Customer-Centric Marketing: a 360 Degree View of Your Customer

Obtaining a True 360° Customer View

  1. A true 360° view of your customer must include every interaction they have with your brand not just clicks on your website or things they have bought.
  2. The number of customers in your database is not the same thing as the number of transactions that you have. Knowing your true number of customers especially active customers is very important
  3. Getting a centralized view of your customers becomes difficult because data vendors do not like to work together making collecting all your data seem impossible.
  4. To reasonably identify a person in your database you need their Name and at the very least one of either Email or Physical Address. Collecting and having both types of addresses is great and an added bonus would be Phone Number.
  5. More variety of data is more important than just sheer accuracy and the fact that each data source works together is  even more important, because predicting who is going to do what is not from one channel or one technology it really happens when you are combining all these things and that’s customer 360.
Below is a lightly edited transcript of Episode 26 of the Inevitable Success Podcast.


Damian: Welcome to the Inevitable Success Podcast sponsored by BuyerGenomics, where our goal is to help you, the marketer, make success inevitable. Each episode will discuss the craft of data-driven marketing, helping you uncover new and profitable ideas. You will also learn what works and what doesn’t work from top marketing professionals and thought leaders. I’m your host Damian Bergamaschi and inevitable success starts here. So here we are at BuyerGenomics headquarters here in Manhattan, New York. As a marketer, almost every single month and week I am seeing messages where the entire marketing team — especially the marketing software space — is starting to use words like “True View of the customer,” and “360 degree view of the customer.” Marketers are using words like “customer centric.” Today I want to go deep with you and peel the onion on what it really means to be customer-centric in your marketing. And, how do you discern, what is an apples to apples comparison between those terms? How do you identify which one of those you really need; customer centric, 360 degree view, or TrueView? Okay, so kick it off. Stephen: Well those words all mean the same thing. But there are wrong usage of the word, or right usage. And another way to say that is there are a lot of poseurs out there. Let me just say it. Damian: Yeah we covered that before, the data posers. Stephen: Well for the analytical term, but these are blunt lies spoken by software companies, let me go that far. I know because when Dave and I ask them “What kind of a segment did you mail to last time?,” they say. “Anybody who clicked something past 30 days.” OK. So you have a one-channel view that’s not customer 360. Customer 360 means that everything that you did, every breath you take basically — not just what you click that’s a digital view. Damian: What about offline view? Stephen: You know one of the things that I often question is how easy it is for you to integrate data through our toolset in the CRM space. Well, isn’t that the first step? I don’t care if somebody bought it from online or offline. Yes, I want to record it differently. But if the same person went to the store, or next time he figured, “I don’t need to go to the store, I know what I like,” so he ordered online. What is he? How many times did he really buy from you, once or twice? How many items he buy? What is the average order on online or offline? You got to be able to answer all of these things without, “Oh I have to call some people to figure it out.” Damian: Right. So timeout, I think — and I don’t want to put words in your mouth — I think where you’re going with this is, “Do you even know how many customers you have. Is it D-duped. Stephen: Oh yeah. I know that’s a dead giveaway. Do you know how many customers were active with your brand last 12 months, 24 months, like today? Do you know this? Damian: Right. That’s not the same thing is how many transactions. Stephen: Oh God no, because even Google stops at transactions. Maybe Google does not want to go to the P.I. realm and stops there, fine, they have everything, so I’m sure they chose not to do it. But most of the other players they stop at browser’s e-mails cookies. They’re not people they’re transactions, at best. So what is a customer-centric database? Let’s just start with why you need it. Customer centric marketing is the whole idea is that you have to pamper each customer. And if you don’t even have a view of what the person did in another channel but some digital data that is easy to collect, then you’re only looking at a fraction of that behavior, that person’s behavior, to make some conclusions. And you know sometimes it’s not wrong, but all I’m saying is, that’s not customer 360. And customer 360, let’s define it in a philosophical way first. What it means is that it is not division-centric. And by the way, that happens all the time, like “Oh I’m selling this particular product. So I don’t care what other things that the person is looking at. I just have to sell this thing.” That’s division-centric mindset. The other view is that “I’m a digital manager and I heard that there is the other side of the building there are people who worry about all the offline sales. I don’t care, ‘cause you know why, I’m a digital guy.” It sounds even cooler that way, like oh you’re still in the offline space? Those are the guys who kind of have a snotty attitude about those things. But do they have a customer 360? No. You have a glimpse of a person through the digital channels, you don’t have a full view. So first of all you have to throw that out. Brand-centric, division-centric and channel-centric. Toolset-centric, that’s sad because the other day I met a prospective customer who asked me all those questions about “Oh, well we have two different POS systems, one for online, one for offline. At least she recognized that that’s a problem. She couldn’t find a vendor that could combine the whole view for her and even tell her how many people are active. And forget about that, we want to answer questions like “Who’s more likely to respond to such and such offer through what