Co-founder and CEO of mParticle, the largest independent customer data platform that helps brands make business personal.
Return to “normal life” is already underway. Several surveys have shown that consumers and businesses expect not only a full economic recovery this year but a massive uptick in business. As some industries are preparing for a resurgence, brands need to continue to evolve their customer data strategy and incorporate data from various sources that may have been de-prioritized during the digital acceleration of 2020.
Throughout the past year, brands now have a clear and universal mandate to own the relationship with the customer. In the hardest hit industries — including travel, hospitality and traditional retail — companies were forced to evolve, abandon old strategies and adopt new ones. This evolution marked an important turning point for many brands, directing a more agile, focused approach to keeping up with their customers.
Over the coming months, as the world comes back offline, there will need to be continued evolution. Digital and physical components will need to be better integrated than ever before. Across all scenarios, industries and regions, customer data will serve as the connective tissue. Put simply, better experiences, regardless of the channel, are built on better customer data.
Below are four ways brands can optimize their use of customer data in the current climate to regrow business through 2021 and beyond:
1. Work With Your Developers
Successful customer data management begins with the support of developers. Your customer data platform shouldn’t be treated as another marketing tool. When developers are engaged in the process of selecting and implementing a customer data platform, everyone will be set up for long-term success. Moreover, when developers’ needs are incorporated into a rollout, the technology can actually free them up for more innovation and differentiation.
2. Create And Execute A Data Strategy
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about which tool will be best at solving your current problem(s). Without thoughtful planning, there is almost no sustainable leverage to be gained. Teams need to break the cycle and avoid falling into a highly reactive, siloed approach to customer data needs. Begin with clear goals in mind for how data will be leveraged, what the ideal structure is, how you can maintain reliability and governance, and the use cases you want to support. Once you have that, you can begin to form a canonical view of your customer data.
3. Create A Holistic Identity Strategy
Identity is the nucleus of your customer data strategy, and like many things, you should beware of one-size-fits-all approaches. In order to optimize the customer experience and connect with new and existing users in a meaningful way, consumer brands need a holistic identity strategy. Identity governs how data gets organized, and depending on your business model, privacy requirements, and any business considerations, your identity strategy will need to be customized to meet your needs.
4. Balance Personalization And Privacy
Brands are no longer built on the media plan, and with the deprecation of cross-domain tracking, brands have a greater imperative to own the customer relationship than ever before. Customers of ours create and deliver highly relevant and personalized experiences that help build trust with the customer, but there is a balance. The data that underpins these experiences must be used in a responsible way. Respecting privacy as a fundamental human right helps brands reinforce that trust by giving consumers the ability to opt out of these data-driven experiences.
Now that consumers are beginning to have the freedom to start reintegrating back into life again, many industries are already starting to experience a surge in demand. Having a robust customer data strategy and technology foundation in place will be essential to scaling to meet this demand, providing customers the experiences they expect and minimizing friction.