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:

how data is in different 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.


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.


Why your own first party data is so important

There are many reasons why first-party data is so important, but your recognition of it may be at risk of being drowned out by the clamour of people selling recruitment media, particularly digital and programmatic media.

To us the case for first making best use of your own customer data trumps all other media purchase decisions. Here are just four reasons why first-party data is so important.

  1. It’s free and uncontrovertibly yours (as long as it’s properly permissioned)
  2. It allows you to develop very personalised relationships with each of your customers, and hence unlock as much value as is possible from them
  3. It can help you understand what is really driving your new customer recruitment, particularly when multiple online and offline channels play a part in your recruitment marketing
  4. It can support your overall business planning based on understanding the longer-term value provided by each customer segment

To allow you to obtain that customer value you need to ensure that your single customer view contains all your customers’ online and offline behaviours, linked by all the available personal identifiers.

You also need marketing technology that joins all this together, so that there is one complete version of the truth about each customer that can be used by all your marketing applications.

 

This is why we suggest you need to consider installing a customer data platform or CDP

To help develop an understanding of what a CDP can do for your marketing we offer three complimentary services.

  1. Data duplication testing: Identify how many duplicate customer records you have. Understand the impact of wasted spend on marketing.
  2. Suppressions run report: Identify and suppress individuals who have moved away or deceased.
  3. Business casing exercise: Identify and develop use cases and financial evaluation. See the opportunities and map out the ROI prior to any commitment.

Contact us to find out how UniFida’s Customer Data Platform could add value to your business.

 


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.


The far from simple task of responding to a subject access request

What’s the full process and GDPR requirements when responding to a subject access request?

When individuals call into your fulfilment centre, or reach you via email or letter, with a request exercising their rights under GDPR, they will be triggering what is, in reality, a complex process. They may alternatively be directly accessing your on-line privacy portal, using self-service, but the steps that they will follow will be broadly the same.

 

Here’s a 10 step guide to all the process intricacies involved when responding to a subject access request

 

Step 1: Have all your data relating to each individual that your organisation deals with joined together into a single customer view

This will need to include on-line data you are holding like pages browsed linked to cookie IDs, as well as off-line data such as transactions. To make matters more difficult, the personal data may be held in an unstructured form such as emails or reports. It will be far beyond the capabilities of most organisation to have the unstructured data pre-packaged as part of the single customer view, but you will at least need the capability of searching for it.

 

Step 2: Identify that the individual approaching you is who they purport to be

If they reach you by email or letter, you will most probably have a requirement to verify them by checking on some other identifiers you may hold, to avoid handing over personal information to the wrong recipient or making false changes to the information you hold on someone.

 

Step 3: Be able to access what some people are now calling a consent vault

This is the place where all the opt-ins and opt-outs are held. GDPR has defined the information you need to hold about each consent that has been provided, such as how it was obtained and what statement the individual is agreeing or not agreeing to. The consent vault will, we expect, naturally form part of the single customer view. However, as well as holding the individual consents you will need to interpret them so that you can inform Mrs Smith of what, as things stand, you may or may not use her data for. We suggest developing a set of ‘traffic lights’ that work off the consents already provided, and which give clear guidance about what types of activity may be undertaken by which channel.

 

Step 4: Allow Mrs Smith to change her consents

This is going to be much easier if you have the traffic light system as Mrs Smith will have a clear idea of what is in place for her now, and hence what she might want to change. The new consents or withdrawal of consents will need to be data captured and potentially a record of that change sent to Mrs Smith.

 

Step 5: Mrs Smith asks for a copy of all the information you hold about her

A relatively easy step if you have the single customer view in place, but a much more difficult one if you don’t. And then if you have unstructured data referring to Mrs Smith this will also need to be searched. There are technology tools around to help your search process if the amount of unstructured data is very considerable or spread over several different systems.

 

Step 6: Mrs Smith sees her data and wants to correct it

The corrections will need to be data captured and the changes will need to be communicated to any systems that are upstream of where the single customer view is being held. Good practice will, we expect, be to send Mrs Smith some form of notification of the new details you are holding.

 

Step 7: Mrs Smith exercises her rights to data portability

You will then have to provide her data in machine readable format to another data controller that she specifies. We envisage creating an HTML or equivalent file, and sending it to Mrs Smith by email. The data transferred should include not just data provided by Mrs Smith but data generated by you.

 

Step 8: Mrs Smith exercises her right to be forgotten

In this case, you can maintain any non-personal data like transactions relating to her, but you have to delete or overwrite any personal data like email, mobile phone number, postal address, cookie ID etc. As well as deleting them in the single customer view, you will need to inform the upstream systems of the request so that they can do the same thing.

 

Step 9: Take account of Mrs Smith’s requests when it comes to further processing of her data

She may have opted out of profiling, which means that you will not be able to manipulate her data using algorithms to make decisions concerning what you do or do not want to say to her, or what offers you want to make to her. She may alternatively not have provided positive consent to be emailed, so you must not include her in email campaigns etc.

 

Step 10: Maintain an audit trail of what has been done with respect to responding to her subject access request.

We suggest that these actions are most conveniently recorded as part of the information held in the single customer view. In this way, you can meet any challenges from an individual or the ICO concerning how you are managing the GDPR processes.

 

We have developed our own cloud-based technology, called UniFida, to support clients in fulfilling such individual requests.

Contact us if you’d like our help with this.

 


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 you having a digital identity crisis?

Back in the ‘70s, it was de rigour for cool people to be undergoing an identity crisis, and this involved trying to fathom out who the hell one was, why one had been put on the planet in the first place, and what other people would make of one’s extraordinary persona. Roll forward to today and you are more likely to have a digital identity crisis which involves losing one’s user names and passwords, or worse still having someone else steal them.

The very concept of identity has mutated into a set of letters, numbers, and codes by which organisations can recognise us as unique individuals; so much for the soul searching of previous generations.

The recently enacted GDPR tacitly assumes that identity crises have been banished, that organisations and individuals can immediately recognise each other, and that there is never a problem in tying together all the personal information that lies behind different doors, accessed by recognising identifiers like email address, cookie ID, mobile phone number etc.

This clearly is not the case, and for it to change, organisations are going to have to put in place a much more sophisticated process for identity recognition; something that we call a digital passport.

As we frequently change many of our identifiers e.g. get a new mobile phone number, different email, new tablet etc. an organisation needs to maintain a historic record of all means by which we have previously communicated our persona to it. This historic set of identifiers can then give us the best chance of recognising an individual when they appear through one of our many communications channels.

Developing this kind of digital passport is something that we have made a key component in the design of UniFida, our cloud-based single customer view technology.

Are you having a digital identity crisis? Contact us if you’d like to find out more about how we can help your organisation.


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.


Play on! UniFida CDP signs its first premier league football club

UniFida CDP signs its first premier league football club! We are pleased to announce that a premier league football its using our Single Customer View software.

UniFida allows the club to pool data in one environment, providing technical and non-technical users access to cross channel data and drive their own insights.

Contact us to find out how we can help your company.


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.