channel, when?.” That’s the kind of stuff that we want to answer. Damian: Why is it so challenging to combine those disparate data sources? Stephen: Because all these vendors don’t want to work together, somebody has to come in the middle. Damian: You’re just calling everybody out today. Stephen: Because I’m angry. I’ve been angry for 20 plus years because of this. Damian: All right. I hope you can hear the passion in his voice right now. Stephen: This is a problem and I am on the side of the marketers. I want to do the right thing by the way. (Did you hear that? I pounded my desk?) I want to be on a side of the customer and the marketers and I don’t want them to be bound by technology or limitations of the toolset to do the right thing. So how we do this? We want to minimize how much data will flow from here to there. In other words, let’s not gobble up everything. Damian: That’s a little counter-intuitive right? Stephen: It is currently, but if you know your business goal. What is our goal? Sell more things to people. That’s the goal isn’t it?. And to do that, what do we do? You have to talk to people. When you do that, you have to decide; Who should I talk to? And if you really decided I want to talk to somebody through a channel, then what are you going to say? Damian: It sounds like my preparation for this podcast. Stephen: If you go to anything, any meeting, you cannot just show up. You have to know what you want to say right. Marketing is the same way. Now, if the marketing decision is about those things, you really do not need to know everything all the time. The important thing is that the standardized data feeds from multiple sources and have a true 360, even with the limited view, is more important than having a lot of data in one corner. A lot of other types of data in another corner, or something is really locked into some digital channel, and nobody else can get in and you have to make decisions based on just that. So going back to the first example that I made. You have all the so-called state of the art targeting tool and your segment looks like how many people clicked on something last 30 days. It’s not the limitation of the tools that or the technology to send out emails. It’s the limitation of the data. So let’s free the data first. Let’s construct our view… Damian: How do you free the data? What does that mean? Stephen: That means you have to overcome the barriers, it’s more like the process of breaking down the barriers, so I don’t care if the one pure system only collects offline or the online whatever. let’s find out what we need to do. For example… Damian: Basically it’s putting everything in one database Stephen: Exactly, but not everything. Damian: But databases that speak to each other, but you can query. Stephen: Exactly, but you have to put some translation into it, because something that will be lost in translation. What do we need to predict what people are going to do next. The best predictor of the future behavior is really the past behavior. And what is the path behavior? Well some people say on a pure online space every click that they make. That’s fine too. That’s like equivalent to if it’s your offline space and I want to follow every step, we talked about camera-on-your-shoulder last time. Is that predictable? Yeah, if your goal is to plan the store out, the whole store traffic pattern, then yes that’s cool. You’ve got to follow every click. If the goal is to have a unified view; let’s start with who bought it, what they bought, how much they pay for it, and when that happened. And lastly through a channel online, offline? But let’s go father. Is there a web browser, mobile browser, mobile app store? In the store, how do they check out? Automated checkout, or a person whatever. The point is, we’ll just take them all and I don’t care where it is coming from. But if you have a commonality of those things and put it in one place then a lot of really good intel will be unleashed. And I’m not saying this because I just want to be preachy today or against other tools at companies. I’m doing this because I’m really sad about the fact that with all these tools out there, they claim that “Well we’re going to ingest everything and have a different view,” and “We’re going to predict what they’re going to do next based on what we mail today. I’m going to read all that automatically and that’s the best you can do?” Or it’s that “You clicked on what in past 60 days. 90 days, that’s it?” No! Damian: I feel like you’re even being generous when you say who clicked on, because the fact that you’re saying “Who” is that you even know the person that clicked. Stephen: Well, some people consider an email as a person, but some people have multiple emails. Damian: OK let’s me go there, At what point would you say I know who that person is? Stephen: Well that’s a project in itself, but you know if you want to be serious about customer 360, don’t pretend that you were in that game if you’re just using cookie ID or some hatched email or things like that. Damian: Well let me put it this way right because I’m generally curious about this now it’s got me thinking. How many levels of unique data inputs do you need to be like “That’s who that person is”? Is it a first name, last name? Go down the list. What would you say is a core requirement to say that’s a person. Stephen: I don’t need all of it, but let’s say I need two out of three of the following: well name is just a given. By the way, do you know how many times I have to argue with our client who says “Oh I just want hand raisers, and I just want to collect that email and nothing else.” Sir, if you collect the email how are you going to address that person later on? Are you going to say Dear Sir every time? Good luck having them respond to you!Unless you want to just copy and paste your HTML and send that as an email. You need a name! And number two you need an address. If they bought something you should know their address. If not, then how about email address? I’ll take either one, if you have both, great. Damian: Interesting. So email address and physical address are kind of almost viewed at similar levels. Stephen: And on top of that, a cherry on top, is maybe phone number But phone number all by itself is not a reliable source of matching because there are just too many disparities and bad phone numbers out