Single customer view, 360-degree view of the customer, golden record – all of these terms and more have been bandied around marketing circles for over a decade and are no less a hot topic today.
In 2015 Experian surveyed a sample of 1,000 global marketers, the subsequent report that drew from their findings stated that 89% have challenges creating a single customer view. The top reasons? Poor data quality (39%), siloed departments (35%), and an inability to link different technologies (51%).
With knowledge, comes responsibility
Fast forward to 2021 and single customer view (SCV) remains an aspiration for many, with opinions varying greatly on whether we’ll ever get ‘there’. We see a very welcome trend shaping the conversation around SCV, which is the rising interest in data governance and good data stewardship. 72% of leaders are worried about data quality and security and an increasing number of leading analysts and research firms are voicing their concerns around this seemingly intangible pursuit, and are even questioning the ethics around the pursuit of SCV at all.
No doubt this has been bolstered by a heightened sensitivity from consumers around how their data is collected, managed, and processed. All of which can be tied back to emerging and often disruptive changes and regulations such as the current GDPR, recent Apple privacy changes for iOS15, and future changes such as Google’s total deprecation of third-party cookies which is planned for 2023.
Whilst the latter from Google has been known to us for a while, earlier this year Google confirmed that “once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web”.
But it’s not all bad news; far from it even.
Consumers are still willing to share data with brands they want to hear from, but brand-consumer relationships will arguably become more selective, and direct. You can look at third-party cookies as ‘the middle man’, an anonymous figure that had its place in the 2000s and 2010s but is increasingly being phased out.
The benefit to businesses is a more direct relationship with consumers and more control over the incoming and outgoing data streams. The benefit to consumers? Cost. In a digital world, this doesn’t always translate into monetary cost, it’s more intangible than that. The perceived cost of doing business with a company and sharing your data with them is lower when you are clear on who the data is going to and what it is going to be used for. Gen Z and Gen Alpha consumers are going to grow up in a first-party data world, and companies whose beginnings precede them need to keep up.
Start with why
To thrive in a first-party data world, brands will need to develop a clear strategy around customer data. Starting not with a data map of what data points they want, but rather with a vision of what the ideal customer experience looks like, and what data points they need to deliver on that vision. Marketers need to apply rigor in their day-to-day when requesting, collecting, and interrogating any data set, especially when all or parts of it can be traced back to individual consumers.
So when you’re next discussing single customer view, or even your data retention policy, start with ‘why?’ and you might be surprised where the conversation leads your thinking about your data strategy, and what it is you do or don’t need. Your customers will thank you, with their loyalty rather than a note, I might add.
3 good reasons to pursue a single customer view
1. You want to use first-party data to understand your customer and deliver better experiences
A single customer view should pull in demographic, behavioral, engagement, and transactional (i.e. sales) data. In the marketer’s world consent data is crucial too. Depending on the tool you use, you may have access to inferred persona profiles, which based on all the data points in your SCV will tell you whether you’re looking at a lead that is cooling down or a customer that is heating up.
By studying your SCV you may learn that your ‘champions’ typically spend $150 more than newly acquired customers. Or you may learn that it takes around 8 orders before you have a loyal customer on your hands.
All this and more will help you better understand customer behavior, and develop out marketing programs that are in tune with your customer’s wants and actions.
2. You want to check your integrations are set up correctly and identify whether your data enrichment strategy is effective
A good single customer view will not only impart knowledge based on what you do have, but it will also show up where your data collection practices are less-than-optimal and where you may require alternative tactics that will help you learn more about your customer. It can help you uncover that you are not effectively collecting demographic information about your customers with which you can send them dynamically tailored communications.
Lastly, it’s also a great way to sense-check that your integrations and tracking scripts are working as they should, giving you an activity timeline of purchases and products viewed.
3. You want to drive a customer-centric agenda across your organization, and need a springboard to kickstart the right conversations
The CMO Council reports that “only 14 percent of marketers say that customer-centricity is a hallmark of their companies, and only 11 percent believe their customers would agree with that characterization.”
If you form part of the 14% that believes customer-centricity is a hallmark of the business you work for, a single customer view can help drive confidence in the data you are using to make informed decisions about your marketing practices.
However, if you are among the 86% of marketers who don’t believe they work in customer-led organizations, a single customer view is still for you. By inviting teams into the SCV, you can show them how these insights will help drive better collaboration between your and their departments.
Whether they like it or not, Gen Z and Gen Alpha are set to make up a greater proportion of your customer base over time. These generations value dialogue and are touted to be communaholics. Inviting your support team into your SCV can provide tremendous value as they interact with customers via channels such as live chat, Messenger, and WhatsApp. They’ll be able to easily identify what order a customer is inquiring about, or what complementary products they have recently viewed.
Similarly, with sales and ecommerce departments, you can share learnings about the time it takes for a customer to convert, or the average time between sign-up and engagement, which will help inform their outreach programs, and a joint lead scoring strategy which then informs when opportunities should tip into their pipeline.
The new single customer view
There are clear correlations between a consumers’ sense of security, trust, and their propensity to engage with content and purchase products from a brand.
At Dotdigital we’re proud to champion responsible marketing practices, and practice what we preach too. So this year we decided to launch single customer view to all customers on our platform. Late to the party? Maybe. Yet 2021 has brought so many learnings around trust and data privacy that we have been armed with the right knowledge to create a single customer view that fosters responsible practices around data acquisition, collection, and application.
To understand what we mean by responsible marketing, check out our Rise of the Responsible Marketer report. And remember, Dotdigital is both ISO 27001, ISO 27701, and ISO 14001 certified, meaning you can rest assured you are developing out a single view of your customer in a platform that puts customers first and will benefit your business in the long run.
Plus, Dotdigital gives you all the tools you need to create and publish marketing preference centers, landing pages, and surveys, all of which can be used as part of a zero- or first-party data acquisition strategy. SCV in Dotdigital then shows you when exactly they submitted the form, what their marketing preferences are, and even what marketing program a contact is enrolled into.
“Dotdigital’s single customer view is neat, easy to view, and looks great. Having all the data in one place is truly beneficial to understand a customer journey – website visits, the path they have taken, time spent on the site, what category they have viewed and browsed. It’s also insightful to have details such as the RFM persona, segments, and programs that the customer is part of a single dashboard. A deep analysis of the buyers’ behavior, i.e. how each customer feels and interacts with our brand, is crucial and will further help tailor each interaction. We can’t wait to start using it.”
Craig Wheeler, Group VP of Digital and Omnichannel, Kanmo Group
Existing customers like Kanmo Group have access to SCV already. Not a Dotdigital customer? Book a personalized demo and ask one of our lovely team members to show you around SCV.