Do you always have confidence and trust in your data to make important marketing decisions?

building trust in data to make marketing decisions

We are asking the question because we expect the key currency of the new post-COVID economy will be trust, and trust in data. 

Imagine you are amid your biggest campaign of the year, you are explaining the results to your leadership team, and are faced with questions like “how do you know”, “is the data right” or “why didn’t that campaign reach all of our intended audience”? I’m sure you have been in these types of scenario, which happen every day in the life of a marketer. 

SnapLogic [1] recently published an intriguing research report on how data distrust impacts analytics projects and decision making, which highlighted:

  • 77% of IT decision makers do not completely trust the data in their organisation for accurate, timely, business-critical decision making.
  • 76% of IT decision makers report that revenue opportunities have been missed due to a lack of data insights. 
  • 83% find data is not available at the time it is needed
  • 53% of mid-size companies suffer from too many disconnected data sources.

So, we would like to focus attention on some of the key data and insight issues faced by mid-size B-to-C companies in the UK and make suggestions around how they can be resolved.

Our experience is that these problems often have three separate causes:

  1. Customer data availability and quality
  2. Availability of skilled data analysts equipped with the right analytical tools
  3. A failure by the decision makers to frame the right questions for the analyst

 

Customer data availability and quality

The SnapLogic report reveals that 53% of mid-size companies have too many disconnected data sources, while 40% have poor integration of data sources meaning that data is missing or incomplete.

A typical B-to-C marketing department will often be looking at a distributed data situation with multiple silos like this:

data flow of different silos
Distributed data flow with multiple silos

The problem with this configuration is that there is no place for maintaining the overall customer picture, just pieces of the jigsaw in different places. So, it would be well-nigh impossible to answer questions like:

  • where am I acquiring my higher value customers from?
  • how is my latest email or catalogue campaign performing when most orders are placed without source codes via the website?
  • how do I know which of my dormant customers are worth trying to reactivate?
  • how many of my orders are coming from customers recruited this year, last year, and the years before?
  • how do I understand the ROI I am getting from each acquisition channel?

… and many more.

One solution to the data availability and quality problem is to introduce a customer data platform (CDP) that ingests data from all available online and offline sources and builds a single customer view. Marketers are increasingly focusing on first-party data to drive better customer experiences and marketing outcomes. More than half of marketers surveyed by Winterberry Group say cross-channel audience identification and matching is their highest priority. In fact, investment for identity resolution is projected to reach $2.6B in 2022, according to Forrester Consulting. So, it is no surprise that brands are taking this seriously and most want to create a single customer view.

A major part of what a CDP does is to undertake identity resolution; the process whereby data arriving from different sources is matched together using a range of different personal identifiers such as email, mobile, postal, cookie ID, customer number. The key consideration here is that the CDP needs to maintain for each customer a table of all known personal identifiers so that when a new one is introduced it can where possible be matched in.

The CDP then provides the single central source of truth about customer behaviour from which dashboards can run and analytics can be undertaken; it will also be used for activating multi-channel customer campaigns and for resolving GDPR questions.

 

Availability of skilled data analysts equipped with the right analytical tools

A large organisation like a bank will have upwards of 50 skilled data analysts, but with many smaller organisations it is often the case that they have one or none and rely on external resources to support them.

There are several reasons for this. Cost is a key factor and linked to that, the difficulty of putting a precise number on the value that a good data analyst can bring. Next the demand for analysis normally fluctuates, and a single analyst would always be facing feast or famine. Also, data analysts usually prefer to work in small teams so that they can discuss problems and learn off each other. Being the only data analyst in an organisation is a lonely position, and often they end up just cranking out reports and become dispirited.

A lot of the reporting can be resolved by introducing dashboarding technology like Tableau or Microsoft Power BI, but these tools still need to be configured to produce the right information.

However, dashboards and data visualisation tools can only take you so far. If you need some more complex analysis, or if for instance you want a propensity model to predict the next best offer to make to each of your customers, then a data analyst becomes essential.