there. And there’s cell phone numbers versus home phone numbers, so those millennials don’t get the phone number, but still. Damian: I actually think — this is my own personal opinion — I think that over time, I think a phone number will be rise to be a pretty good identifier Stephen: Yes it will, because all those are millennials only getting cell phone numbers anyway and down the line in 20 years maybe the phone will disappear and we’ll have some kind of a communicator from Star Trek universe. In that case “Captain Picard to starship” or whatever. Then you just have to wear something, in that case it’s okay, but we’re not there yet. Damian: Correct. StephenSo again this rule will change, but I don’t want to create a false sense of security where some company will say “Oh just I’ll just use an email as a proxy.” Do you know how many emails I have? I have a lot. And by the way, we can even tell the difference between frequently used email, email for shopping, email for important documents, email for work. We all have all that property in our mind. And you know what? If are watching a person defined, by say a name and address, and have all these emails attached to that person, we can even rank them that way. Damian: Yeah it’s funny. That is definitely come up in the past with clients, they say “OK, well I got my segment and I have three emails on file now — which that’s something I wouldn’t have known before without a technology like that — but they have to make decisions about that or the tool has to. Stephen: You have to define it first. Let me go off on a tangent for one second about the B2B. It’s the same thing in B2B. What is an entry? You sell it to business right? Is that a headquarter or holding company or the site? Because one company could have multiple sites and people in it. Well a lot of people quit and get a new job in about 30 plus percent of people leave jobs every year. But that’s not a reliable match source. So in the B2B situation we the targeting on a site level that may be the same company in California the same company in New York maybe they behave differently. In that case the contact name that everybody thinks “Oh that’s the holy grail, that’s this binding thing in the sales force and all that.” No, for one-to-one marketing, know you’re selling to the company and then when you select the company based on all these different criteria — behavioral characteristics — you rank people in it. Am I going to send this email to the C-level people, or the mailroom guy, or a purchasing manager or whatever? Or the I.T. guy? That’s a secondary decision. In a household or individual match it’s the same thing. So yes, the whole definition of customer 360 is nothing but what is the most common denominator. When you sell something, who do you want to talk to? If you decided that then you have to arrange the data source regardless of the technology and platform, put it in one place and don’t move the mountain please, just  the bare minimum that can be shared. Again, the keyword is a common denominator in one place and mash it. And this is what happens. Now I can tell, say Damian your average spending in a sporting category is this__. You spend this much money in a sporting category versus apparel category. That way, regardless of the channel. You want to get into channel? “Damian spends 80 percent of his purchasing on online and 20 percent on an offline. Now that’s 360 Knowing that. OK. So when he buys expensive golf club he’s an offline buyer. When he repeat orders a golf ball, he’s an online buyer. All those thing just come out. But if you have a very myopic channel-centric view, you’d think that Damian is just buying cheap balls every week online. That’s all you see. Damian: You are angry. Stephen: I am angry. No, I’m not angry, I’m just passionate. People say all this advanced analytics and all these fancy words. Words don’t mean anything unless that data is unleashed and there’s enough platform where it can work together. I’m a firm believer that no one data set or data kinds are the winners. All this data, when they’re put together is the best way. In other words, online offline, there’s no judgment. And there are people that are in the digital space that just look down upon offline data. No, we have a bedding company, and I look at the online/offline purchases live. And you know what I see? When they buy $5,000 bed set from Italy, I’m sorry, they’re not buying it online. So if the value selling more to more people is your goal, no, you don’t judge based on channel technology, you base it on the customer value. That’s what you have to do. A lot of these things are changing mentalities, not just changing technology or whatever. I’ll give an example, I’d been helping one of the big banks in New York, a long time ago and they had a customer-centric view, even in the early 80s. But you have to wonder, why these banks send out a platinum card offering a gold card offer to the same household in the same month if they have that view?  Do you know why that was happening? Because the mentality of the division managers is, “You know what this guy score high for gold card. I’m going to own that name,” and the platinum card guy’s like “Oh he scores high and has a great credit and he’s rich so I’m going to send platinum card.” They don’t talk to each other. So who cares about customer-centric view? It doesn’t matter because your mentality is blocked by divisional selfishness if you will. You gotta break that. Damian: That was a great story. Stephen: It was a real story, too. But the point is, the mentality has to change first, then know what to move around and what to consolidate because in this data business you know what’s more important than sheer accuracy? So what if you’re actually in one little corner of the digital channel or offline channel. Consistency is more important. More variety of data is more important. And the fact that they work together is more important, because the prediction of who’s going to do what is not from one channel or one technology it really happens when you are combining all these things and that’s customer 360. Damian: We have to leave it off right there. You did it. Well, till next episode thanks everybody. Thank you, if you enjoyed today’s episode we ask you please leave a rating and write a review. 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