMP can successfully orchestrate and integrate every marketing channel, from CRM to social media and mobile apps. It enables brands to connect every touchpoint of the customer journey.

As competition intensifies and customers become ever more discerning, brands need to create comprehensive customer journeys across the real and digital world. While these two areas may be disconnected, technology can be used to bridge the gap and enable marketers to improve overall customer experience.

DMP in the real world

So how does a DMP help marketers? Imagine an existing bank customer is looking for a credit card. She uses a price comparison website to research the best deals, specifically looking at 0% balance transfers and cashback for spending. Her bank recognises her as a customer and uses its DMP to synchronise all marketing channels, using the second-party data. The customer is added to a credit card upsell campaign within the DMP; this triggers an advert in her browser with an attractive and relevant offer. She clicks on it and is directed to a personalised page on the bank’s website, where the offer features all that she’s looking for. The customer makes the next step by calling the bank. The call centre agent uses the detailed notes in the customer’s account, provided by the DMP, to skip straight to the relevant questions.

The result? The customer gets the credit card she needs — one that offers no transfer charges, with maximum cashback. And, perhaps more importantly, the bank retains a customer by providing her with extra value and mitigates the risk of her switching to a competing bank.

The DMP effectively unifies the online transactions with offline moments, in real-time, by connecting and activating data across every channel and system.

Connecting channels

Looking at the specifics of a DMP, there are several ways in which each channel on the journey can be integrated.

  • Website – test and implement learnings from other connected channels. When in dialogue with offline CRM data, a trigger can instantly adapt homepage visuals to fit the products a customer interacts with via email;
  • Call centre – sync online behaviour with the interactive voice response (IVR) to harness the data from the frequent customer pattern of looking up an FAQ on the website;
  • POS – capture email addresses in store to supercharge customer conversations with location-based offers, invitations and special in app updates for loyalty card holders, along with relevant products for online upselling;
  • Email – email can be made relevant to real world decision-making, with endless opportunities for interaction, such as a personalised product banner based on their online behaviour;
  • Messenger – integrate messenger with other channels, online and offline, and let this function become a key service tool;
  • Partner data sources – second party data can be used to match customers across owned channels such as website and email too

The importance of getting the customer journey right is highlighted by four main drivers: the increase in connected devices (because of the Internet of Things), the increase in digital marketing spend and difficulty in tracking it, increased competition, and evolving customer demand. The latter means consumers are becoming more and more demanding, especially in terms of expecting a seamless, personalised experience across channels and devices. If they’re not kept happy, it’s easy enough to lose them to competitors who keep up. This makes the marketer’s job ever more challenging. However, using the right solutions, can help overcome both present and future barriers, through flexibility and agility.

You can read the full Whitepaper on connecting the physical and virtual marketing world with DMP here.

Anoma van Eeden is CMO at data management platform Relay42.

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