How well do you know your customers? Do you know what they buy? Do you know when and why they make purchases? Do you know who influences their buying behavior? Do you know how price sensitive they are and what types of promotions they respond to? You should know these things. Connected data can help you develop a 360-degree view of your customers so you can develop real insights that will make your sales and marketing efforts more effective.
Understanding your Customers is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle
Can you understand the picture that a jigsaw puzzle depicts from only looking at a few pieces? Probably not. If you can figure it out, your success will likely have more to do with luck than anything else. You can’t run a business on luck if you want to succeed in the long-term. Luck may win you a few deals, but it won’t deliver sustainable competitive advantage and consistent profits. You need data to develop the complete picture to drive informed business decisions.
Understanding your customers isn’t just about tracking their purchases with a loyalty/rewards card. It is about understanding who your customers are and why they do the things that they do. As you might imagine, this isn’t a simple topic. There are many facets to understanding individuals, their relationships with others, and their buying behaviors. The good news is, in the digital age we live in, most of the data a company needs to understand its customers is available in an electronic form already. This customer data is often stored in different systems and applications like CRM, NetSuite, Salesforce, etc. This data needs to be identified and brought into a central repository so that it can be analyzed. Insights can then be visualized through a Dashboard to get more predictive analysis and recommendations. You just must know what is available and figure out how to assemble the puzzle. It is a connected data problem.
Collecting the Pieces
Like a jigsaw puzzle, the complete picture of your customers is made up of many pieces of data that each provides a glimpse into the bigger scene. You may not be able to collect all the pieces of the customer puzzle, but you may be able to collect enough to develop an accurate understanding of the big picture. Pieces of your customer data puzzle can be found spread across your organization. Examples include purchase data from your sales system, customer support data from your CRM, home and office addresses from your delivery/logistics system, and location and price sensitivity data from your loyalty program mobile app. Additional pieces of the puzzle can be found outside your company – such as social network relationships, online reviews, social discussions about products and services, and online search and browsing activity. Depending on the nature of your business, some of these pieces may be more informational than others. The more of them you can collect, the better your chances of completing the customer 360 puzzle.
Putting Your Customer 360 Picture Together
Only having a bunch of data about your customers isn’t going to give you customer insights. Most of the puzzle pieces listed in the section above are readily available to any company. The challenge is the data is spread across multiple source systems. You control some of them, but others are run by 3rd parties like Facebook, Yelp, and Google – all you can do is connect to them. Because of the nature of electronic data and the complexity of the puzzle, you’re trying to assemble, compiling a customer 360-degree view manually isn’t practical. That is where Actian’s connected data warehouse solution comes in.
There are two things you will need to be able to do effectively in order to assemble your customer data picture.
- You will need to connect to the various data sources and bring all the disparate pieces of data together.
- You will need a place to reconcile, categorize, and analyze the pieces and assemble them into the holistic picture.
Actian DataConnect provides the tools you need to connect data sources, both inside and outside your company. Whether these are IT platforms, data subscription services, IoT devices, or mobile apps, DataConnect enables you to access their data and move it into a centralized data warehouse for analysis.
Actian Avalanche is the operational data warehouse that serves as your work-surface for putting the customer data puzzle together. Avalanche is a cloud-based data warehouse solution optimized for processing large data sets and streaming data in real-time. Your customer data includes both streaming data and (if you’re doing things right) a large data set. Avalanche and DataConnect are designed to work together, giving you a truly connected data warehouse solution to support both the collection and assembly of your customer data puzzle.
To learn more about how Actian can help you use connected data to develop a 360-degree view of your customer, visit www.actian.com.