To undertake more complex analysis the analyst will need good tools like SAS, SPSS, or R.

For the smaller organisations, the right solution could then be to outsource to an analysis company or to independent contractors, until demand has grown to a scale where the function can be brought inhouse.

 

A failure by the decision makers to frame the right questions for the analyst to answer

This issue is less frequently discussed but, in our opinion, not one to be brushed under the carpet.

A considerable amount of the work done by data analysts is wasted because someone does not spend sufficient time thinking about what the real problem is that the analyst should be trying to answer.

Einstein said…

“invention is not the product of logical thought, even though the final product is tied to a logical structure”.

Unravelling this statement in the context of customer marketing, we would suggest that the person who requests the analysis will succeed if they allow their imagination to fire up a range of conjectures that the logical analyst can then set about proving or disproving.

Some analysis is more mundane, but when for instance a business is contemplating several alternative strategic changes then the analyst should look at all the different scenarios that these would potentially deliver, and, as far as possible, provide the business with an understanding of their relative merits.

 

So, in conclusion…

From our experience it is fair to say that a large proportion, probably more than 50%, of medium size organisations involved in B-to-C marketing that we encounter have their customer data disconnected and spread across multiple systems. This is a problem that can be solved, and the costs are not frightening. A CDP will usually cost no more than 0.5% to 0.75% of sales.

However, setting up from scratch an internal insight and analytics department is challenging, and outsourcing will make economic sense until demand has grown. Also, the outsourced provider should have analysts with a very wide range of experience and skills.

And then how to ask the right questions of the analyst? We would recommend giving the analysts scope to try out different approaches, and to look at different angles to a question. Like this they are far more likely to land on an interesting and valuable solution.

[1] Data Distrust Report – the impact of data distrust on analytics projects and decision making published by SnapLogic in 2020, based on interviews with 300 US and 200 UK IT decision makers.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed. Our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


3 benefits of using personalisation in eCommerce

benefits of using personalisation in eCommerce

Personalisation in retail is nothing new. Retailers and brands have been treating their customers as individuals well before the advent of online shopping, and for good reason. Personalisation works. Personalisation helps stores anticipate their customers’ needs, save them time, and provide offers that resonate with them. In fact, research from Fresh Relevance shows that almost half of shoppers (41%) would drop a retailer who sends irrelevant offers and one in four actively want to be sent offers and recommendations based on previous purchases.

 

But what exactly is eCommerce personalisation?

Ecommerce personalisation is when eCommerce stores deliver personalised and relevant experiences throughout their website and across email, through dynamic content and product recommendations based on shopper data, such as location and past purchases.

Fresh Relevance partners with UniFida to deepen the level of personalisation based on the UniFida Customer Data Platform. UniFida provides identity resolution to build a single view of a customer and deeper insight and targeting such as customer value, dormancy, or responsive to price reductions.

This provides real-time behaviour and insight combined with the power to act on it and enable cross-channel personalisation.

Read on to learn about three key benefits of personalisation in eCommerce.

 

1. Personalisation increases conversions

In today’s crowded digital landscape, competition is fierce and keeping shoppers’ attention is becoming increasingly vital. Personalisation helps eCommerce stores create seamless, tailored experiences that reduce bounce rate and friction and ultimately boost conversions.

The average Fresh Relevance client doing web personalisation sees an 8% increase in sales. What’s more, research from Epsilon shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalised experiences. In fact, 74% of consumers actively feel frustrated when website content isn’t personalised.

Here are some conversion-boosting personalisation tactics for eCommerce.

Geotargeting

A shopper’s physical location has a big influence on their interests and needs when engaging with an eCommerce store. So, it makes sense to treat customers differently based on where they are located and use geotargeting tactics to ensure that they see offers most relevant to their current context.

Try adding details of the shopper’s nearest store for click and collect options on the cart page. Or display weather-based dynamic banners on your website and in emails to showcase appropriate products.

