An average customer these days will be using at least two devices, a smartphone and a computer, to connect to a business of his choosing. In many cases they will have more than two devices. Add to that the several avenues of engagement such as email and various social media networks. For marketers, this is a problem, as all customers expect to receive unified and uniform experiences no matter how they choose to engage via device or channel with the organization.
The Marketer’s Challenge
For marketers, this current scenario provides them with multiple opportunities to connect, interact and engage with prospects and customers. As a result, there is now more data available for the marketers to use for discovering behavioral patterns and to infer customer intent. Marketers can leverage this information to improve their messages as well as their interactions. On the other hand, the presence of multiple channels has also complicated the customer’s decision-taking process.
This is where single customer view comes into the equation.
Understanding Single Customer View
In simple terms, a single view of customer is a consistent and accessible dataset containing information about the interactions, demographics, and other attributes of a customer. This not only includes their purchase history and personal data but also their feedback and opinions.
Traditionally, single customer view was what every marketer aimed to achieve. It would bring together the various systems containing customer information and integrate them, giving marketers all the details they needed on a single screen.
Unfortunately, integrating all of the disparate systems was an extremely complex procedure, resulting in considerable costs. At the same time, the little integration that could be achieved failed to deliver actionable insight as a result of a lack of clear customer intention and motivation.
For this reason, marketers opted for a different approach where they segmented customers into particular categories. They believed that it would lead to improved engagement levels. While it has managed to offer a degree of success, there are still a few challenges that cannot be overcome. For example, marketers are unable to personalize their campaigns accurately enough for customers to inherently believe it is meant for just them.
Now, with computing technologies evolving at breakneck speeds, single customer view is starting to make a comeback: but we should really call it insightful customer view. After all, artificial intelligence and big data technologies have made it possible to integrate data from various sources and draw associations with relative ease. It provides answers to questions you hadn’t thought to ask. These capabilities have made it easier for marketers to engage at a personal level with all customers.
The Shift from Probabilistic to Deterministic Marketing
Probabilistic marketing was the default choice of marketers before the recent return of deterministic marketing in the form of insightful customer view. This kind of marketing was based on probabilities by collecting data from various points and analyzing them in a bid to identify customer purchase patterns. Unfortunately, it was purchase focused rather than customer focused, with the lack of customer insight preventing true personalized campaigns.
Deterministic marketing on the other hand involves actually identifying the customer across all platforms and merging all of the records as one whole, including non-transactional data. This enhanced whole view is what is presented in an insightful customer view.
With a genuine single customer view, which we are taking the liberty to now call insightful customer view, several things become possible. After all, the marketers have all the information needed essentially at their fingertips. Here are some of them.
- Marketers can target promotions specifically to customers who have the highest probabilities of purchase, thereby minimizing wasted costs directing campaigns to disinterested prospects.
- The information can also drive research and development of products designed for specific customers, ensuring a market for the product.
- There will also be greater confidence in using upselling and cross-selling strategies.
- The overall marketing return on investment will be increased as a result of relevant targeting.
Despite the presence of artificial intelligence and big data, many organizations still face challenges with the implementation of a single customer view. However, this is mainly due to their continued use of legacy systems and data siloes rather than the lack of technology capability. The future is here now and it may not be as difficult or scary as it might appear.