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How to Make Customer Data Actionable


How to Make Customer Data Actionable

Technology has produced more educated consumers. It is easy for potential customer to learn about your company and your competitors from the comfort of their laptop, tablet, or smartphone. These online experiences are avenues of open communication in which the company learns about the customer’s preferences and buying habits, while the customer has an opportunity to provide positive and negative feedback to the company on the purchasing experience. Social media plays a role in expanding a customer’s ability to tell of their experience with a company.

Collecting customer data is an important aspect of marketing in the 21st century; however, it is not enough to collect the data. CMOs and CIOs must focus on developing a plan to analyze the data to gain actionable insight. To make data actionable, it is important to understand why it is necessary to capture and use the data to begin with. Big data is important, and there are many data sources available at any time. But actionable data is not based on volume or just about the technology. It is about how the data is acquired, analyzed, interpreted, and improved upon that determined how it can be useful.

Gathering this big data is, of course, the first step in a strategic campaign, but turning the data into marketable data is where the value lies. How does Big Data become smart and useable data? What are the approaches that will ensure an approach to data is led by a strategic end-goal or future insight?

According to Professor Neil Woodcock and Nick Broomfield, chairman and director of customer management consultancy The Customer Framework respectively, the core values are ingrained in taking the right data and making it work. “The starting point is for organisations to ask what questions they want to answer,” states Neil Woodcock. “What is the challenge they have? Is it around making the supply chain more efficient and effective by reducing inventory? Is it about customer retention? Is it about making brand content relevant? To understand what the purpose is helps you understand the metadata you require to then understand the sources of your data, so the volumes of data out there suddenly become smaller and more manageable.”

According to Andrew Edwards of ClickZ, “Certainly one of the most effective ways of looking at and taking action on data is through segmentation, also known as audience building. In fact, it is difficult to imagine taking very much effective action at all without using segmentation in some manner. And with the ability to export audience data into retargeting tools, the power of data collection begins to manifest in the delivery of very targeted and relevant communications that draw users towards conversion. Generally speaking, segments are groups of users that either have or haven’t met certain behavioral criteria over a specific period of time. There are ways to configure segments based on sessions as well, but here we will only discuss user-based segments.”

In addition, David A. Steinberg, CEO of Zeta Interactive, adds, “Marketers must then synchronize channels to optimize results. They should leverage each to do what it does best: social to engage, email to target and sell, search to sell, and mobile to reach – taking marketing plans to the next level. That action must also take place soon after the data is presented. Extracting actionable intelligence from Big Data requires handling large amounts of disparate data and processing it very quickly. Leaving too large a window between the time the data is collected and when it is used in marketing materials could result in a missed trend or opportunity to speak to your audience in a manner that is both timely and accurate.”

All the data gathered is valuable when applied to improving the overall customer experience. It can help any company not only understand customers but to improve customer service and even identify other market segments in which to expand.