Increasing your customer intelligence leads to better marketing and business outcomes.
That may seem like a fairly obviously truth about modern marketing. But you’d be surprised how many brands today (still) neglect to prioritize first-party data collection and utilization.
Accumulating real-time information about prospects and customers from across data sources and storing those actionable insights in a single source of truth available to marketing and other business users is what enables truly efficient data analysis and liberation.
As CIO contributor Dwight Davis stated, this approach to customer-intelligence gathering and eventual utilization is how leading brands develop robust marketing strategies that aid their overall, company-wide 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.”
Beyond improving your tactical metrics — click-throughs, product page views, form submissions, etc. — your continually enhanced (and ideally centralized) customer intelligence also contributes to greater operational efficiencies for your team as well as other departments and stakeholders across the organization.
Customer service, product development, finance, merchandising: Many teams across the business can benefit from a single, unified view of customer data in their day-to-day too.
But to effectively and efficiently assemble, organize, analyze, and activate your customer intelligence, you need to address and improve your brand’s technological foundation.
How the right customer intelligence leads to better business decisions and results
Executives recognize the value of customer intelligence to their organizational success.
A 2019 IAB Winterberry Group study found spending on analytics, modeling, and segmentation technology reached $7.8 billion in 2019 — up 10% from 2018.
But according to 2020 Gartner research, just 54% of marketing-related decisions are being made by business leaders — including and especially CMOs — with customer analytics.
Gartner Sr. Director Analyst Lizzy Foo Kune highlighted modern marketing leaders’ mindset around analytics — and how proving said insights help their businesses grow:
“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.”
First-party data is clearly a powerful resource (and an increasingly important one) for brands.
But CMOs finally 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 the aforementioned customer analysis, modeling, and segmentation as well as cross-channel activation.
Similarly, they’re also figuring out stockpiling big data only deters their efforts to make sense of it and, in turn, better understand and engage with individuals and target segments.
In other words? Marketing leaders (finally) realize analytics is required to not only trace entire customer journeys (i.e., all interactions across touchpoints and channels), but also to improve their data liberation efforts.
But not every data point associated with prospects and customers is required to react in real time and ‘meet’ them in their journeys with the right (see: individualized) messaging.
As BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach wrote for Forbes, marketers, data scientists, and others who utilize customer data in their respective roles often experience “analysis paralysis” when too much big data is compiled in their database environment.
To maximize the full potential of your continually accrued customer intelligence, you need:
- 1) Modern processes and analytics technologies 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 not only help select the tech your company needs to unify, clean, structure, and utilize data, but also make sense of your data by analyzing customer insights and even helping attribute ROI from specific activities and channels.
Why improving your data management is a must to leverage customer intelligence
Regardless of the specific personnel who ‘owns’ your customer intelligence, it’s important to remember you can only use said insights to better know and interact with your customers by learning what exactly constitutes high-quality customer data today.
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 to use their data in your marketing program?
- 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 and your team will be 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, the other teams mentioned earlier can use the quality customer insights.
For instance, Retail Customer Experience contributor Joseph Brady notes retailers can use real-time customer intelligence to do things like improve their supply chains and forecast which products are likely to sell to certain segments and at certain times of the year.
Retail brand Planet Blue leverages real-time insights and intelligence unified in our customer data platform (CDP) for a relatively similar purpose: forecasting the customer lifetime value of shoppers based on their historical in-store and ecommerce purchase data.
In fact, the CDP is the tech retailers and brands in other industries continue to invest in to make their customer data available and actionable for all teams that need access.
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 all individuals in your database ecosystem. (Although attaining the once-elusive single customer view is now a must for your marketing team.)
You also need to be able to take real-time action on real-time insights (and from a single UI) by executing well-timed, highly intelligent, one-to-one marketing.
And the CDP is the tech that enables such engaging individualized marketing.
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 feature allows marketing pros who use our platform to “zoom” in on all their dynamically updated segments and view intricate details.
Marketers who leverage this feature can drive better outcomes by narrowing in on critical data points (or, as we call them, profile properties) associated with contacts, seeing their engagement and behavioral data, and delivering custom-tailored messaging.
More specifically, they can provide timely, individualized content and product recommendations via email, in targeted social media ads, or through on-site messaging.
A tactic that serves BlueConic customer Belgian Cycling Factory well:
The brand helps partner dealers target customers in regions (and boost traffic and sales) by implementing highly personalized experiences across marketing channels.
It’s these kind 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.
Watch our on-demand webinar to find out how you can capitalize on your customer intelligence and deliver more bespoke experiences with a CDP.