DIGITAL BUSINESS | A prescription for multichannel marketing

By Monique Duquette

It’s no secret that today’s marketers are on a quest to uncover a 360-degree view of their customers. As customer expectations for a personalized experience grow, consumers have come to anticipate consistent “custom-made” treatment across all channels. In turn, the need to find real insights across channels in an effort to better serve customers has never been more important.

Multi-channel data provides an enormous opportunity for marketers to gain new, valuable insights about their customers. While most organizations are currently collecting data online, some are missing the mark when it comes to connecting digital interactions to offline data. This gap in customer intelligence is a major missed opportunity in today’s market where consumers expect a personalized experience and real-time relevance to their individual needs.

In a world of increasingly high consumer expectations, marketers need to truly and consistently understand and enhance the customer experience across all channels. Integrating online behavioural data with offline data can help marketers paint a clearer picture of their customer by providing real insights into their attitudes and behaviours across multiple communications channels, as well as the way in which a consumer’s demographic shapes his or her wants and needs. Here’s a look at how data from the digital channel can enhance offline data:

Assembling a more complete view of the customer:

Consumers are multidimensional and they certainly don’t make all of their buying decisions online. By looking at offline behaviour—and integrating this with the online data—marketers gain a more complex and accurate portrait of their visitors. Capturing a customer’s complete online behaviour at a detailed level (their buying plans, significant life changes, etc.) and associating it with data from offline channels (e.g. promotional, demographic and purchase-based information) is an important first step in obtaining a unified multichannel view of a customer’s needs and desires. Synthesizing on and off-line data is truly the foundation of building a personalized customer experience and creating the multidimensional customer profiles that enable more precise targeting.

Personalization…now!

Consumers and communication are changing. Consumers now expect companies to interact with them on their own terms. This means going where the customers are, not where a company wants them to be. Today’s consumer wants interactions with a company to happen on their terms, via the device of their choice, at the time of their choosing. With mobile devices expected to overtake the desktop as the primary means by which consumer’s access the web in 2015,1 marketers need to start delivering real-time, relevant communications each and every time they interact with a customer.

A 2013 survey by Leger, commissioned by SAS Canada, confirms the importance of personalized promotions. The study found that 47 percent of smartphone owners said they would be more likely to return to a store that sent personalized promotions to their device while they shopped. Mobile devices enable marketers to deliver on the promise of getting the right promotions and messages, to the right customers, at the right time. However, this promise can only be fulfilled and provide a competitive edge by leveraging the richest data sources on and offline, backed by superior customer analytics and the ability to act in real-time

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Garbage in garbage out:

No marketer would base their marketing strategies on unsound data, so the first step towards securing “cleaner” data is pulling all on and off-line customer intelligence into one system. Data integration allows marketers to utilize incoming online data while data quality helps them match online data with offline customer profiles. In order to effectively communicate with customers, marketers need to start embracing robust data quality routines to ensure they are delivering the best – not just any – offers and the personalized customer experience consumers have come to expect. The right data, not just big data, lays the foundation for successful customer interactions.

The power of presenting information visually:

Most marketing organizations are awash with information, whether it’s demographic, socioeconomic, geographic, behavioural, transactional, or one of the other myriad of data segments that make up customer intelligence. But this information is often stored in a variety of different systems, owned by different—often siloed—departments and articulated in various formats. What is lacking from this information surplus are the insights needed to make the best marketing decisions. Presenting information visually empowers marketers to very quickly explore all customer data, no matter the size. Visual data adds a level of accessibility that can help marketers rapidly identify key relationships and uncover insights for creating more detailed customer segments (e.g., based on purchase history, life stage, etc.) and more personalized promotions and messages. Today’s marketers need to be nimble at converting data into insight, and data visualization software is integral to helping them find relevance among the millions of variables that can help target customers with relevant offers.

Conclusion: a holistic view of customer behaviour

Just as a doctor would never prescribe a drug before interpreting a patient’s symptoms, marketers too need to understand the problems they face before reaching for a solution. The first step to any customer engagement should be an exercise of evaluation and diagnosis about everything they know about the customer. Dynamic data capture is necessary to understand the big picture, a holistic view of a customer’s online behaviour; everything they saw, everything they did and everywhere they went. Combining this insight with offline customer data will provide a complete picture of the customer in order to make the best marketing diagnosis.

Monique Duquette is the SAS Customer Intelligence Practice Lead for Canada. In this role, Monique bridges her inner creative, with her passion for marketing and her inner ‘geek’ to help marketing organizations elevate their marketing with decisiveness and agility.

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