Data - MarketingMost large businesses today collect massive amounts of data regarding the customer, yet many lack a clear view and understanding of the customer.

A large financial services organization might amass customer data in multiple systems associated with multiple lines of business - for example, mortgages, auto loans, checking and savings accounts, as well as brokerage accounts. Paired with a growing number of IT systems, this has led to a fragmented landscape where valuable data gets lost within inconsistent silos of applications, databases, and lines of business. Many marketing departments may not have an effective way to pull all the data together to form a single source of truth about the customer and his or her interactions with the organization.

In an increasingly customer-centric world, that can hurt both the brand and the bottom line.

In the absence of a 360-degree view of the customer, businesses can't deliver a consistent and engaging customer experience across channels such as Web, mobile, and in-store. Marketers can't segment customers into distinct audiences and provide them with precisely targeted messages. When messages aren't relevant, customers don't act on them, and the business loses opportunities to convert prospects into buyers.

An additional concern is that fragmented data leaves marketers without an effective way to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. That can lead to spending on initiatives that deliver little to no return on investment.

Responding to changing marketing conditions and new opportunities is extremely difficult when data is held in siloes. In part, that's because it takes substantial time and effort to manually build and connect data feeds.

We've seen businesses in a wide range of industries solve these problems, gain a 360-degree of customers, and begin gathering the insights needed for successful targeted marketing across channels. Here are some key steps toward a solution:

Develop a data strategy. A data strategy will help you determine the optimal use of data to power your marketing capabilities. In developing a strategy, you will want to identify data requirements by stakeholder, answering such questions as:

  • What data do we need to fuel our marketing capabilities?
  • What types of data or information needs to be managed at the enterprise level?
  • Who will own what data or data system?
  • What enterprise-wide service level metrics should we track?
  • What unique or key enterprise challenges do we face, and how can we mitigate against them?

Establishing a robust data strategy requires executive commitment and a mutual understanding that enterprise data is a strategic asset that must be managed and protected like other assets. When defining a data strategy, keep these three best practices in mind:

  • Define a Strategy that can be Executed
    • Break up strategic initiatives into manageable projects with measurable business benefit
    • Prioritize and place initial focus on 'quick win' initiatives with quick ROI (e.g. metadata management and data quality)
  • Design a Strategy that is Flexible and Meaningful to the Business
    • Build the necessary processes to handle a dynamic business environment and changing requirements
    • Understand major risk areas in each implementation increment and focus on foundation activities first to minimize risk
  • Keep the Business Engaged
    • Identify your stakeholders and create a socialization plan to communicate major milestones and collect their input & feedback
    • Communicate continuously on the planned approach and work closely with stakeholders to evangelize the value of enterprise data

Once you've established a strategy, you can develop a tactical plan to implement new capabilities based on your requirements.

Establish data governance. Establishing appropriate data governance is critical, particularly in organizations that handle sensitive customer data. Data governance deals with such questions as the origins, or lineage, of data; who can access data and what they can do with it; and how data is categorized or catalogued.

Effective data governance includes a defined set of processes for resolving data issues, a governing body of data stewards, and a tactical execution plan that follows business rules. In most enterprise organizations, governance is designed and managed by the business and the IT department executes the policies and procedures laid out by by the program. A good data governance program incorporates change management guidelines that foster user adoption and ensure long-term sustainability. Done right, it helps organizations to manage, use, improve, maintain, and protect organizational data assets.

Assess your current maturity and ability to execute the strategy. Implementing a data strategy and supporting governance framework requires the right set of tools, internal skills, and organizational change readiness. A maturity assessment will help you identify where you are and where you may need to implement foundational marketing technologies for capturing and sharing necessary customer experience data. Foundational pieces might include a data management platform, tag management system, and Web analytics platform. Several tools are foundational for enterprises to keep with the need to accelerate and automate data management tasks:

  • Data management platform (DMP): When used in combination with other tools, a data management platform will enable you to leverage your own data plus data that you buy or subscribe to in order to gain a more holistic view and understanding of customers. Itcan also help you segment customers into specific audiences so you can create relevant experiences.

  • Web analytics platform: This allows you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives so that you can optimize marketing spending and improve experiences at key points in the customer journey.
  • Tag management system: This puts data management in the hands of marketers, enabling them to capture data from the data management platform, Web analytics platform, and other technologies and then use the data when and where it is needed.

With a sound strategy, data governance, and the right technologies in place, you'll gain a consolidated view of the customer, and that can deliver improved experiences for your customers, better enable your marketing team's operations, and ultimately improve the bottom line.

Customers feel valued because their experience is targeted to their needs and preferences.

Marketers gain a clearer and more holistic understanding of customers and their experiences with the brand as well as the company's products and services.

The business can turn customers into advocates. The goal, after all, is not just to generate conversions, but to delight customers and inspire them to continue to convert over a lifetime. That translates to significant return on investment for both the short and long terms.

CapTech can help your marketing organization develop a holistic view of customers. We have extensive experience helping businesses in diverse industries develop data strategies, conduct maturity and capabilities assessments, establish data governance, select appropriate technologies, and implement them.

For more information, contact Nicholas Kerzman or Ethan Trifari or check out one of the case studies below.