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.
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
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.
Acxiom | White Paper
Fundamental questions for customer-centric businesses
The ability to answer the following fundamental questions is key to winning targeted market share
• 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.
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
growth potential In
Ready to Act WHEN
Behaviours Known Purchases and Responses WHAT
Propensities Likelihood to Behave in a Certain Way HOW
Likelihood of Values, Beliefs and Expectations
Lifestyles Self-Reported Hobbies and Interests
Clustering/Segmentation Geodemographic or Household Level WHO
Includes Age, Income, Occupation
Name, Postal or E-Mail Address
21MM Individuals, 8MM Households WHERE
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.
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.
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.
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
• 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.
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
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
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
• 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
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.
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
• 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.