How to Make Your Tech Integration Work (and why customer data is so important)

Marketing Innovation

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How to Make Your Tech Integration Work (and why customer data is so important)

Marketing Innovation

Recently, I was reading a piece titled, “8 ways to make the most out of your customer data,” and couldn’t help but agree with many of the suggestions that were outlined, such as:

  • Create a more personalized, pleasurable shopping experience (yes, please)
  • Use customer data to customize promotions and special offers (yup)
  • Use customer data to improve your marketing (ding, ding, ding!)

As a marketer, what struck me the most was this last tactic, and although the checklist to improve marketing for more seamless customer experiences varies from brand to brand, it’s something most of us are trying to achieve. Integrated experiences make happier customers, and as we all know, happy customers spend more freely; but according to an Infosys study, seventy percent of retailers have at least one factor preventing them from creating a more integrated customer experience. There’s no denying we live in an extremely fragmented technology ecosystem that sometimes hinders us from creating the enjoyable experience we know our customers deserve.

Here’s why integrating your customer data matters:

Let’s unpack this. As marketers, “technology” most often refers to the marketing and advertising platforms used to create campaigns, but a majority of these technologies don’t connect with each other. So the results from your display ad campaign remain separate from the tracking for your social campaigns, and so on. Not only do you have to connect the data sets, choosing the right data about your visitors and customers is also part of the data integration hurdle.

So how do you make your tech integration work?

  • Integrate your first-party data. It’s time to get creative with the mess of data you have to work with. Breaking down your first-party data silos takes time and an intense amount of collaboration between a lot of different teams (think CS, sales, marketing, and IT, just to start). As you work with internal stakeholders to move the organization toward unified data access for the long term, you can also look for help from third parties to quicken the process. Some LiveRamp customers have adopted data onboarding to serve as a way to bring all of this data in one place in the short term. One customer we recently spoke to is actually using data onboarding to deduplicate and tie together five or six of their own customer data sets (e-Commerce, POS, calling center, loyalty card, and membership), then match it to anonymized online identifiers.
  • Segment. Take your unified customer data and create smarter segments for better targeting. Think of it this way: you will not only be able to target all the consumers that haven’t purchased from you in the last six months, you’ll be able to customize the message to, for example, twenty-five-to-thirty-five-year-old women who live on the east coast and purchased red shoes from one of your partners (using any of your advertising platforms). This isn’t just a concept, marketers are actually doing it and seeing jumps in sales lift and new customer sales.
  • Join. Connect purchase data from your CRM and offline sales systems to your online campaign data from your marketing platforms to create seamless messages and a better customer experience. So now, not only are you creating more relevant campaigns, you aren’t advertising your hottest new product or service to a customer who already made that exact purchase. Think ad suppression in the most sophisticated manner.
  • Optimize. Analyze and measure the success of these campaigns to learn what is working, then provide those learnings across teams and for future acquisition and cross-channel campaigns.

If you’re like most of us in marketing today, you’re hungry to make your customer data work for you. But actually turning that into reality? Now that’s something to sink your teeth into (or you could keep complaining about your data fragmentation problems — like we did here).