How To Use The Right Data At The Right Time For Better Customer Relationships

Bernard Chung

According to an eMarketer study, most marketers have only rudimentary data about their customers. In fact, 80% don’t have much customer data beyond basic contact information and product purchases. This greatly limits the ability of organizations to know customers well; to predict purchase patterns, preferences, and potential lifetime value.

It’s not surprising that deeper customer insights bolster customer satisfaction and loyalty. The challenge is how to capture insightful customer data and integrate it into actionable strategies across an organization. Oftentimes, even the data that is captured is often siloed and inaccessible, leaving marketers without a consolidated view of customers.

Think of all the ways customers are “touched” within the typical marketing/sales/service processes. With all of these systems, it’s difficult to gain the complete and consistent insight that would enable organizations to deliver a unified message that reflects an understanding of where customers are on their journey. Innovative marketing technology enables real-time understanding of the latest transactions, messages, and communications and brings everything into one unified view. This allows all customer-facing aspects of an organization to consistently and seamlessly engage with customers across channels, devices, and departments.

Here are three ways to leverage the right data at the right time to enrich customer relationships.

1. Get creative about capturing deeper customer insights

In most cases, customers are very protective about sharing their personal information, unless they perceive a proportionate value in doing so. Finding ways to make the exchange of information worth it for the consumer takes creativity as well as insight into the customer.

The first step to capture deeper insights is to identify your customers at the point of interaction. If you don’t know who are interacting with, you can’t deliver individualized experiences and you won’t be able to properly attribute that interaction to the correct customer. Identifying ways to identify and capture insightful customer information in exchange for value is critical.

Asics running shoe company successfully solved the problem of collecting the right customer data by getting around the natural customer tendency to keep personal information and preferences private. They did this by offering a truly value-added Foot ID program. The program measured the customers’ feet and put them on a video treadmill to analyze their running pattern, enabling the company to make personalized shoe recommendations. Asics capitalized on the customer data, gaining insight through point-of-sale and website interactions to learn how, where, when, and how frequently customers made purchases. This enabled proactive communication about new products rather than generic outreach. In other words, Asics gathered invaluable customer information by offering a service.

2. Real-time analysis and response to opportunities

Once you ask the right questions and collect the right data, it’s only useful if it’s accessible and actionable across the organization. In today’s digital world, where people are generating mounds of data with every interaction, organizations need the ability to process large volumes of data very quickly. They also need the advanced analytics to interrogate the series of data to look for opportunities. The window of opportunity to identify and respond to customers is getting shorter; customers are just another click or finger tap away from your competitors.

In the case of the National Hockey League (NHL), bringing together various siloed systems (e-commerce, data, ticketing, Yahoo’s fantasy NHL site, and others) helped streamline data collecting and enabled deeper analytics across the organization. The NHL already had rich customer data (such as favorite team and player and preferred way of interacting with the fantasy league), but initially lacked the technology to turn this information into more sales. Until it brought customer information with the analytics under one system, it wasn’t utilizing the full potential of its customer data.

A new breed of marketing technology changed all that. Once data collection and analysis was coordinated and streamlined, the NHL could mine customer information to identify fan opportunities and react in real-time to create unique and deeply personal customer experiences. For example, a customer might receive an email about an upcoming game with related analysis and ticket offers. If they attended a game where their preferred team won, they could then receive real-time merchandise offers relating to their favorite team or player. Capitalizing on this post-win euphoria allowed the NHL to drive them toward merchandise opportunities (e.g., their favorite player on the winning team) while the fan was still in the sporting venue. The NHL’s ability to consolidate data in real-time gave them the tools they needed to act quickly to take advantage of sales opportunities.

3. Leverage advanced analytics to gain deeper customer insights

By leveraging new marketing technologies that incorporate data-management capabilities, customer behavior insights and preferences management can be utilized to develop customer strategies. But it’s not enough to capture and then consolidate data. You also have to leverage the right analytics tools that enable machine learning, predictive analytics, and visualization capabilities to be more accurate in targeting and delivering enriching customer experiences. Otherwise, all the data in the world will lend zero intelligence to the marketing endeavor.

SAP Hybris offers the leading marketing technology solutions that integrate, streamline, deliver, and analyze data to give your marketing organization a deeper understanding of the customer so that you can finally say goodbye to silos, data reports that go nowhere, and high customer turnover. Are you providing the individually tailored experiences customers are asking for? Try our free Personalization Benchmarking Tool here!


Bernard Chung

About Bernard Chung

Bernard Chung is Head of Audience Marketing for Marketing Line of Business at SAP Hybris.