Increasing your customer intelligence leads to better business outcomes.
That may seem like a fairly obviously truth. And yet, many companies don’t collect customer intelligence (a.k.a. first-party data). Nor do they leverage it as they should.
Simply put, gathering and analyzing this data leads to actionable insights.
These insights (based on customer behavior, engagement, and interests) inform real-time data utilization — and leads to greater customer loyalty and revenue for businesses.
As CIO contributor Dwight Davis stated, customer intelligence helps brands develop robust marketing strategies. Ones that aid their digital (and data) transformation efforts:
- “Without data-driven insights, digital transformation initiatives are flying blind. By contrast, organizations that make good use of data can achieve a range of benefits.”
This data improves your tactical metrics. But your customer intelligence also contributes to greater operational efficiencies for marketers. (Not to mention other internal stakeholders.)
To effectively and efficiently assemble, organize, analyze, and activate your customer intelligence, though, you need to address and improve your brand’s tech foundation.
How the right customer intelligence leads to better business decisions and results
Executives recognize the value of customer intelligence to their success today.
A 2019 IAB Winterberry Group study found spending on analytics, modeling, and segmentation technology reached $7.8 billion in 2019. That’s up 10% from 2018.
But 2020 Gartner research found just 54% of marketing-related decisions are being made by business leaders with customer analytics. In short, that’s a waste of valuable data.
“Though CMOs understand the importance of applying analytics throughout the marketing organization, many struggle to quantify the relationship between insights gathered and their company’s bottom line,” Gartner Sr. Director Analyst Lizzy Foo Kune noted.
First-party data is clearly a powerful business resource. (And an increasingly vital one.)
But many executives and tech decision-makers now realize it’s only valuable to their teams when it’s accessible and actionable. And, ideally, in a single solution with a single user interface that enables efficient analysis, modeling, segmentation and activation.
Similarly, they’re also figuring out stockpiling big data only deters their efforts to make sense of it and, in turn, better understand individuals and improve customer communications.
In other words? Marketing and analytics leaders (finally) realize first-party data is required to not only trace entire customer journeys, but also to improve their data liberation efforts.
Understanding which customer data to use across growth-focused teams
But not every customer data point is required to ‘meet’ them in their journeys.
Market research. Feedback surveys. Chatbot engagement. These can help teams in certain instances. But the average tech user doesn’t need this info to succeed today.
As BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach wrote for Forbes, growth teams that leverage data often experience “analysis paralysis” when they’re forced to sort through big-data sets.
So, how can you maximize the full potential of your customer data? Well, you’ll need:
- 1) Modern processes and analytics tech in place to ensure only the most relevant, timely data is made available to marketing and other teams that require access
- 2) The right people to regularly analyze and otherwise use your customer data
The constantly evolving marketing operations role is growing increasingly popular, CMO advisor and strategist Elizabeth Shaw recently shared with us, citing a recent Gartner report.
Such an individual could help select the tech your company needs to unify, clean, structure, and utilize data. But they can also make sense of your data by analyzing insights.
Why improving your data management is a must to leverage customer intelligence
Regardless of who ‘owns’ your customer intel, it’s vital to remember you can only use it to better know and engage with your customers by knowing what constitutes high-quality data.
Put another way? You need a well-defined and -maintained customer data management approach. And there are certain traits of successful data management strategies:
- Accessibility: Do you have a central system in which you can unify all data and access it with ease? Can others in your company access the data they need?
- Volume: What qualifies as ‘enough’ data for a particular individual? Which data points do you and your team deem unnecessary to store in customer profiles?
- Speed: How quickly can your data sync with activation systems (e.g., campaign management tools) and analysis platforms (e.g., business intelligence reporting)?
- Accuracy: Are the data points you do gather for individuals all correct? Can you capably resolve all contacts’ customer identities with your existing technology?
- Freshness: Is the first-party data you collect for individuals recent? Are there protocols and/or technologies in place to ensure customer data’s freshness?
- Consent: Will you be able to deliver worthwhile value to your audience in exchange for earning their consent? Do customers feel you respect their data?
- Privacy: Does your use of opted-in individuals’ first-party data comply with well-known consumer data regulatory measures — notably GDPR and the CCPA?
Check all these boxes, and you’re set up to properly (and easily) employ your customer intelligence as needed. From building and deploying predictive machine learning models to developing and analyzing multi-dimensional segments.
Moreover, all growth-focused teams can use the quality customer insights.
For instance, Retail Customer Experience contributor Joseph Brady notes retailers can use real-time customer intelligence to improve their supply chains and forecast which products are likely to sell to certain segments and at certain times of the year.
And the CDP is the tech many retailers (and other brands) use to democratize data.
What technology to invest in to make the most of your customer intelligence
To improve customer interactions, you don’t just need to know as much as possible about your contacts. (Although building a single customer view is now a must for your business.)
You also need to be able to take real-time action on real-time insights by executing well-timed, highly intelligent, one-to-one marketing. This is where a pure-play CDP can help.
There are dedicated ‘customer intelligence platforms’ on the market. But their functionality is limited compared to CDPs like BlueConic, which are purposefully architected to:
- 1) Create a persistent customer record in a central database that can handle the velocity, volume, and variety of data associated with and created by the customer
- 2) Make that privacy-compliant, seamlessly integrated profile data available to the everyone within the business in a format they can use to carry out their work
- 3) Enable marketing to liberate data across channels by orchestrating bespoke experiences that benefit both customers and the business in every lifecycle stage
Our pure-play CDP offers marketers rich customer intelligence in various forms — insights that help them connect with their customer base at the most pertinent places and times:
- For example, our Segment Discovery Insight allows those who use our CDP to “zoom” in on dynamic segments and view intricate details (e.g., total spend, lifetime value).
- Tech users who leverage this feature can drive better business outcomes by delivering custom-tailored messaging based on the latest intelligence they have for customers.
- More specifically, they can provide timely, individualized content and product recommendations via email, in targeted social media ads, or through on-site messaging.
This is an approach (and CDP feature) that serves BlueConic customer Belgian Cycling Factory well: The company helps partner dealers target customers in regions (and boost traffic and sales) by implementing highly personalized experiences across channels.
It’s these kinds of analysis and data-activation capabilities that help those who use BlueConic improve customer satisfaction and cultivate more fruitful, long-term customer relationships.
And the CDP has proven time and again for brands it’s the premier business tool to help them plan their marketing around — and profit from — their wealth of customer intelligence.
Download Forrester’s 2020 Now Tech: Customer Analytics Technologies report to discover the top customer analytics vendors on the market today — including BlueConic.