Let’s face it, the world is becoming increasingly digital. Everywhere we look, data is collected from our everyday devices, generating mass amounts of information about who we are. As a consumer, this can be a bit difficult to wrap your head around. As a marketer, however, one question immediately comes to mind: “How do I leverage this wealth of information?”
To understand how data is generated, we need to take a step back and look at the technology behind our devices. The first step is connectivity, the notion that all of our devices are communicating with each other. Our devices are a collection of nodes, producing millions of different data points per day. Considering the wide scope of the Internet, it’s mind blowing. Humans have created a spiderweb that touches every person with a connected device, expanding across the globe.
Taking it a step further, we have evolved to the point where connected devices accompany our everyday activities. We consciously create troves of data, all of which help us to enhance our daily lives. For instance, we use Twitter to communicate with others, use Facebook to post pictures of ourselves with friends and family, and add Pinterest boards to keep up with the latest trends. Everything online is categorized, archived.
And don’t forget all of the data we produce unconsciously throughout the day. Your smartphone’s accelerometer, for example, detects whether or not you are walking or running, and its proximity sensor determines how close you are to objects or locations in the physical world.
So, how does this work and why do you care?
Even so much as a simple click on Facebook is transmitted to the platform’s database. The more we use it, the more patterns arise and the more valuable and accurate they become. Knowing what we like or dislike, where we shop and who we’re close to allows Facebook to hyper personalize the content they share, the retail stores they highlight, and the friends they recommend. But there’s one problem. For most enterprises, these troves of data exist in silos.
What does that mean?
Traditional and digital channels have created a wealth of information that can be used to generate insight into customer journeys and, in turn, create relevant customer experiences. Think of in-house data, like customer segmentation and transaction history, or public sources of data, like weather or real estate listings. While this data is digitally accessible, it is often stored in silos across a variety of disconnected channels and departments, making it difficult to unify and transform into business intelligence.
Building a successful customer experience requires more than simply collecting data. Alone, this information leave departments with merely fragmented views of each customer. The ROI of their digital strategy is largely determined by the enterprise’s ability to unify this information and create a “data ecosystem” that provides a 360 view of each and every customer. Imagine, for example, that you are an airline and you know the following details about your customer:
- Is a first-time customer
- Is at the airport
- Has a premium economy seat
- Has more than 1.5 hours until boarding time
Together, these pieces of information create a perfect opportunity to present your customer with an offer to purchase a day pass at the airport lounge. Providing them with the right information, where and when they need it, allows the airline to increase upsell opportunities and revenue.
Using data to personalize customer interactions has begun to trend in recent years as businesses shift their focus from selling the product to selling an enhanced customer experience. Value means relationships and relationships mean sales. But what are companies to do as consumers become flooded with content by competitive forces? Today, in order to stand out, or even just stay afloat, businesses need to unify and leverage disparate sources of data to enhance the customer experience and drive satisfaction. This means investing time and money into overhauling legacy systems and consolidating data across multiple departments. We promise, it’s worth it.