At a recent round table discussion on CRM and analytic marketing that Pinpoint participated in, a pain point surfaced on how difficult it is to gather all the necessary data pertaining to customer behavior in one place in order to do a good job of analysis, segmentation and determining the right next message or offer to communicate to each customer.
Contributors to the disparate data challenge include: multiple lines of business/brands, multiple transaction processing systems, customer data spread across multiple functions such as sales, loyalty programs and operations and multiple customer communication channels. But one of the contributors to dispersed data and also one of the key data inputs to customer behavior analysis and segmentation is the marketing history: what was communicated to each customer, at what time, on what channel and how did the customer respond.
It is common for the marketing history to become de-centralized as a result of decision logic and data collection being performed within the various customer communication systems for each channel. For example:
- Some email providers offer applications to build logic into a stream of email communications that place an initial universe of customers onto different paths depending on whether they opened or clicked on certain emails. When this is used, some marketing history is captured and may reside exclusively within the email channel
- Often ecommerce systems have a capability to present incentive offers to customers based on recent purchases, abandoned shopping carts or other behavior. Sometimes, visibility into these offers is limited to the website channel.
These channel-specific systems tend to grow in complexity and sophistication, and may include their own customer behavior metrics and models - their own customer database of sorts. Now you have a problem matching email addresses, site visitor/login ids and customer ids to get a single view of customer behavior across channels.
A good way to avoid this situation is to have a single hub system for marketing decisions, regardless of channel. Keep all the decision logic about who gets what offer and when within the central marketing system and keep that logic out of the channels. As customers respond to offers generated by the central system on various channels, link that response with the centrally generated offer and record that response in the central marketing system as soon as practical so future marketing decisions on all channels can utilize that information.
This type of data and systems architecture applied across all marketing channels will reduce the proliferation of data resident within customer communication channel systems and promote a single view of the customer.