It’s 2021. The pandemic has swollen your user databases to a near breaking point as consumers clamor to digitize their lives and behaviors. They’re expecting you to know what they want—even before they’ve told you exactly what that is. Oh, and some of the tricks you use to fill in those data blanks? Yeah, they’re going away soon, for good. It’s up to you to make sense of it all, and fast.
In today’s arms race for better business outcomes, some 85% of B2C businesses are lagging behind because they’re incapable of extracting actionable insights from their own customer data, according to a recent commissioned study by Forrester Consulting1. Is it because they have more pressing priorities? Unlikely. Are they unconvinced of the opportunity or need to do so? Less likely still.
Deciphering the chaos of 2020
Last year’s impact on consumer behavior, marketing and business has been well-documented. Even if you made meaningful headway on your data journey in more normal times, it’s likely the turbulence brought on by the pandemic has thrown your customer behavior analysis into disarray and caused confidence in your segmented forecasting models to buckle under the weight of crushing uncertainty.
Brand loyalists with above-average propensities for direct-response promotions, low session times and high-price sensitivities might suddenly be presenting signals wildly foreign to their profile segments. They might be undergoing fundamental shifts in their behaviors and circumstances completely beyond the scope of your marketing team’s influence.
Is this the “new normal”? Or is “normal” now the description for ongoing, unpredictable dynamics that must be accounted for—and constantly reevaluated—as a core part of your data and experience workflow? Either way, it’s yet another variable that adds to the ongoing complexity of an ecosystem that’s already difficult to manage effectively.
The omnichannel challenge
With marketers dealing with these and other challenges in extracting actionable insights from their customer data, the new Forrester study indicates the top reasons marketers are unable to deliver a complete omnichannel experience:
- 77% have difficulty maintaining a unified customer profile across channels.
- 72% have difficulty working with disparate data and tech tools.
- 74% are unable to deliver consistently on the brand promise across the customer journey.
The third-party party is almost over
Gaps in your customer data across channels are among the main contributors to the shortage in customer insights and the ability to fuel high-value omnichannel experiences. These data gaps or shortages can sometimes be filled by a mature and somewhat turnkey marketplace of third-party data consisting of customer signals and profiles. If you’re already generating acceptable ROI from targeting these pre-curated audiences, you might think that developing detailed models of your own first-party customer data is less compelling. But new and pending privacy-oriented decisions by Apple and Google, among others, will severely influence the capability and efficacy of third-party data, adding more complexity and urgency for organizations still grappling with the fundamentals.
Step up your analytics now, not later
No matter what stage you’re at in unifying customer profiles, leveling up your omnichannel experience or introducing much-needed agility and dynamism into your modeling workflow, it is essential to build and sustain a highly effective customer data pipeline. At Proove Intelligence, a part of DAC, we’ve developed a framework of essential elements to shepherd organizations through the complex realities of an advanced analytics agenda.
We call these elements the Analytics Imperatives.
Often, lack of trust in primary data assets and/or the team responsible for execution is a major inhibitor to a data activation plan. The combination of stakeholder alignment with a clear understanding of all business activities, desired outcomes and influencing factors is the foundation of a comprehensive customer data project.
For many, a genuinely complex environment coupled with equally dense executional tactics are the ingredients for cognitive overload. Strip away the engineering to deliver plans, progress and performance in a way that resonates effectively and compels participation and support.
Reports are not analysis. Produce well-articulated observations and testable hypotheses anchored in discoveries supported by your analysis. Propose experiments while demonstrating an understanding of risk and real-world constraints.
Real change is hard, and the plan to effectively and sustainably implement it is too often overlooked. Bolster confidence and ignite action through evidence gathered in rigorous analysis, carefully executed experimentation, and a realistic activation plan.
We’ve seen how progressive brands and their internal teams that apply this framework can overcome challenges, reveal actionable insights and drive transformational impacts. It can guide you through the “new normal” of today’s unpredictable customer dynamics, allow you to effectively manage a complex market ecosystem and extract sound, actionable insights from your customer and prospect data.
1 A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of DAC Group, February 2021