For years, marketers have romanticized the notion of an omnichannel experience. Yet, while many talk about breaking down the departmental silos that stall progress, few have successfully implemented this unified approach to customer experience and data collection, as companies typically lack the technological infrastructure to bring all incoming information together under one roof.
When it comes to data centralization, organizations must invest in the integrated technologies that enable marketers to be more efficient and effective with regard to actionable decision-making. Ideally, companies will have such an infrastructure in place from the start, as those who fail to implement such systems are destined to fight an uphill battle against resource decisions, siloed information, and enterprisewide inefficiencies. Unfortunately, such is the case for many on the journey toward digital proficiency, as few brands have the ability to blend incoming data across the entire organization.
Marketers continue to battle lagging organizational structure and budget restrictions as they work to retroactively implement the technologies necessary to withstand evolving consumer demand. Ultimately, data centralization will be the primary component standing between brand success and failure, for companies that neglect to integrate disparate systems are destined to struggle, hindering customer experience for all. Those who question the need to overhaul internal operations, however, must keep the following factors in mind as they examine the true long-term benefits of centralized data:
1. Leverage digital platforms to enhance customer relationships
With an influx of information available throughout the digital space, companies now have the opportunity to tap into insight they never had access to before. From email and search, to social media and community forums, digital platforms allow marketers to embrace the chatter, for they can track social sentiment and search habits to determine precisely what consumers seek from their brand relationships. However, without centralized data, companies will never fully leverage the insight available, for siloed departments inhibit the sharing of crucial customer information. By developing an omnichannel marketing strategy, brands can feed said customer data into one single knowledge base, thereby allowing departments across the organization to benefit from the behavioral knowledge necessary to create the targeted, relevant marketing messages essential for increased engagement.
2. Map customer behavior to establish an engagement strategy
Just as digital platforms enable marketers to improve customer relations, said tools also allow brands to examine buyer behaviors in ways that influence the decision-making process. Using the consumer data that’s already being collected, marketers can analyze said information to decipher observable patterns throughout the customer journey. Consumers alternate between both digital and traditional channels as they engage with brands throughout the buying process. Thus, marketers are well aware that customers rarely view each channel interaction separately. Therefore, companies must also approach their marketing strategy in the same manner to create the seamless omnichannel experience customers expect. By doing so, marketers will then be able to hone their engagement strategy as they work to pinpoint the ideal time and place to introduce relevant, influential content.
3. Determine which data points are essential for brand growth
Though marketers now have the ability to gather, analyze, and act upon data across the customer lifecycle, many will find that the power of digital can also hinder progress. Regardless of centralization, most companies find themselves drowning in a sea of unnecessary data because they insist on tracking every point imaginable. Ultimately, however, not all customer information and behavioral data can be brought to action. Instead, companies must develop a better balance via constant testing and strategy reconfiguration. Not every touchpoint will yield information that pertains to the brand’s bottom line, and these relevant touchpoints are likely to change as the customer experience evolves. Thus, centralization can bring order to an unruly data set, drawing upon trends across channels to inform the ongoing decision-making process.
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