Product recommendations based on personification

Every shopper has different tastes and preferences. So eCommerce stores should take note and treat each visitor to their site accordingly to ensure they resonate with everyone.

To convert visitors into customers, try displaying ‘people like you buy’ product recommendations. This type of recommendation looks at the shopper’s past browse or purchase history and compares it with other shoppers who have viewed those products, using a machine learning algorithm to recommend the most likely eventual purchases. It appeals to the shopper’s desire to follow the wisdom of the crowd, putting their purchase decision into the capable hands of their shopping predecessors.

Shoppers can also have different preferences when it comes to price. A tool like Fresh Relevance’s Price Affinity Predictor uses AI to predict the price level that will appeal to each new website visitor, helping you recommend the most relevantly priced products and keep visitors on your website.

Triggered emails

Triggered emails are an effective way to deliver personalised, real-time content to shoppers at the moment they are most likely to convert.

Two types of triggered emails to add to your email marketing toolkit are cart and browse abandonment emails. These messages are triggered when a shopper abandons a browsing session or their shopping basket without making a purchase. The average Fresh Relevance client doing both cart and browse abandonment emails sees a sales uplift of 16%.

Other types of triggered emails proven to boost conversions include price drop and back in stock alerts.

 

2. Personalisation improves customer loyalty

Consumers have come to expect a personalised experience from retailers and brands, and are more likely to return to stores that fulfil this expectation. According to Salesforce, 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their personal needs influences their loyalty.

With a wealth of browse and past purchase data available at the average eCommerce store’s fingertips, it has never been more possible to foster customer loyalty through personalisation.

Here are some eCommerce personalisation tactics that improve customer loyalty.

Product recommendations based on behavioural data

Ecommerce stores can start their loyalty campaigns straight after a customer has made a purchase, with post-purchase emails containing product recommendations that complement the item they’ve just bought.

Making recommendations based on the customer’s frequently browsed and purchased product categories is another effective way to foster loyalty and resonate with existing customers. Including these types of recommendations in your email newsletters helps bring customers back to your website, and displaying them on the homepage encourages customers to keep browsing and make a purchase.

Welcome back popover

Ecommerce stores can help customers pick up where they left off when they return to the website by including a popover to remind visitors of their last viewed product. Customers will appreciate the gesture, as they do not have to waste time finding the product they searched for last time.

Replenishment emails

For customers who have purchased perishable products that will need replacing, such as medicine or cosmetics, triggered replenishment emails serve as a useful reminder that the time to reorder is approaching. This type of triggered email helps boost customer loyalty and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.

 

3. Personalisation encourages customer advocacy

Personalised experiences lead to happy customers, and happy customers often feel compelled to recommend brands and retailers they love to their network. A study by Forrester found that 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalised service or experience.

Beyond customers becoming advocates without any prompting thanks to a fantastic, personalised experience, eCommerce stores can use personalised post-purchase campaigns to encourage customer advocacy.

Try adding user-generated content (UGC) to your post-purchase emails to give customers inspiration on how to use or wear their new product, and let them know how to share their own UGC by telling them which social media channel to use and the relevant hashtag.

Post-purchase emails are also an effective way to gather reviews and ratings. Frequent buyers are an ideal source for positive reviews and ratings, so be sure to encourage them to share their experience by sending review requests.

 

Final thoughts

The eCommerce space is becoming increasingly competitive, and shoppers can switch to another brand at the click of a button. To convert and retain today’s consumers, providing personalised experiences isn’t a nice-to-have, it is essential.

A real-time personalisation and optimisation platform like Fresh Relevance helps digital marketers and eCommerce professionals drive revenue and customer loyalty. Combined with UniFida this enables identity resolution, single customer view and enhanced insights to enable cross-channel personalisation.

Download Fresh Relevance’s free eBook to learn more about building personalised experiences for your customers with Fresh Relevance.

