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Chris Laas
Chris Laas

In our third article in our Catapult series on omnichannel personalisation, we talk about why and how you should centralise and leverage all data sources to deliver personalised experiences.

I have worked with a wide variety of different organisations over the last 15 years, with varied levels of digital maturity. One of the most common areas for improvement that I come across, is the need for a single customer view. Too many organisations are collecting data from a wide range of sources, such as sales, marketing and customer service tools but are not centralising it. This is putting them in the position where they cannot fully leverage the full power of it. 

Think back just five years and the number of data sources you were able to collect data from was far fewer than what we have now, and it is only going to grow more. Just think about the IoT, as more and more consumers engage with different devices, the amount of customer data is going to expand exponentially. If you have not yet addressed this issue, it is something you need to focus your time and energy on soon, especially if you intend to deliver truly personalised experiences to your customers.


The key advantages to centralised data

To deliver a truly successful personalisation plan, it has to be heavily data driven. You need to centralise all your data and make sure that your customer data can be easily distributed to any channel or external tool. There are a number of advantages or reasons for doing this, especially when it comes to personalisation: 

  • Better privacy management – A single view of your customer means a single view of privacy, a critical and challenging matter when it comes to personalisation. Not only do you need to be on the right side of legislation, but you also want to respect your customers wishes when it comes to their right for privacy.
  • Segmentation that is accurate – When you come to segmenting your audience down into different Personas or contextual, behavioural or demographical attributes, you will have a greater understanding of each consumer or user to ensure the segmentation is accurate.
  • More detailed Personas – As you start to assemble more data on each of your customers, from the various data sources you have, it will become apparent just how granular and detailed a Persona you can create on each of them. With such detailed Persona’s the content and experiences you serve to your customers can be far more tailored to their needs.
  • Improved identity management – In order to deliver more tailored and personalised experiences, you need to be able to manage your customers data easily and quickly. Building a single customer view gives you that advantage, where you can access the most relevant information you need in a single location.
  • Slick marketing functions – Ask any marketer, fragmented pockets of customer data are a nightmare and they just add to the time (and therefore cost) of running a slick marketing function. When you have a single platform, with single customer view, you can connect all your systems together thus providing a content hub that will act as the base for the delivery of customer experiences.

Centralise all your data sources

As discussed in our previous article, there are a variety of different software that you can choose from, for example; Adobe Experience Cloud, Episerver Commerce and Content Cloud or Sitecore Experience Platform, which will comfortably handle a scaled up personalisation plan. All these organisations offer you products to centralise your customer data as well, such as Data Management Platforms (DMP’s) or Customer Data Platforms (CDP’s), namely:

  • Adobe Data Management Platform - A data management platform that merges the touchpoints and traits that define your customers and reveal their journeys with your brand. You can use this intelligence to build unique audience profiles for sharper targeting and more personalised experiences.
  • Episerver Customer Data Platform - A customer data platform that allows you to import external customer data to your Episerver solution. You can store and use this data to create segments and personalisation rules.
  • Sitecore Experience Database – A database that smashes data silos to get a full 360-degree view of all your customers. It is the cloud-ready, big data repository included in Sitecore Experience Platform.

These are just a few examples of platforms you could invest in, but there are others on the market that may be better suited for your unique needs. Our advice is to do your research and the required due diligence, as this is not an area you want to have to change in the future.


Enabling you to better leverage your data

These platforms enable you to aggregate and organise customer data across a variety of touchpoints to be used by other software and systems for marketing efforts. They empower you to leverage everything you know about each customer by:

  • Collecting interaction data from all channel
  • Importing external customer data into your solution
  • Storing data for each individual customer, over their entire lifetime
  • Powering smart personalisation, A/B and multivariate testing, and optimization
  • Showing you the value of visits and how people are navigating through your content
  • Running on your server or in the cloud, with huge storage capacity

This short video on Adobe Audience Manager (a product that is part of Adobe Experience Cloud) shows you, by way of example, how you can better leverage centralised data using segmentation, audience traits and a variety of different data sources:

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