1st September 2022
Finding insights in customer data
Cursor Curated Issue 2
We’re living in a world where we’re overwhelmed with data. Search queries. GPS movements. Purchase patterns.
While this might sound like organisations are sitting on a goldmine, that data is only as valuable as the actions we take with it. It’s all about customer data management.
Defining a single source of truth
One of the biggest challenges organisations face is holding data in silos. Customer data insights are kept in multiple systems, which causes us to miss key opportunities.
This is where a single source of truth can help. Underpinned by a solid data strategy, it can help us make technical decisions around information architecture.
So how do we get there?
We start with a data audit: looking at what data we have, where it’s stored and what’s missing. If your systems are extremely fragmented (and chances are they are – 47% of us say that silos are the biggest challenge to harnessing customer data), you may want to consider integrating systems. You can take the API development route, or implement wider business management systems, enterprise resource planning or business intelligence.
Of course, we cannot overlook security here! Best practices for data security include:
- Proper identification and classification of sensitive data
- Strict data usage policies across the whole organisation
- Controlled access to sensitive data through permissions and passwords
- Database auditing to log all database and file server activities
- Data encryption and back-ups to prevent customer data leaks.
First-party data: what’s your strategy?
By the end of 2021, Google will have phased out all third-party cookies from Chrome. This gives marketers two choices – to make educated guesses, such as advertising beer to sports fans, or to rely on first-party data.
Of course, as above, we can only rely on this first-party data if we’re using it correctly. So how do we achieve this?
We need to build the right infrastructure, firstly capturing it, but secondly managing customer data. It will take forward planning: aligning your internal systems with how the data will be used for marketing and operational purposes.
Don’t ignore the ‘low hanging fruit’…
Naturally, our first inclination is to use this data to optimise our marketing efforts. But we shouldn’t overlook the other opportunities that come with first-party data.
For example, this data can help you to improve your product. If you’re noticing drop-offs at a particular stage in the buying cycle, what’s holding customers back? Is there a speed or performance issue in your web or mobile app? Customer actions are an indirect form of feedback that we can leverage for future product improvements.
What customer data you should be collecting
While customer activity is an indirect form of feedback, there’s nothing more valuable than actual feedback! Wondering how to get insights from customer feedback data? Use metrics such as the Net Promoter Score to get a better idea of your brand sentiment.
Next up, we have behavioural data – not just the problems your customers run into as above, but every way they interact with your brand. Look at collecting customer data such as feature usage and activation or logins to spot trends. If more people log in at a certain time, is this the ideal hour for a push notification?
Testing is essential for a seamless user experience. Try A/B testing variables such as button position, copy or colours. Others may be more specific to your industry, such as featuring pages with and without pricing.
It’s also crucial to understand where your leads are coming from. What tools are you using to measure this? Are you leveraging platforms such as Google Analytics, HubSpot or your own CRM?
Contact information and transactional data
Once your leads have converted, ensure you store their contact information in an accessible place. You can use this to build a profile of your customer, looking at transactional information such as past orders or event attendance. All of these will help to generate customer segments, improving both your marketing efforts and user experience in the future.
Not just data – real insights
With the right tools in place, we can take reams of data and turn them into actionable insights. This starts with clean, accurate data. Have you identified any anomalies that could be attributed to bot activity?
Second, once you have built up enough customer profiles, you should have customer segments. These may vary based on user activity, gender, location or product preference. Each customer will have different needs, from repeat orders to one-offs. Ensure you consider each of these to avoid over-generalisation. Personalisation is available at scale, but it starts with segmentation.
Finally, empower your teams! Everybody (with the exception of those who are not authorised to view sensitive data) should be empowered to access the right data. This means moving it out of silos and ensuring the right teams can use it to their advantage. How can sales teams address new leads? How should account managers warm up prospects?
There are always decisions to be made from customer data – not just for marketing but for customer service too. With the right tools and processes in place, you can turn facts and figures into game-changing decisions.
You just have to keep digging.