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A Roadmap To Creating A Single Customer View


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Our market today is characterised by an accelerating shift in the balance of power from product-centricity to customer-centricity. Changes within that marketplace are now motivated by customer interest and attention, rather than by product innovation alone. This shift in dynamics requires more intelligent marketing, driven by deeper and more relevant insights into customers and prospects.

Read on to find out more.

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A Roadmap To Creating A Single Customer View

  1. 1. An Acxiom White Paper Building Bridges in the Asia Pacific Region: Customer Information Solutions: A Roadmap to Creating customer-management Why a cross-border a Single Customer View solution helps businesses move forward
  2. 2. Acxiom | White Paper Our market today is characterised by an accelerating shift in the balance of power from product-centricity to customer-centricity. Changes within that marketplace are now motivated by customer interest and attention, rather than by product innovation alone. This shift in dynamics requires more intelligent marketing, driven by deeper and more relevant insights into customers and prospects. When the customer is in control, customer loyalty can no longer be taken for granted. While switching providers of products and services was a more difficult process to manage in the past, customers today have more choices than ever. The Internet and other advances in technology have broadened the customer’s view, allowed comparison shopping on a global scale and bestowed upon them the power to demand a better deal. An expanding variety of increasingly efficient communication channels exists for companies working to acquire and retain more customers. These include e-mail, interactive TV, ATMs and mobile and search marketing. Such a proliferation of touch points makes it progressively more difficult for marketers to execute effective marketing campaigns via traditional channels. Customers who are exposed to as many as one million marketing messages a year can be easily overwhelmed, and their attention limited to the strongest and most on-point messages they see. This also means companies are now marketing to better informed, more savvy, more impatient, and more demanding customers. So the key to success is cutting through the information overload to capture the attention of the right customers — and keeping it. 17% of the Australian population moves house each year, and many of these people change phone numbers and email addresses with greater frequency. There are more than 100,000 marriages per annum – and more than 50,000 divorces. In addition to these and other population changes such as births and deaths there are ever-increasing registrations on Australia’s Do Not Call and ADMA’s Do Not Mail Registers. From a business perspective, people consistently move from company to company and change job roles within one organisation. Consider the impact of these volatile statistics on your customer data. Data complexity is multiplied by changing customer propensities, attitudes, behaviours, lifestyles and life stages each year. It is therefore crucial to have frequently updated information to assure that marketing activities target the right customers at the right place and at the right time. In order to communicate with customers in the most effective manner, the ability to link all external, transactional, marketing and other communications channels to achieve a clean and integrated single view of the customer, known as a 360-degree view, is essential. 1
  3. 3. Acxiom | White Paper Fundamental questions for customer-centric businesses The ability to answer the following fundamental questions is key to winning targeted market share and profitability: • WHO are the customers you seek and what are their geodemographics, life stages, lifestyles, consumption needs, shopping behaviours and purchasing patterns? And, most importantly, what are their distinct potential values and risks for the business? • WHEN will these customers enter the market looking for products and services to meet their changing needs and interests due to evolving life stage or product and service usage experience? • WHICH type or category of products or services best suits the needs of customers you seek? For example, mutual fund managers need to understand whether customers are interested in tax-free gains; large-cap, mid-cap, or industry-specific funds; exchange-traded funds; or index funds. They should also understand whether customers are investing for retirement, education or other reasons. For example, the travel and entertainment industry needs to understand whether customers are looking for relaxation, adventure, or perhaps a spiritual experience. • WHAT are your customers’ and prospects’ preferences when choosing from among competing brands or companies? For example, when researching a vehicle purchase, what value do they place on brands, vehicle functional utilities, quality, safety, convenience, image and accessories? How do they respond to price changes, discounts or free upgrades? How do they read and respond to e-mail, direct mail or on-line promotional messages? • HOW are you to communicate with your customers and prospects in the best way? To communicate as effectively as possible it is important to choose the right communication channel, the most appropriate language with which to engage your target audience, and relevant offers or promotions. Your business requires quick, accurate and comprehensively customer-centric solutions to enable you to answer these questions. A much stronger focus on and deeper knowledge of your customers and prospects is achievable. This is due to recent advances enabled by integrated customer information databases, Customer Data Integration (CDI) technology, and on-line real-time customer recognition and interactive marketing. 2
  4. 4. Acxiom | White Paper As illustrated in Figure 1, below, customer knowledge is broadened by adding attitudinal, behavioural and “in-market” data. This delivers more accurate and timely predictions of propensity and “trigger events” that cause customers to purchase products and services. Enables answers to key questions including: Localisation and growth potential In Ready to Act WHEN capability Market Behaviours Known Purchases and Responses WHAT Propensities Likelihood to Behave in a Certain Way HOW Attitudes WHY DEMAND Likelihood of Values, Beliefs and Expectations Lifestyles Self-Reported Hobbies and Interests Clustering/Segmentation Geodemographic or Household Level WHO Demographics Includes Age, Income, Occupation Name, Postal or E-Mail Address 21MM Individuals, 8MM Households WHERE Figure 1 How Customer Information Solutions help to answer these questions Committing to a long-term action plan that is built on a thorough understanding of your organisation’s business objectives, marketing strategies and requirements will enable you to take advantage of a Customer Information Solution. As discussed previously, it is critical to develop and maintain an accurate, holistic and dynamic Single Customer View (SCV) to focus messaging for customers as individuals. As illustrated in Figure 2, overleaf, creating this level of insight requires the effective use of your enterprise’s transaction-level and external data. 3