This guest post was written by Fresh Relevance, a personalisation and optimisation platform for digital marketers.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed. Our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


CDPs provide efficiencies as well as effectiveness

We have been looking at an interesting report called ‘The State of CDPs, Q3 2020’ by Treasure Data and Advertiser Perceptions. The research is based on 101 respondents working for larger US companies, and reveals that CDPs provide efficiencies as well as effectiveness, however, to realise both takes time.

The CDP use cases for marketing effectiveness are generally well known, and this slide does not provide any real surprises:

top benefit of using CDP to manage customer data

What was more striking though were the improved efficiencies experienced by companies using a CDP.

significant impact where CDPs provide efficiencies

These efficiencies improve as companies have more time to get used to having a CDP.

To get full value from a CDP a company needs to adapt its marketing processes around it, and this takes time. To take a common example, there may have been one team dealing with owned outbound channels such as emails and direct mail, and another with paid digital advertising such as display, programmatic, SEM etc. and, another team managing the website content, optimisation and of course the data. In order to deliver the optimal messaging, customer experience and drive business value, all of these channels need to be merged to deliver a unified customer experience.

One area that does not change with CDP tenure is the freeing up of IT resources. This is because once the feeds into a CDP have been organised, and the CDP configured, IT should be able to take a step back and let the marketers take over. This all happens in the early stages of introducing a CDP.

CDP technology is an enabler allowing marketers to do things differently, and this change process will inevitably take time. This delay factor needs to be built into the calendarisation of benefits when developing the business case for a CDP.

This is a major component which is often overlooked by businesses when considering marketing or advertising technology such as a customer data platform, the people who operate and optimise it. Do they have relevant skills and experience to maximise the investment? Have you allocated time and budget to ensure a consistent coaching and development programme is in place?

Hence the considerable increase in satisfaction with CDPs seen amongst companies with more than two years’ worth of experience of using them.

satisfaction with CDP

If you are at the early stage of considering whether they should introduce a CDP, and would like help establishing the use cases for one, and quantifying the benefits, we would be only too pleased to offer support, without any charge. We have worked on many CDP business casing exercises and can help fast-track you through the process. We also provide in-depth training and support and hold your hand at every step to help deliver your goals.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Are customer data platforms affordable?

To determine if customer data platforms are affordable, will depend on who you are and who you are talking to. But if you are a typical large US enterprise then a reasonable cost for a CDP could be around $1m per annum.

Not many UK companies would be happy to pay that much, even if it did only amount to a few pence per customer.

We are concerned that there is a perception that CDPs are like private jets, the preserve of the very rich. In reality, CDPs come in many shapes and forms and to some extent this affects what they cost.

How much does a customer data platform cost?

We would like to feel that our cloud-based customer data platform is both functionally very rich, and at the same time extremely affordable. For instance, if you have 100,000 customers, would paying 27p per customer per annum be too much?

But more importantly than the cost, CDPs, if deployed well are a great investment. For instance, if your average margin on goods you sold was £20, then you would only have to sell one extra item for one in every 75 of your 100,000 customers to pay for your CDP.

Our clients have given us feedback on their returns from investing in our CDP, and they are seeing an increased contribution of between x4 and x8 the cost.
customer reviews on customer data platform affordability

We offer a free business evaluation service where we help you identify the use cases for a CDP, and then quantify the results.

Would you like to arrange a chat with us about this? Just email us and we can arrange a Zoom meeting.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Do you really know whether your company should install a customer data platform?

data from a customer data platform

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are taking the marketing world by storm – the Customer Data Platform Institute projects that marketers will spend $1.3 billion on them in 2020.

But the important question for your company is whether you would really benefit from having one?

So, what do CDPs really do? At a very high level they:
– ingest all available sources of online and offline customer data and build a deduplicated single customer view
– provide the capability to profile and segment customers
– enable personalised and consistent communications to take place across all channels by connecting your marketing technology
– support you in visualising customer performance

Do you really know whether your company should install a customer data platform? We have devised a simple 10-point questionnaire to help you understand whether your company could benefit from a CDP. It won’t be telling you whether should definitely should have one, as you will need a business case for that, but it will tell you whether CDPs are worth investigating.

