Guest Column: Five steps to unlock the power of customer data - Prabhu Kannan, Epsilon

Is individual online data key to improving the customer experience?Answering that and enumerating five steps that would unlock the power of individual online data is Prabhu Kannan, Vice President Marketing Technology at Epsilon.

e4m by Prabhu Kannan
Updated: Jan 6, 2018 9:27 AM

Prior to the advent of the digital age, marketers were limited to how they could capture customer preferences. Successful data-driven marketing is now reliant on a marketer’s ability to create detailed customer portraits, which requires online data along with offline statistical data. These insights are used to collate personalized marketing campaigns.

In the past, many marketers used purchase history to create a compelling dialogue with their customers. Marketers have always modelled their engagements at campaign and channel levels, but today, they have numerous digital capabilities and third-party data collection at their fingertips, which their predecessors could only dream of, to capture customer insights. For example: browsing behavior, app usage and display ad responsiveness can help marketers build deeper customer connections. Further, many tools give marketers the ability to connect online and offline customer journeys, and this helps to create advanced data models that marketers can leverage to determine the accurate attribution path of consumers.

With the continued significance of digital and the corresponding increase in data points, marketers are facing the challenge of managing data and generating value from it to ensure optimal efficiency. Businesses today have a strong desire for data-driven insights but most of them are not realizing the potential of these results. According to a 2016 study by Epsilon and Econsultancy, 84% of marketing executives surveyed described identifying users, personalizing messaging and measuring impact as ‘very important to growth,’ but only 10-14% reported having ‘strong capabilities in these areas.’ So how do marketers tap the power of data to leverage better (not necessarily bigger) data to deliver personalized experiences? Consider these five recommendations:

❏ Recognize digital behaviors

Web tools provide insight into web analytics and marketers are turning toward this for advanced insight on customers’ digital interactions. This insight can provide marketers with knowledge about a consumer’s lifestyle and behavioral patterns. A comprehensive view of the consumer is vital to ensure that the right messages are created at the right time and the right place.

❏ Connect the path to purchase

The age that we live in today allows customers to connect with brands on various levels and through many different channels. Customers may research a product on a retailer’s mobile app and then buy it from their online browser. It is up to the marketer to understand this pattern and the footsteps of customers from mobile app download to the frequency of website visits. It is vital to connect these touch points to understand sales attribution and thus better reach customers. Doing so will assure relevant messaging and result in cost-efficient campaigns.

❏ Bring offline data online

A customer’s path to purchase is complex, primarily due to the multiple channels they’re interacting in and the increase in volume of content. Bringing offline data online enables marketers to better understand a customer and their journey across both online and offline channels. In turn, this helps to reach your accurate customer base as individuals with more relevant marketing communications.

❏ Personalize marketing campaigns

The use of data in decision making is an important factor in delving deeper into what customers really want and what motivates them to make purchases. Once a marketer understands consumer preferences, he can make a decision on how to reach the customer in the moments that matter most. Data analytics help to bridge the gap between what marketers know about customers and understanding them as real people. By using data analytics to drive personalized communications – and by measuring results – marketers can create continuous improvement for their business.

❏ Use CRM to drive brand loyalty

A brand’s ultimate goal is to gain loyalty from its customers. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the means to fulfil this. Still, CRM efforts must first be built around the needs of the customer. Robust CRM strategies can be used to create rich customer profiles and enhance communications with them by best utilizing the data that is available in real-time to create personalized interactions. Loyalty towards a brand is a revolutionary process that can generate long-term business value when the customer becomes emotionally rather than merely intellectually vested in a brand.

Marketers previously depended on outdated data to formulate customer lifecycle strategies. But with the immense amount of data available online and offline, marketers are now able to better follow and predict the changing trends and preferences customers. It is based on these statistics that marketers chart out strategies to ensure complete optimized personalised marketing.
Prabhu Kannan is VicePresident,, Marketing Technology, Epsilon 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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