Commentary

Connecting The (Data) Dots

Data and organizational silos prevent us from achieving that highly desirable 360-degree view of the customer. We used to say of the World Wide Web: “It’s the world’s largest library, but all the books are on the floor.” This is the case with customer data today. We have mountains of data, but more often than not, it’s in disparate systems managed by disparate owners and vendors. Ironically, customers believe we know everything about them and are annoyed when our marketing efforts are irrelevant.

Ultimately, we want to connect purchase history, location and behavior to customer contact information. You may not be able to match 100%, and you may have some one-to-many situations. But how much better would your program be if you could personalize the content to some portion of your audience? Baby steps, people! 

Start with an inventory of your databases. What customer identifiers are present in each? What can you join from a technical perspective? This should leave you with a wish list -- what data points you would like to join to deliver more personal, more relevant marketing.

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Here are some examples to help you connect the data dots. My focus is joining behavior with phone number and device ID for Push or SMS, but these tactics can also be used to join to mailing address, email or social handle.

Loyalty Number Retrieval -   If you have a loyalty program, using the phone number to retrieve the loyalty program ID is one of the smartest things you can do. Not all will match, but for those that do, you now have location and purchase history.

Special Promotions – Sweeps, double points offers and giveaways provide a strong incentive to submit Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Always weigh the value exchange -- is the request of the customer, for their time and information, a reasonable trade for the payoff? This is not to suggest that you build a contact list, although an opt-in may be offered -- rather that you add entry form data to your current subscriber profiles. If you don’t have the clout to create your own special promotion, try to tap the data from those that are planned company-wide.

Content Delivery Options – Whether you’re sending an eReceipt, link, notification or coupon, consider delivery to phones, which many customers prefer.  (How much do we love the Uber experience?) High-value, easily retrievable content paves the way to connect purchase, location and history to phone number.

Progressive Profiling – As we say in fund-raising, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” If you want to know something specific about your SMS subscribers – email address?  ZIP code? -- request it. CTIA rules regarding frequency have relaxed since October 2014, so if that is holding you back, it’s time to reconsider. Be careful not to ask for PII before you deliver value, and don’t ask for too much, but do offer a customer benefit in exchange for a key data point.

These are just a few ways that smart companies connect the data dots. What do you need to personalize your mobile marketing? 

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