For years, industry soothsayers have been predicting the vital role that martech will inevitably play in the future of consumer marketing. And although the premonition has come true, and having the right marketing technology is essential, the conversation is old news — most marketers already know this and have made great inroads in incorporating martech solutions within all aspects of their outreach to achieve omnichannel marketing success.

However, the top-performing marketers, and the brands with the greatest success, have already seen the next “big thing” in marketing: data.

Data is the new oil. It is a powerful fuel that drives your most important, impactful, and revenue-generating marketing efforts, particularly when it comes to omnichannel marketing and delivering the 1:1 personalized experiences customers demand and deserve. But none of this happens until you organize, unify, and centralize your data in a way that allows it to be fully utilized.   

During our Retail Renaissance, we heard from global brand leaders and industry experts as they discussed how marketers can leverage data and break down data silos to achieve omnichannel success and accelerate outcomes for their business. 

Here are five key takeaways we learned:

1. It Starts With “Connecting the Dots”

For Total Tools, one of the biggest hurdles they faced in connecting with their customers and achieving the business results they needed was dealing with all of their siloed channel data. 

Once they put all of their data into a single, centralized location, they were able to coordinate better communication with customers, and deliver more relevant 1:1 personalizati

“One of the biggest challenges that we had in our existing environment is that our channel data was in silos, so we couldn’t deliver that coordinated communication or conversation with our customer. Now with Emarsys we’ve been able to combine all of our data. So our sales data, the big ones — offline and online — loyalty profiles, product catalogues, web interactions, email engagement data, [are] all in one central location in the CDP. So we’ve really been able to connect the dots, and also synchronize in near real time as well. And as a result of being able to stitch that data together, we’ve got a really nice unified customer view which is helping us start to enable and unleash that one-to-one personalization.”

Elisse Jones. National Loyalty Manager, Total Tools
Elisse Jones
National Loyalty Manager, Total Tools

2. Let First-Party Data Be Your Guide

Having creative ideas and marketing instincts are good — but those factors alone shouldn’t guide your marketing decisions, especially when the decisions are business-critical. 

Cue Clothing Co. opted to use their first-party data as a guide for their marketing. Not only did a data-led approach allow them to deliver more satisfying customer experiences, but it also helped the business maximize inventory. As a result, they saw a huge increase in their bottom line.

“We really use the data to guide us, and we’d look at stores, look at the demand, and then we would open up the inventory at specific locations where that demand was there to feed the online sales. And we saw within the next few weeks — with some great tactics from a marketing perspective and really listening to the customers — we hit peaks that we’d never seen before.”

Shane Lenton, CIO, Cue Clothing Co.
Shane Lenton
CIO, Cue Clothing Co.

3. To understand your customer, you need a single view of the customer

Better customer segmentation, personalization, and retention — it’s what all marketers are after. But to do it right, you need a single, unified view of the customer. If your data is fragmented or scattered throughout your organization, it’s simply not possible. 

The experts at Yocuda recognize that, to truly understand customers, brands need to unify their in-store customer data and transactional data into a single customer view database.

“To retain customers, you need to understand who your customers are and what their behavior is. Now if we take that identified store customer and the transactions that are linked to them, and we add that into a single customer view database, then you actually get that true cross-channel view of the customer that enables better segmentation, targeting, personalization, etc.”

Edward Drax, Managing Director, Yocuda
Edward Drax
Managing Director, Yocuda

What would having unified data seamlessly integrated into your customer engagement platform look like for your brand?

4. Unified data keeps the focus on the customer

In the old paradigm of marketing, the focus was on leading customers to wherever the brand wanted them to go. But today’s marketing is not brand-first. It’s customer-first, and the most successful brand marketers are the ones who keep the customer at the center of everything they do. 

However, if your data is diffused, you can’t keep your customer in focus. Particularly now, in our age of omnichannel marketing, there is critical customer data coming in across a wide range of channels that, when added together, can give you a vivid, actionable composite of your customer. But you can’t see the complete picture if your data is too spread out.

Sally Europe understood that, to be truly customer-centric, they needed to have all of their data unified into a single source.

“So we use Emarsys obviously. We use it as our enhanced SCV, and we link this with our other agencies and channels for contact. Then we go on to the channel that the customer purchases on. So whenever they purchase in-store, online, or the call center, that purchase behavior is fed into that one single source. And having all that data in the one single source, that allows us then to interrogate that data, to make decisions whether to reward or target customers through whatever channel then best resonates with that customer. And that can be store, call center, web, your web channel. That can be email, SMS, targeted social, pre-bought vouchers or even a store card. And having that breadth of channels available to us allows us to be sure that we are hitting the customer where they want to see the most relevant message.”

Simon Rowlands
Head of Customer Marketing & Comms, Sally Europe

5. Take ownership of your customer data

When you’ve worked with over 1,500 clients and helped facilitate over a billion engagements like Emarsys has, you learn quite a bit about not only the value of data, but also, how marketing teams can be empowered to drive business results using data. 

Yet, a common problem marketing teams run into is that the crucial data they need to level up their personalization and omnichannel marketing efforts is kept at a distance, siloed away in other parts of the business. 

Take it from Steve Henderson, Head of Deliverability at Emarsys — if you’re a marketer that wants better engagement and better returns, take ownership of your customer data. If it’s not already with the marketing team, find where it sits in the organization and claim it. It’s yours.

“If you are the marketing team, do not think that the data belongs to somebody else. It’s yours. It’s your data. Do not treat it as a technology issue or a website issue or a legal issue or a database issue. It’s yours. It’s your data. You will need to take ownership of it. And that then allows you to understand it. And if you understand it, you then start looking at where it comes from… Is it correct? Where is it stored? Who’s got access to it? Why? How is it used? How long is it used for? Who do you share it with? … These are the elements of an audit. But it’s not really an audit. It’s just the common sense that comes with ownership. So I think self-ownership of the data for the marketing team [is] the single piece of practical advice here.”

Steve Henderson Emarsys
Steve Henderson
Head of Deliverability, Emarsys

Final Thoughts

The most adroit marketers have always sought ways to improve customer engagement and deliver business results. But 2020 has made these priorities much more pressing. 

Thinking about your marketing technology is a good start, but if you’re not considering ways to unify your data so that you have a single complete view of your customer, you’re at risk for losing out on customer growth and retention (and leaving money on the table). 

Don’t let data silos or scattered data sources impair your marketing team’s ability to succeed. Fully integrate your data into your customer engagement platform so you can start delivering the predictable, profitable outcomes that your business demands, and the highly personalized omnichannel experiences your customers deserve.

Get better business results for your brand by unifying your customer data.

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