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How data changes business



Local companies serious about making a shift toward customer-focused marketing need to put in place systems and processes that will enable them to gather and make sense of customer data being generated, says RICHARD MULLINS.

The growth of digital channels have prompted marketers around the world to rethink the impact that data has on the way they run their entire businesses.

Knowing and understanding the audience is key to successful customer engagement‚Äîand data unlocks your knowledge of and insight into your audience. For that reason, we’re seeing organisations worldwide look closely at their customer data‚Äîwhat customer data they collect, where and how they collect it, and how they put it to work.

Most marketers have been gathering customer data from digital channels and tools for years, including their Web analytics, ad-serving, email and search platforms. They used it for basic optimisation of their digital marketing, benefitting greatly from the measurability that digital channels offer in the process.

Now, however, they are thinking about data in a deeper manner as they seek to build out more personalised and relevant engagements with their customers. They are seeking to integrate data from digital channels with data from point of sale, contact centre and customer relationship systems to get a more complete view of their customer.

And they are also looking to achieve a more granular and detailed understanding of customers’ needs and behaviour. As you build a deeper understanding of the audience, so you become able to use each touch point and each piece of content to deliver more meaningful engagements and influence with your audience.

Against this backdrop, organisations need to start thinking about data in a more strategic manner. This means they need to put in place enterprise architectures that allow them to map out the sort of data they need to collect to meet their customer acquisition and retention goals, as well as the tools and technologies they will use to do so. Marketers need to learn how to mine audience data across different channels and media.

Owning and understanding data is really about ownership of the customer‚Äîwhich is why publishers, marketers and agencies are racing to build audiences with the hope of controlling the associated data. Companies who collect the cleanest, most relevant and most up to date audience data will be able to monetise this data and grow their revenues. Those that don’t will start to pay a premium to third parties to access data about their own customers.

* Richard Mullins, director at Acceleration.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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