Achieving single customer view still a big ask for marketers

November 4, 2016

We’ve been talking about single customer view (SCV) for a good couple of years now. However, for most marketers, it’s still a huge ask to be able to bring all the right data together in order to communicate with customers as individuals.

New research from Econsultancy shows that customer recognition – making your marketing more effective by delivering unparalleled, knowledge-based matching across all channels and devices – is considered to be ‘very important to growth’ for three-quarters of executives. Yet, only a small percentage (14%) can boast a strong capability in this area.

It was the same story for all aspects that make a successful personalisation strategy: ‘understanding customer behaviour over time’, ‘tailoring messaging by channel’ and ‘associating conversion events with marketing’ are all considered to be crucial to growth, but few marketers feel confident in their ability to achieve them.

SCV confusion

SCV is the epitome of customer recognition, as it means “tying together a set of data sources that truly offer a complete picture of a customer, past and present,” as Econsultancy defines it.

However, marketers are still struggling to get to grips with what it is to attain an SCV it seems; 40% of respondents suggested that their organisations took advantage of it despite the fact that only 12% have tied together the data sources required for a true SCV.

This confusion over what constitutes an SCV obstructs brands’ “progress in information gathering, data strategy and customer experience,” Econsultancy argues. For example, only half of the respondents who believe they have integrated offline data sources can tie offline sales back to online marketing programs.

There is clear scope for improvement, even for those organisations who believe they are on the right track with SCV, but they might be ignorant to the areas that need upgrading, due to having a warped view of what it actually means.

Technology not living up to expectations

Another barrier to achieving a true SCV is technology – ironic given that technology is the very thing that should open the doors to collecting and consolidating customer data from a number of different touch-points in one place. However, nearly 60% of the 220 or so of the companies quizzed in the study said that the reality of their technologies does not align to the promises they were sold.

In terms of personalisation, in particular, only one in ten (13%) respondents reported high satisfaction with data management vendors’ ability to tailor messaging to particular channels.

With that, the Customer Recognition Report offered up some recommendations, including:

  • Conduct a true capability audit – helping executives assess company strengths and weaknesses, assisting senior leaders in defining the company’s personalisation strategy, supporting midlevel managers in executing the strategy, and enabling frontline leaders to make things happen.
  • Become aware of the threat to evolving measurement practices and the importance of reducing data-friction with customers, as well as the guidelines for getting you there.
  • Have your eyes opened to the increasing discrepancy between customer behaviour and media allocation.

Good advice, but it’s fair to say that a considerable amount of know-how is required to make it happen. Oh, and some reliable technology, to boot.

Dan Vivian - Business Development & Marketing Director