A Single Customer View May Not Be Hard To Deliver
A single customer view is a key enabler of closed-loop marketing and your ability to build stronger, more profitable relationships with customers and prospects.
A number of myths surround single customer views: they are expensive; they are impossible to deliver; the pain is in the data integration; and that they are essential.
But they are just myths. Here is why and how you can avoid them derailing your marketing objectives.
1. They Are Expensive
A Single Customer View (SCV) doesn't have to be.
The direct and indirect costs will depend on the nature of your business, the sheer number of data sources that you need to integrate and whether the process is something that you have resource and experience internally or need to outsource.
We have worked with mid-sized businesses who have built very low cost SCV’s to meet business needs.
And it’s the business need that is key.
It’s often the indirect costs that are most significant. Software costs have reduced dramatically and there are excellent open source or low cost products available that will support data integration. Jitterbit, Pentaho and Informatica are worth considering and you can find more detailed research in this Gartner report.
2. They Are Impossible To Deliver
Any SCV development needs to be well planned. But by taking an Agile approach to development you can start to realise immediate benefit fast and take an iterative approach that adds complexity, functionality or additional data once the foundations are in place and you have validated exactly how you wish to use the customer data that you are harnessing.
3. The Hardest Bit Is The Data IntegrationIt’s not.
The hardest bit is how you are going to apply and leverage this business asset.
And in thinking about this are thorny questions like:
- Who owns your customer relationships
- Who controls and manages the data
- What data you need to deliver to discrete users. The *only* purpose of building a SCV is to deliver the right data to the right people at the right time so that they can make a better, customer-led decision. Getting those three parts together is a massive undertaking.
- How you are really going to use it. Starting with the business need and then working out the actions that need to be taken is an imperative - start with the vision and well-defined
- Why do you need a SCV and what is the value that it will create. The value could come from stronger customer relationships that allow you to better cross- or up-sell. Or the value could come from process efficiencies are removing duplication of effort.
4. They Are Essential For Any Customer-centric Organisation
Be in no doubt, a true SCV is a significant business asset and can be a huge competitive advantage.
But there may not be a sufficiently strong business case for all companies.
A single version of the truth is the most important requirement for all brands - it streamlines decision-making, allows a focus on the customer and supports marketing effectiveness. It is the core foundation of closed-loop marketing.
It can also help to inform and build the case for a SCV: defining and aligning the outputs that the business needs to make more informed decisions is a great foundation for starting to specify a SCV.