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The importance of customer data - Jewel Tan - Blog

The importance of customer data

The significance of the underlying data of our daily lives seems never more important than it is today. The rebranding of Facebook as a new entity called "Meta" seems to bear this out. In some sort of second-life like realm, we may well be represented beyond the simplicity of the online presence that we have today. The future is likely to be wholly immersive, and possibly quite possibly dystopian.

One can only imagine what the likes of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and HG Wells would make of it all. It's hard to imagine ten years ago what we have and leverage today in trying to maintain a digital relationship with our customers.

There's a call for us to unsubscribe from social media, grade our social media in terms of privacy and social responsibility and to uninstall Google Chrome and while this is all very well, the reality is that if you're on the buy-sell side of consumer data this is not a good situation at all. The battening down of hatches by Apple, Facebook and Google ecosystems ahead of the 3rd party cookie crumble  doesn't bode well for the future good understanding of the customer without marrying one's strategy to one or all three of these behemoths.

Interestingly, it also doesn't matter if you are selling to other businesses or Joe Public. All the data essential for companies to shape customized experiences and offering which you had hoped would set the stage for innovation have now been put in jeopardy as a result of privacy concerns. If the individual you want to promote your business or products to, doesn't buy into your holding and handling of their data then it will be a rocky road ahead.

Taking aim

The number one objective in the future, and even today, is going to be ensuring that the data assets that you have are in the best possible shape and that they are appropriately yours and suitably managed for optimized targeting.

With tightened marketing budgets, there will be the expectation that you should sweat the existing data assets more, and spend even less on advertising. A mentality of "make the most" of what you already have.

As a consequence, businesses are focusing all their energy on their data. Data that is harvested from existing activities, should be tweaked and adjusted and then reexamined to derive insights for the next round of activity.

There are many tools available to help with this, but at the core of it all lies the need to consider the mastery of the customer record itself. Whether that mastery is done inhouse, outsourced or crowdsourced shouldn't really be much of a concern. What should be of concern is how current that data is and whether it has enough attributes to be useful.

Returning to that constrained marketing budget, you only want to likely target people who are interested in what you have to offer, but how will you optimally do that?

Playing to an audience

Through the elaboration of personas it is possible for every business to understand their optimal customer both as a consumer, user and buyer of their goods or services. While this is typically a product and product marketing function it could also be a pure marketing focus depending on the nature of the business. Understanding what the Jobs to be Done are and understanding who the products and services are targeted at will help you in segmenting the people whose data you have and understanding feature form and function that aligns with their needs, expectations and pocket-book.

The most appropriate data in your systems of record will allow you to hone and refine your message and help to ensure that you are focused on exactly the right audience. It shouldn't be underestimated how many businesses waste precious marketing dollars on targeting people who have little interest in what they have on offer.

A brave new world

Huxley described how science and efficiency could neutralize emotions and individuality, where there are no lasting relationships. This is all exactly the opposite of what our businesses need. We want to use the science (of data) and leverage the most efficient ways to actually elicit emotion and target individualistic messages to form long lasting relationships.

Centralized master data management like that offered by SaaS and PaaS solutions like the Pretectum Customer MDM (C-MDM) suggest ways to gather data and new metrics to track B2C and even B2B relationships in a world of innovation around customer data. Technologies like these provide more ways to track and report key data to find a clear path to focus all business efforts on the right prospects and customers.

The main obstacle will be balancing customer privacy with the businesses need to know. Companies will need to avoid being intrusive and holding unconsented data. While a lot of this might be considered marketing issues, the reality is that everyone in the company is responsible for all the data . If you gather less data or show customers exactly what you contain in your systems as 'their' data then customers may decide to choose you for that transparency. The tradeoff may be that you have fewer records to work with, but only time will tell.

Where does your business stand on the right level of customer data to hold, and what is the quality of the data that you currently maintain and want to maintain?

My thanks to Uli Lokshin for his review of my piece and suggestions.

Publish Date: November 8, 2021 6:42 AM

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