Brands Take Charge of Their Customer Data – and Their Future

January 03, 2017

As businesses move away from “spray and pray” marketing tactics and toward immersive brand experiences, customer relationships have overtaken brand power as a company’s most important asset.

Where it was once enough that a brand have a strong identity in to order to engage consumers, today it is more important to know customers individually and tailor communications to them. Customer relationships — perhaps above all else — drive business revenue. Building and maintaining customer trust fosters brand loyalty, establishes a positive reputation and leads to increased sales.

The Key to Building Customer Relationships

However, to be in control of customer experiences, brands need to be in control of all their customer data. Every interaction with a brand generates a key to customer identity. If these keys are not portable between systems or if they are trapped within a vendor’s silo, marketers can’t connect disparate data sets and unlock true identity. Personalizing experiences, then, becomes a crapshoot.

Over 80% of marketers believe proprietary ownership of their campaign data is important or very important, and 95% feel the same about user-level data transparency. This is why marketers are increasingly taking back ownership of their data and looking outside of vendor-controlled identity solutions and closed media environments: Over one-third of marketers are actively seeking alternatives.

A Critical Company-Wide Asset

To keep full command of their customer data, brands must work with an open platform that allows them to use any partners, tools and technologies they wish. They must be able to continuously collect and integrate all of their customer information — from digital activity to offline behavioral and attribute data — into a centralized data asset that they own.

Only then will marketers get a true single view of each customer and their complete digital identity. Over 40% of North American marketers believe integration of their marketing technology will improve cross-channel identity resolution and nearly half think it will boost omnichannel marketing performance.

An integrated data asset encompasses more than a couple of channels. It unifies the entire buyer journey, so marketing can engage customers at critical moments, with just the right message, at any touchpoint: in a store, on the web, on an app, viewing a digital ad, reading an email or text, or interacting with a call center.  A deeper understanding of customers can even inspire new product offerings, inform internal systems and processes for better fulfillment, and make the case for marketing investments.

Take Your Brand to New Heights in the
New Year

By keeping control of its data, a brand keeps in control of its customer relationships and, ultimately, its destiny. Take these steps to help you build an identity asset that can benefit the entire enterprise.

1. Review vendor and platform strategy.

Make sure you can deliver on your cross-channel marketing goals. Work with open-platform vendors that give you ownership of your identity data and transparent control over its use.

2. Strive for continuous, immediate data processing.

Ask identity vendors if they can instantly process all customer signals and enable continuous customer recognition at all touchpoints.

3. Protect both quality and privacy.

Verify data sources and quality. Confirm adherence to all privacy and security requirements.

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Todd Schoenherr is VP of Product Strategy at Signal. Prior to Signal he was a VP at Guild Capital, a venture capital firm focused on media and technology companies. He also led product and marketing teams at Orbitz Worldwide and consulted for Fortune 500 clients at Accenture.Todd received a B.S. in Engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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