We all know that data has the power to dramatically transform a business’ understanding of a customer and the way they interact with a brand. However, the ability to meet the changing needs of the consumer is becoming increasingly difficult. Brands have always had to deliver on expectations in order to maintain their customer base, but nowadays the ability and need to understand and respond to these expectations has shifted. A customer now interacts with a brand across multiple channels at once, with each interaction creating new data related to that experience. So, as a result of this continual data generation process, there is now a greater need for the brand, media owner, media agency and advertising agency to work together in a far more cohesive manner, to share insights and achieve a broader and richer view of the customer.

Strive for personalisation

Data may power that agenda, but unless you utilise the insight it provides you with and channel it in effective personalisation, you’re not reaching your potential and more importantly, you are likely to be handing a valued customer to a competitor. As the recent Data-Driven Marketing Survey conducted by Teradata highlighted, 90% of marketers believe individualised marketing is the future. Perhaps even more critical, a report by Teradata and Celebrus Technologies stated that 63% of consumers across every age group like to receive personalised offers, but only 24% of brands are actually delivering it. The question is why?

One-to-one interactions that fulfil a specific need or evoke a particular emotion are invaluable in a market that is often saturated with meaningless messages. However, it’s not just about untargeted content. It’s also about fragmented content. You may have the best email campaign around, rooted in insight, but if it’s not created in line with your CPC advertising or your other channel activity and messaging, your customer is going to be left confused, isolated and disengaged with your brand. That’s far from the ideal personalised experience they deserve. Customers are no longer channel loyal; they move around the web in very different ways and expect brands to recognise this. Understanding that, then utilising it to your advantage, is paramount.

Plan ahead to ensure critical milestones are maximised

Getting these brand strategies right is particularly important for brands that experience key milestones or spikes in activity across the year. During this peak time they need to deliver the right offers, to the right customers, at the right time. This means pulling data across all departments into view in order to deliver relevant messaging to the customer. Achieving a consistent message, which is not fragmented or contradicted by other activity is only possible if brands understand the real-time behaviours of their customers and work in collaboration with other departments and partners to achieve a far richer and accurate view.

The explosion of Black Friday across the retail sector last year brought fresh opportunities to build deeper relationships with customers, but in reality it highlighted gaps in many organisations’ marketing strategies, as they failed to connect the customer data. Having a clear view of every data set related to a customer, both on and offline, is key. So, how should businesses ensure they are capable of delivering these all-important personalised and relevant messages to their customers?

Technology holds the key to centralising data

Breaking down organisational silos is critical if the brand is going to power a successful and personalised campaign. This will allow a complete view of all data sets across all partners that are interacting with the customer at every point in the purchase journey. Investing in implementing technology systems to enable this, which centralise and connect all the data, should be a priority. Data needs to be able to flow freely between departments, so that the business has a 360 degree view of the customer at any given point and can use this insight to target them in real-time. It’s these systems that will bring transparency and ensure the messages going out to customers are united and clearly recognise their individual journey and individual needs. Looking ahead to this year’s Black Friday, the brands that performed poorly last year should now be working to ensure that they have broken down silos and have control over their customer data. This will enable them to maximise it when it matters and deliver targeted messages.

From any business operating in today’s market, the quest to understand more about your customer is an ongoing one, not to be entered into without the correct support systems in place. The larger the organisation, the greater the number of affiliates and partners likely to be involved in delivering the customer experience. Each interaction offers a new opportunity to build a deeper relationship, but all this data is redundant if the brand fails to take action to implement the systems that will bring each department together seamlessly. The personalised approach is a priory for customers, so it should be paramount for brands. The critical data is there for the taking – it’s now up to the brands to ensure each insight is being shared and used to drive a rich experience and relationship.