  5. 5. Acxiom | White Paper With multiple data sources and frequently changing information, data hygiene is challenging yet vital to the accuracy of the single view of the customer, and to the success of Customer Information Solutions. Few companies have the sufficient data quality, data hygiene and data integration and matching capabilities to shape a cohesive picture of customer purchasing at individual or household levels. Even fewer can shape a dynamic and real-time view of the changes in customer lifestyles, life stages and behaviours. Selling different products and services across multiple divisions via a proliferation of touch points exponentially complicates the creation and maintenance of an up-to-date, enhanced single 360-degree customer view. Figure 2 Customer Information Solutions as a Service The inherent complexity and volatility of customer data and data management have traditionally resulted in lengthy timelines for the development and implementation of transactional-oriented, back- office systems. In most cases, it has taken even longer to see measurable results and desired business outcomes. In such dynamic environments, with the requirements of business users constantly evolving, significant capital investment can be required upfront, along with high, ongoing total cost of ownership. Overall return on this investment is often impossible to justify, measure and manage. A full-service or hybrid-service delivery model empowers business users by offering organisations the options they require to eliminate these challenges. A full-service, customised, hosted solution may include management of hardware, software, data and sophisticated integration services and can extend to specific applications such as campaign management applications, CRM or business intelligence. Alternatively, a hybrid-service model supports the maintenance of internal applications, such as Data Warehousing systems, that require integrated, clean and meaningful, ‘fit-for-purpose’ data that business users can rely on. 4
  6. 6. Acxiom | White Paper Roadmap to creating a Single Customer View To maximise sustained benefits from Customer Information Solutions for acquisition, growth, retention and service that can adapt to changing business needs, a new paradigm is required, including the following key components: • A rich customer database - A frequently updated customer database with demographic, geographic and psychographic information on Australian adults and households is vital. This database enables “sensing” of lifestyle, life stage and residence changes. Given this objective, keeping the data “fresh” is extremely important to ensure the accuracy and relevance of any target market analysis. High-quality data, industry-leading security and privacy capabilities are also important considerations. • Data integration and recognition technology - provides the ability to link individual customer data from disparate databases, third-party sources and various proprietary databases containing customer information (e.g. CRM, ERP, sales, marketing, etc.), to provide a holistic, well- connected picture of customers. Such knowledge-based technologies are very important for CRM applications, especially in market segments where the client relationship is extremely important and loyalty is binary. It is important for many organisations to create a SCV, not only at the customer level, but also at a family and household level. • Extensive behavioural data - A customer database can be greatly enhanced by including national behavioural information about existing customers and historical behaviour data derived from buying behaviours, purchasing patterns, and interactions or responses to marketing campaigns. The benefits of combining behavioural and geodemographic data include more effective targeting by focusing on prospects who are in the market for your products, and providing the opportunity for better customer service with more appropriate up-selling or cross-selling. Perhaps more importantly, behavioural data coupled with geodemographic data provides the information needed for predicting customer behaviour to drive better marketing strategies that can be applied across the business. • Real-time data — Real-time interactions with customers (reflected in “hand-raising signals” such as in-bound calls, requests for information, responses to e-mail campaigns and on-line search/ research click-stream data) that is captured from across an enterprise and analysed further deepens the ability to understand specific customers and to predict future behaviour. • On-demand predictive scoring — Real-time recognition and predictive scores come together to support on-demand, right-time, right-offer marketing. The links across many customer databases allow sorting, filtering and ranking of prospects for targeted or direct marketing programmes across multiple interaction channels. 5
  7. 7. Acxiom | White Paper Having developed a clear and comprehensive view of the customer, turning that information from “hindsight” into “insight” and “foresight” will enable your business to employ smarter and more effective marketing strategies. Hindsight represents views provided by traditional analytics that examine what customers did in the past or, at best, what they just did. Traditional analysis cannot typically determine the drivers of customer behaviour, or quantify the impact these drivers have on an organisation’s profitability or competitive position. Insight means knowing these customer behaviour drivers and their effects. These are the levers identified by Customer Information Solutions that are vital to successful marketing programmes and strategies. Foresight is the ability to predict likely outcomes to drive effective customer-centric marketing strategies. Predictive capability takes marketing success to new levels by enabling companies to make product and inventory decisions based on what customers are likely to want. Customer Information Solutions transform customer data from simple hindsight into insights and foresights: • Customer segments (Who) — The best way to understand customers is by developing customer segments that are based on attitude (stated preference) and behaviour (revealed preference). In addition, rich, deep information can be gathered about customers through