Crafting a single customer view: Why do marketers struggle?

Let’s take a growing business, with growing customer touch points. Increased customer interaction leads to increased data capture across multiple, growing channels. Data storage systems seem to multiply overnight and all-of-a-sudden marketers are faced with data overload – disparate sources, a plethora of data types and ever increasing customer expectations; the perfect recipe for a data management nightmare.

So why do so many businesses struggle to achieve optimum customer insight? The simple answer is the absence of a Single Customer View (SCV). More often than not, the ingredients are all there – plentiful data, excellent internal resources and established relationships with profitable customers, but the organisation’s strategy is often product-led and their data assets aren’t customer aligned. Without a customer-driven data strategy, marketers can’t hope to be truly customer-centric.

More often than not, the acquisition of customers and associated data isn’t coupled with an updated data management strategy that deals with the increased data volumes, focuses on creating meaningful insights and addresses the inevitable overlaps. The problem is compounded by a lack of buy-in from key stakeholders, which leads to the SCV agenda not being a priority or worse still, not existing at all.

Instead, new data storage systems are introduced to plug the gap – which ironically increases gaps elsewhere. And as money is pumped into supporting these siloed systems, the distance between each customer database grows leading to further isolation of data around the business. And so it continues…

It’s not surprising that acquiring customers takes precedent over bringing systems together to create a single, holistic view of the customer. But if businesses can make the link between data growth and data utilisation they’ll be able to promote efficiencies within the organisation by saving time and money on IT, duplicate communications and uninformed financial decisions.

Businesses need to learn what drives their customers to buy. They need to recognise the results that an effective customer centric strategy will help them achieve and they need to learn that a Single Customer View is the recipe that brings all these ingredients together.

Five steps to developing your SCV and data strategy:

1. Understand your data sources and the data’s journey thereafter

2. Set-out the policies and procedures to ensure that data storage is managed effectively

3. Review your organisation’s data strategy, data quality assurance and optimisation – are you maximising the value of your data assets?

4. Are the necessary resources, including IT and staff expertise, in place to facilitate the SCV agenda?

5. Everyone on board? Nothing is more detrimental to a SCV initiative than key stakeholders resisting the change. Ensure all key influencers are privy to communications as soon as the SCV agenda is established.

Joel Curry is managing director of Experian Data Quality, previously known as Experian QAS. Joel joined Experian QAS in 1997 as a Sales Account Manager in the London-based operations. In 2000, he relocated to Boston to set-up the US sales operation where he successfully built the first sales team. Prior to Experian QAS, Joel Curry worked in sales at ATI Technologies. Joel earned a degree in Human Physiology from the University of Birmingham in Birmingham and a MBA from City University Business School in London.

  • Tom

    Thanks, good post!

    Just been reading a post on some of the technical challenges of building a single customer view which might be worth a look.