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Katherine Brand, Senior Analyst
Katherine Brand, Senior Analyst 28 May 2020

What is a single customer view and why do I need one?

A single customer view (SCV) makes data and marketing the beating heart of a business – and moves you towards real customer centricity

Katherine Brand, Senior Analyst
Katherine Brand, Senior Analyst 28 May 2020

A single customer view (SCV) makes data and marketing the beating heart of a business – and moves you towards real customer centricity

Successful businesses are constantly striving to develop a deeper knowledge of their customers and prospects. We’ve all heard about the need to talk to our customers in the right way, with the right message, in the right place, at the right time.

But this requires a huge amount of information. A marketing campaign sending a discount code for the last product a customer browsed online via desktop might seem simple to execute and likely to generate conversions. But what if, since that website visit, a customer has purchased that product through Instagram?

A disparate view of a customer leads to jarred messaging and confused customer journeys. Providing a promo code for a product the user has just purchased just leads to customer frustration and reduced brand loyalty.

Joining purchase data and marketing campaigns up in real-time with a SCV consigns this type of mistake to marketing history, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

Why a single customer view could change your business

The vast array of channels and devices with which a customer can interact with your brand makes a SCV more important than ever. It’s a challenge – but if you can harness tech, a SCV is increasingly doable.

A SCV puts all the information you have on a customer from across your business into one place. Ideally everyone in the business can use it.

Customer information could include profile data such as name, age and address; transactional data such as product purchases, guide downloads and webinar sign-ups; and web browsing data such as dwell times, content types read, and device used.

Without a SCV, by the time you’ve accessed the myriad tools and platforms required to execute a relatively simple marketing campaign, your customer data may have changed. A SCV improves the accuracy and, in turn, efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Without a SCV, a business will likely have multiple records of the same customer in different places. A SCV aggregates these records into one, meaning you can find everything you need about a customer in one place.

Building a single customer view

The simplest way to create a SCV is to use a Customer Data Platform (CDP), which extracts, cleans and aggregates data from multiple sources into a single customer profile. This profile can then be made available for use within other platforms.

Another option is to connect platforms themselves together – this is more complex but might be the right move.

Creating a SCV requires a business to assess which data is important. What makes data important? The ability to provide actionable insight. There may be little point including three years’ worth of browsing data – building a SCV presents itself as an opportunity to prune and refine the data a business holds.

You might not need to integrate all your data into your SCV at the same time – a phased approach is often more realistic, and allows you to improve operations incrementally rather than wait years for a catch-all solution.

Instigate data driven strategy for the whole business

Because the data within a SCV is often drawn from across a business, the SCV will likely be embraced as a tool across all departments. Where previously departments may invested significant time sourcing data from others, a SCV means instead you spend this time sharing insightful, actionable findings across teams.

So, as well as a more joined up view of customers, a SCV can often lead to better collaboration between departments and stakeholders.

Finally, a SCV can be instrumental in improving a business’s ability to track customer journeys leading to an action. Crucial to discovering what led to a customer making that purchase or downloading that whitepaper, without a SCV the conversion is often attributed to the last action a customer took, for example clicking on an email.

Be more efficient with your marketing spend

A SCV allows you to track a timeline of events leading up to the conversion, for example an email click, a website browse on a mobile, scrolling over a LinkedIn ad. So you can adjust and concentrate marketing spend much more effectively based on results.

Once created, a SCV can quickly drive much more insight-driven business decisions.

It provides an accessible way to dig deep into your data and push the boundaries of consumer behaviour modelling, customer personas and segmentation.

Putting a SCV in place means you can:

  • Get to meaningful actionable insights more quickly
  • Target customers and prospects more effectively
  • Improve the efficiency of your spend
  • Unite the business behind one version of the truth
  • Enhance the experience of your customers

Ultimately, an SCV means you can get to know your audience better, more quickly, and develop both your marketing strategy and wider business decisions around your customers.

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