For brands to deliver seamless and personalised customer experiences, they must aim for an all-encompassing view that allows them to track where a customer is and how they move through both the online and offline world.

In recent years, this single customer view (SCV) has become the Holy Grail for marketers, but many brands still struggle to achieve this. Experian’s global marketer survey revealed that outdated marketing team structures are stopping 81% of brands from obtaining a single customer view. For over half of these brands, their largest hindrance lies in the limitations of their technology to integrate customer data from multiple sources in real time.

The small proportion of marketers who have got to grips with their insights are even further ahead of the game. They are realising that the single customer view is no longer the be all and end all. While there is no doubt that getting hold of customer data from those who have made a purchase is beneficial, what about the journeys that do not convert? The vast majority of customer journeys are non-converting, and this data is invaluable to marketers.

Understanding all consumers

The single customer view allows advertisers to improve service levels, customer retention, conversion rates and even lifetime value. Its insights can also help to drive organisation transformation so that communication between teams, like customer service and marketing, for example, is stronger.

However, non-converting data can often provide the best insight. It is a barometer for which marketing activity is and isn’t working. It can reveal a better understanding of marketing efficiencies, wasted ad spend, and consumer preferences.

Generating an SCV view is the only way to ensure you are engaging consumers to make sales in the future. It is important for marketers to understand the increasing value in the ability to deliver tailored communications to everyone, not just those already in the customer database. Facebook allows brands to merge the customer data they have and demographic targeting to formulate lookalike audiences. Basing communications on this kind of data means brands can capture the attention of potential customers too and lead them towards a sale.

‘Super CRM’

If we look further at how consumers interact and behave with a brand’s content, marketers can see where improvements can be made to drive results. Data insights allow marketers the opportunity to make quick changes to their campaigns and generate ROI even faster.

Attribution reporting shows not just what people have purchased, but how they purchased it, the combination of channels that drove the conversion and how quickly it took them to get there, as well as what was in their basket. All of this information – and information from non-converting journeys – means marketers can get a lot closer to what may have stalled a conversion and improve this going forward.

By providing a view of potential consumers rather than just customers, going through the attribution reporting process takes you one step further towards creating a ‘super CRM’ that can fuel both better marketing and retailing decisions. 

Dark social

Links sent via mobile messaging apps are completely untraceable, which is another challenge for marketers in understanding consumer behaviour. However just because we cannot see what occurs on these platforms does not mean we can ignore these popular apps or that we cannot measure dark social’s influence. We can attempt to analyse some of its impact, but only if we can see how consumers behave within the context of the entire purchase journey.

Marketers need to understand how a consumer arrives at a particular piece of content. If they land instantly on a product page, for example, it could have been shared with them on dark social. This is one of the only ways that this could have occurred without a longer purchase journey. However, if they land on the brand homepage, it is harder to assume that dark social had an influence, as they could have arrived there through prior knowledge of the brand.

However, there is light at the end of the dark social tunnel. Services like Viber are beginning to offer digital marketers new ways of interacting with users, testing tools for brands to engage users with product-based sticker packs for example. This heralds the start of more openness around data and the possibility for these channels to be connected into brands’ attribution modelling.

For now, however, if marketers prioritise finding ways to measure consumer journeys, they can understand which parts of their marketing mix are effective and which aren’t, and begin to make changes that will drive sales and better customer relationships.

Attribution technology allows brands to generate a complete view of what drives consumer behaviour, so that they no longer face blind spots when consumers move from one channel to another. They can see what works, and what results in a purchase, as well as understand what isn’t working and therefore what is a waste of their marketing spend.