surveys, buying patterns, shopping behaviour and household-level data across multiple stores, channels and branded products. It is common to segment customers based on their derived needs, shopping or purchasing patterns, value and risk for a business. The challenge lies in accurately generalising the segmentation and associated insights for prospecting purposes. • In-market timing (When) - Another critical ingredient of Customer Information Solutions is the determination of a customer’s need or desire for a product or service. In other words, who and where are those people most likely to need or want information about specific products or services? Research indicates that the timing of purchasing decisions is typically triggered by a change in the customer’s life stage, lifestyle or place of residence. For example, an analysis of a major financial institution’s credit card marketing campaigns found that people transitioning between geodemographic or life stage groups are likely to have a significantly higher response rate than the average for other customers. These changes (or triggering events) drive buying behaviour and increase attention and response to different targeted marketing programs. To assist with customer acquisition as well as cross-selling to existing customers, ascertain the customer mindsets driving these changes, in real time. Data intelligence with frequent updates at household and individual levels can provide immediately actionable insight to customer in-market timing. 6
  8. 8. Acxiom | White Paper • Category needs (What) — Customer Information Solutions determine the needs and wants of customers based on their interests and actions. But traditionally, companies categorise and describe their products and services based on functional attributes, such as membership fees, interest rates, payment grace periods and credit lines for a credit card product. The lack of purpose and relevance of such functional product information to customers means these efforts are bound to fail, given proliferating market offerings and the increasing competition for customer attention. This is leading successful marketers to present offerings designed and described to fit special needs and interests of customers in pursuing their lifestyle, best fitting their life stage and place of residence. The increasing number of credit card offerings by retailers, airlines, gas stations and others is an example of this change in focus. Customer Information Solutions address the need for the effective and successful innovation and launch of new products and services through an enriched Single Customer View that provides insight and foresight into the needs of customers as a function of their life stages and lifestyles. • Brand and channel choice (How) — Armed with the knowledge of customers’ in-market timing and their category needs, a marketer still requires an understanding of how customers evaluate and select from a set of competitive product or service offerings. It must also be clear how they tend to use and respond to such offerings in today’s multiple media channels environment (e-mail, direct mail, on-line, mobile, etc.). This is especially important for personalising communication channels, messages and offerings to each individual or group of individuals. Marketing researchers have long tried to understand customers’ ultimate choices of brand and channel with analytic models based on surveys, buying behaviours or channel interactive session data. 7
  9. 9. Acxiom | White Paper Summary In order to effectively compete in today’s customer-driven economy, organisations must, first and foremost, recognise that key market drivers have changed. What was once predominantly a product- centric and marketshare-focused marketplace has become customer-centric through advances in technology and global marketing. The creation and maintenance of a true, 360-degree, single view of the customer requires development of a clear understanding of customer geodemographics, life stages, life styles, attitudes, behaviour and potential total value or risk to the business. Identifying optimal target markets that have the highest propensities for campaign or offer response facilitates the implementation of strategies for successful customer acquisition, retention and growth; strategies based on intelligence rather than blanket coverage. Increased retention through the understanding of customer needs proactively reduces customer churn, and helps to maximise customer lifetime value. Acxiom has developed locally hosted and supported solutions in both full service and hybrid service models that can help to reduce the need for high upfront cost and be rapidly integrated into existing technology environments. This allows organisations to better understand customers by leveraging household-level geodemographic data, lifestyle data and unique behavioural indicators. Using these as drivers, an organisation can clearly understand who its prospects are, what to expect and how best to communicate with them and provide them customised offers. Integrating all of these elements into a committed plan will set your organisation well on its way to implementing successful Customer Information Solutions. About Acxiom With almost 40 years of experience in Customer Information Solutions across many industries, Acxiom is uniquely qualified to help with your transition to customer-centric marketing. By leveraging its customer data, CDI technology and industry knowledge, Acxiom provides thought leadership that challenges traditional marketing methodologies in a competitive landscape. Acxiom is known for its innovation and quality in Customer Data Integration, bringing together complex and diverse information from across multiple databases to create an enriched Single Customer View. Acxiom also has expertise in real-time customer recognition technology that meets the critical requirement for data quality and speed of access and can provide the tools and support to create and maintain an enhanced, single view of customers and prospects across all products and services, touch points, channels and lines of business. This merges the strength of traditional marketing mix models with the power of customer knowledge to estimate the propensity of a household or an individual to respond to a marketing campaign. The combination of insights and foresights gained will assist in the targeted allocation of marketing funds and help ensure the delivery of the right message and product or service offering through the right media to the right customer. © 2008 Acxiom Corporation. All rights reserved. Acxiom is a registered trademark of Acxiom Corporation. All other trademarks and service marks mentioned herein are property of their respective owners. 8
  10. 10. See how Acxiom can work for you. For more information, visit our website at, email us at or call: 1300 ACXIOM