QUESTIONNAIRE

If you want to start to find out more about what a CDP could do for your company then please order our free e-book CLICK


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Why we’re reselling Fresh Relevance’s personalisation capabilities

Why are we now reselling Fresh Relevance’s personalisation capabilities alongside UniFida’s customer data platform?

fresh relevance

One of the key uses of a customer data platform is to ensure that decisions made about how and what to communicate with each individual customer across any channel are based on one consistent single customer view.

UniFida’s customer data platform provides the single customer view, combining both online and offline data, and we have partnered with Fresh Relevance to use their personalisation capabilities for website and email personalisation.

So, what does this mean in practice?

Let us provide some quite simplistic examples (we are sure that you will be capable of creating some much better ones):

One of your dormant customers, Mr Smith, is browsing your website and we recognise him from his cookie ID, or because he provides an email address; Fresh Relevance has already been provided by UniFida with detailed information about Mr Smith’s past purchases, and can use that to remind him that he often prefers category ABC. And it does this in combination with a valuable offer should he decide to reactivate himself after not ordering for so many months.

Another customer Mrs Cook has filled her basket on several occasions but never gone as far as making a purchase online. UniFida knows that Mrs Cook is in reality a good customer who normally orders by phone. The website, powered by Fresh Relevance, then offers Mrs Cook the opportunity to chat to an agent, and to turn her basket into an order having discussed her potential purchase with one of your agents, who understands when chatting to her what she has liked to purchase in the past.

In a third case you decide to reward previously loyal customers who have not so far ordered this season. UniFida knows how much Mr Jones usually spends at this time of year, so Fresh Relevance can personalise an email that gives Mr Jones a discount based on his previous season’s spend. In this way the loyalty bonus is only offered to customers who have not ordered, and not wasted on those who have done already.

In reality there are thousands of different ways in which Fresh Relevance’s personalisation capabilities can work with a customer data platform like UniFida. The only limitation could be your fertile imagination’s capacity to come up with much smarter ideas.

What we like to do is to put these tools in your hands, so that you can experiment and find out what really works best for your customers. One thing we do know is that personalisation, when truly relevant to an individual customer, works wonders for your sales.

If you would like to talk more about personalisation and how to implement it for your business, please get in touch!

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Will there be an avalanche of consumer demand after lockdown?

It’s most likely that there will be a massive surge in many areas of the economy after lockdown, including consumer demand. So now is the golden moment for companies to prepare for this.

We know first-hand that many companies are putting infrastructure development projects on hold at present, when logic suggests that they should be doing the opposite. So when the bounce-back happens they are fully capable of taking advantage of it.

Often the reason for delay is cash flow, as this is also a time of unprecedented financial stress for many companies.

So if you are thinking about getting your technology for marketing upgraded to be ready for when consumer demand picks up after lockdown, we can make an offer that could help substantially.

If your interest is in getting hold of a fully serviced cloud-based customer data platform (CDP) at a moderate price, then we can offer you a substantial license holiday of at least three months if you can place an order in April or May. The free period will continue until the lockdown is over so it could be extended.

A CDP is capable of supporting B2C marketing in many different areas including:

– customer message personalisation that is based on a complete view of online and offline customer activity
– multi touch order attribution that tells you how in combination all your online and offline channels are performing
– customer value and customer retention dashboards so that you can confidently calculate how much you can afford to spend on recruitment
– dormant customer reactivation based on propensity models that tell you who is most likely to respond
– one click campaign results reporting to give you up to date news on how your different contact strategies are actually performing
– automated outbound campaigns responding to online and offline triggers

We can also help you with making a decision about whether or not to invest by helping you build the business case for a CDP at no charge, even if you do not proceed to purchase one from us when the work is done.

The last two business cases we developed for B to C companies showed a return on UniFida technology of between four and eight times the cost.

Please do take a look at how our clients have benefited by using UniFida, and also email us with a time that would work for you for an initial call to see how we could help.

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.