Posted 25th November 2014 by APSIS

Knowing me, knowing you – how to build the perfect customer profile

Out shopping with various friends and relatives recently, it has been interesting to hear them all flatly turn down shop assistants’ requests for their email addresses at the point of purchase. “No thanks, you’ll only spam me,” they resolutely respond. When even elderly members of my family have cottoned on to the challenge of marketers misusing data, we know our industry has a challenge!

What this anecdote tells us is that consumers have got much more savvy about how their data is used. They’re not stupid after all; they know if they hand over their personal details to a brand, there is an overwhelming likelihood that that brand will try and sell them some stuff. But nearly every consumer I talk to is open to a brand trying to engage with them if they receive some form of value exchange through the process. Brands know this and it’s why they’re so keen to crack personalisation. So far, so obvious.
But if the vast majority of marketers are sold on the importance of personalisation for business growth, few know where to start and how to approach it. As a result, personalisation initiatives are often limited to the level of email communications.
Why is this? Because, more often than not, the prospect of creating a Single Customer View (SCV) to drive a personalised experience just looks too, well, hard! We recently presented at an event hosted by Mezzo Labs that focused on this very topic, and it was clear from all presentations as well as discussions afterwards that the challenge is by no means complete. To crack the SCV ‘nut,’ marketers have to handle multiple, siloed data sets, which are often not entirely relevant and frequently out of date. And, because it takes time and money to manage this data, the ability to be agile and respond to consumer needs is severely hampered.
So, is creating a SCV destined to be a never attained goal? Based on current approaches, that are typically constructed from a company’s perspective (with internal considerations such as billing history and service enquiries forming the foundation of available insights) the answer is yes!
But salvation may be at hand. By utilising the new generation of data management tools emerging onto the market (such as Profile Cloud) you can not only cope with the challenge of creating the SCV but actually move beyond it to deliver more actionable, flexible customer profiles, created from the synthesis of the huge volumes of data that are now available to us. The benefit of this? Put simply, even if you are able to generate a SCV, it can only show you past activities. Profiles, on the other hand, include data such as social information to show intention. This provides marketers with the ability to anticipate customer behaviour, rather than simply re-telling them what they have already done.
Being able to do this is changing the dynamic for marketers today. Meaningful profiles enable marketers to foster long-term relationships that add value throughout the entire customer lifecycle – across multiple devices, channels and touch points. Something that even the elderly members of my family may just be happy with!
This post was written by Andy Walker.