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It may not be rocket science, but contemporary marketing is data science.

Everything about marketing today is prototypical big data. It’s about collecting and synthesizing data in near real-time to create customer profiles that offer the ideal content for each customer.

Successful businesses collect and synthesize marketing data to create compelling customer experiences (CXs). They leverage customer data platforms (CDPs) and digital experience platforms (DXPs) to build personalized profiles, propelling leads into an ongoing customer journey with their brands.

The most efficient companies also analyze their customers’ decision-making processes to help differentiate their services and products from the competition.

Yet, fewer than 40 percent of businesses collect or use primary targeting data effectively, or at all, to guide customer personalization. Your competitors’ lack of customer profiling data presents a window of opportunity to seize market share and customer loyalty.

It’s not as difficult as you might think to evolve your marketing team from data collectors to data scientists. All you need is an effective strategy and the right tools. Read on to learn how to implement this change.

Omnichannel customer data: What is it exactly?

The division between online and physical interactions has blurred. Whether they realize it or not, your customers prefer to be pampered with personalized content – no matter where and how they interact with your business. Customers are becoming used to a seamless, omnichannel CX.

What is omnichannel CX? Effective omnichannel CX represents a near-seamless company experience across every single touchpoint. Some examples include ecommerce and social media. Every interaction between your business and your customers, no matter how small, should be informed by previous ones.

Diagram showing different channel delivery modes

In other words, omnichannel customer experience requires the following data sequence:

  • Touchpoint customer data collection and storage
  • Customer data analysis and insight creation
  • Data-driven decision making and sales or service action
  • The frequency of customer engagement

All three steps are crucial. You’ll see diminishing marketing ROI across the board if you fall short in any of them.

Omnichannel customer data for personalization vs segmentation

It wasn’t always this complicated.

Before the new millennium, marketers collected data about customer experience directly – via sampled surveying or focus group. Macro-data collection like this was insightful. It allowed marketers to segment their market and create marketing content and experiences for different customer bases.

Surveying and focus groups certainly have their place in marketing today. Market segmentation still provides valuable insights. However, 24/7 customer interaction coupled with technology allows companies to collect individual, personalized customer data.

Personalized customer data is helpful for not only demographic-based segments, but also customer-specific analysis. In turn, companies can make data-driven, real-time decisions about customized content. They can target market a customer on any given channel, based on personalized data.

Collect and store omnichannel customer data using a DXP

Successful omnichannel customer data analysis requires choosing the right tool sets to help build customer profiles. CRMs are efficient tools for tracking customers through the sales process, but they are limited regarding personalized data analysis and customer experience evaluation.

Diagram of three customer profile benefits

Omnichannel-obsessed companies are migrating toward new cloud-based platforms to create and manage customer profiles. The best platforms are extensible, cloud-based, and built to be flexible with your marketing needs. Most importantly, they’re capable of collecting, analyzing, and providing guidance on customer personalization in near real-time.

Five tips to build customer profiles holistically

Building customer profiles based on omnichannel marketing data is an iterative process. Simply having the right tools won’t get you the results you seek. You need a strategy.

There are five tips you should keep in mind to build valuable and accurate customer profiles. Follow these marketing tactics to ensure you set up a helpful system for personalized, data-driven marketing, earning the highest possible ROI from your marketing spend.

1. Collect and use the right data

You will collect an insane amount of data if you set up your omnichannel surveillance correctly.

Possessing loads of data about each customer is great! You want to have records of every customer’s experience with your company. You can focus on specific experiences leading to a sale or changes in customer behavior, allowing you to determine the impact an experience had on your customer relationship – good or bad.

However, data overabundance can also be a curse. You need to collect everything, but constantly test and streamline which data and touchpoints are higher priorities and should have more weight in your personalization strategies.

You want to focus on using data that reveals customer preferences, attitudes, values, pain points, and interactions. Figure out which data highlights these five customer attributes, and make decisions based on those datasets first.

2. Track customers to meet them where they are going

Use your data insights to stay patient and move customers along the sales journey at their own pace.

Omnichannel customer data allows you to track where a customer is in their relationship with your company and serve content appropriate for that time and place. Use this information to plan future interactions – before they happen.

Use a DXP to analyze individual journeys separately and in conjunction with other customer datasets to make strategic decisions about what marketing strategies are likely to work best. Use your data insights to focus on the long game – building brand loyalty and a positive customer experience not just now, but in your future transactions too.

3. Treat customer profiles as living documents

People change. Customer preferences, attitudes, values, needs, and preferred interactions will too.

Treat each customer profile as a living document. Make sure you revisit the data and are keeping abreast of subliminal, subtle changes that the customer may not even notice. Treating profiles as living documents allows you to experiment with new promotions and potentially upsell customers based on their preferences.

Using a system with automation and behind-the-scenes, AI-based suggestions can help your team identify new traits and opportunities.

4. Use customer journey insights to determine highest-impact experiences

Maximize ROI by analyzing which specific CXs are resulting in the most appreciated interactions with each customer. Once known, automate these high-yield interactions and prepare personalized content beforehand with the help of a DXP.

Use insights from other similarly segmented customers to funnel new prospects into similar customer journeys with high conversion rates. Start customer journeys off based on templates, allowing for built-in customization as you collect more touchpoint data.

5. Use profiles to inform and inspire future content creation

Use profiles to segment and analyze new potential markets. Data will show you a ton of information that may highlight new demographics and markets to target. You may discover that specific channels you thought performed well are underperforming for particular segments. Refocus your investment and energy on different types of content to optimize some of these new channels.

Build customer profiles to maximize overall ROI

You can build and maintain profiles from omnichannel customer data using centralized, extensible cloud-based software like Optimizely DXP. A DXP will collect customer data from every touchpoint and create on-the-fly, data-driven customer portfolios for you. Your marketing team will be able to experiment with personalized content and sales strategies – in real time – to meet your customers’ needs.