How Cross-Channel Marketing Helps Build the Single Customer View

by Bruce Swann

posted on 06-15-2016

A single customer view doesn’t just imply visibility from data regarding who customers are, understanding their preferences, and creating buyer personas. Having the single customer view means you can act upon the insights gained in a way that creates rewarding and loyal relationships. This view becomes the launching point for all future campaigns; therefore, you should have a plan in place for how you’ll market to that single customer view (SCV).

In many cases, there will be common traits across all customers. The key to having an SCV is to continue understanding the evolving natures of consumers and anticipating where and when you can meet them along their journeys.

Customers are empowered. They interact and engage with brands wherever and whenever they want. Having a single view in place allows marketers to maximize each and every interaction, which drives engagement and often leads to conversions, loyalty, frequent purchases, and brand advocacies. This allows marketers to be ready for when and where a customer engages.

Why Is Mapping the Customer Journey So Crucial?
When I discussed mapping the customer journey previously, I emphasized how critical it is to the success of your campaign to map the right data to specific stages of the customer journey. It’s not just about having the data; it’s how you apply it where and when you meet your customer. Mapping is all about getting to know your customers, yes; but, more importantly, it is about developing a plan to put that knowledge into action.

When you have successfully mapped the customer journey, you should have the evidence you need to detail a plan to leverage the data you’ve collected. How does the data impact when you message a customer and which message you send, for instance? Without creating a plan from your customer-journey mapping, your marketers won’t be optimized for campaign success.

Mapping the customer journey requires data. Data drives marketers’ decision-making nowadays. But, data isn’t static; customer views are always evolving. So, as new data comes in that is relevant to our SCVs, we must leverage that data to iterate our customer view. Iteration allows us to better manage our outbound and inbound channels, messaging, and delivery timing. Smart mapping enables this iterative management process.

What Are the Challenges to Gaining a Single Customer View?
Customers interact with brands autonomously, but often, marketers are forced to have an approach in which they try to engage with customers at specific times through specific channels. Frequently, they meet this challenge by relying on different technologies that usually require different databases. This creates silos that become primary roadblocks.

The next challenge is the inability to obtain the right data — which resides in different systems or data silos — to build this precise, single customer view that is so crucial for customer-journey success.

For instance, email data might be sitting in a system that is separated from mobile analytics, which is separated from social, which is separated from Web. The partitions that separate important customer data can result in haphazard customer views — views that are anything but complete — and inhibit understanding who a customer is and how that individual engages or interacts across different channels.

Finally, there might be data quality issues — with potentially conflicting data residing in different systems — as well as different customer identifiers that become tremendous challenges for marketers who are trying to connect the dots when they’re building an SCV.

What Role Does Cross-Channel Marketing Play in Obtaining a Single Customer View?
A single view enables more effective cross-channel marketing, but the two actually go hand in hand. Cross-channel interactions are recorded and logged into contact history (including all outbound and inbound interactions), which further enhances the SCV. Because consumers are multi-device users, it’s essential to connect your cross-channel marketing analytics to get that view.

To further that point, when you build your SCV, make sure your data-driven marketing decisions accommodate the two important elements that appear in the micro-journey of customer engagement: static components and dynamic components. Elements such as monthly mailers, weekly newsletters, and SMS alerts are all static components that can be controlled by marketers. However, equal consideration must be given to dynamic elements such as varying customer-engagement times and the unknowns behind what marketing messages consumers will and will not connect with.

Cross-channel marketing is our greatest weapon in the war against challenges that inhibit a single customer view. It enables us to effectively map the customer journey and create that SCV. I encourage you to use as many cross-channel tools as you have available to define your single customer view. Your campaigns will thank you for it.

Topics: Campaign Management

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