A new report from Adobe stresses the importance for marketers to coordinate data and gain a 360-degree view of every customer and then to target that customer based on their individual habits.
The idea sounds daunting but Adobe offers some guidelines to follow that give marketers direction.
"In a world where customers are using more channels than ever, and often switching between devices within a single transaction, more customer data is being generated than ever before," the report states.
"This makes finding the right data quite an effort," according to the study. "But it’s worth the work, because data is truly the key to unlocking customer knowledge and finding the most effective way to communicate with your customers."
The report says to "attract, impress and retain digitally savvy customers," marketers need to be able to act on key customer data across all channels and devices and reach customers wherever they are "with relevant, custom experiences."
The report offers three steps for smarter data-driven marketing.
• Step 1 – Integrate data sources to create one customer profile across all channels
• Step 2 – Create targeted experiences based on a holistic view of each customer
• Step 3 – Have one-to-one conversations throughout the customer journey
To achieve success in each of those steps, the report recommends that marketers use an integrated technology platform like a digital marketing hub which allows all the customer data to live together in one place.
"When customers engage with your brand, they leave behind massive amounts of data that teach you about who they are and what they want from your company," the report says. "And all this data allows you to create stories that lead to deeper brand loyalty."
The data that can be gathered on each consumer can offer real-time insights into behavior; can find hidden patterns and consistent behavior among each consumer; can optimize ad spending by each consumer; and can enable marketers to create relevant experiences for each consumer by leveraging the insights they gather.
Step 1, or integrating data sources to create one customer profile across all channels, needs to begin internally at a company by creating a team with the right people in the right roles that understand how to gather the data and analyze it so that targeted experiences can be created.
Touchpoints across the customer journey can answer several things about individual consumer preferences. Among them: Did the customer find the company through an affiliate link on social media on their mobile device? Did they look up the brand on Google via their tablet? Did they simply walk into a particular store?
Other questions that need to be explored and information gathered for each customer: How do customers for a particular brand or product behave differently on their mobile devices vs. desktop? Where is the customer located and what geographic data is available? How often does the customer use social media? What time of day is the customer most active or likely to shop? Has the customer downloaded the company or brand app? What interests and hobbies does the customer have that relates to the brand?
In Step 2, targeted experiences should be created for the individual, not the demographic, the report states. "All marketers know that audience segmentation is key to reaching the right people with the right message, But for a modern data-driven strategy, it’s important to prioritize the individual, and gain that holistic perspective, to deepen your understanding of customer needs, wants and expectations."
Once a brand knows who its individual customers are, it can better engage them in Step 3, or one-to-one conversations. Here are some clues customers leave that can give a company insight into their purchasing of a company’s product and help foster conversations specific to that customers: Did the customer visit a store in person? Did they purchase a sale item after hearing about it from a store clerk? Did they present some type of email coupon at the checkout? Did they begin following the company on Twitter? How many items did they fill their shopping cart with?
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the report says developing data-driven, holistic views of every customer will become more and more vital. The process should be an evolutionary one and will improve as more and more data is collected to create more detailed customer-specific profiles.
"With every iteration, and through testing and optimization, your knowledge of each and every customer will continue to grow," the report states, "and lead you to greater success in creating relevant experiences. Ultimately you can develop a master audience profile that integrates data across all your sources and creates a consistent, actionable customer view."