The potential held in the single customer view

10 min read by Charles Craik 6 Mar 2023

CMO Times- Single Customer View

The time has come for marketers to invest heavily in identity-based solutions on the journey to the lucrative ‘single customer view’ across all channels.

This goal is made more challenging as attribution solutions are under deeper scrutiny than ever, and privacy-driven tech restrictions are tightening in favour of consumer data security and identity protection.

However, the pursuit of the single customer view, despite its obstacles, is one well worth embarking on, as rewards and returns in revenue and repeat custom are undeniable. But where do you start? Well, with a clear understanding of what it is, and why it is so important.

What is the single customer view?

Also known as a unified customer view or a 360-degree view, the single customer view (SCV) is the collection of data about prospects and current customers that is merged into a single record.

This gives you and your marketing team one single point of truth and a powerful overview of every action your customers have performed on your website, on your mobile app and even in your offline store.

You can create a single customer view in most customer data platforms (CDPs) and this can be used to centralise user information. It’s accessible to all the teams that need it, from sales to marketing and aftercare.

Why is it important to have a single customer view?

A unified customer view enables organisations to deliver truly personalised and effective marketing, plus first-class, proactive customer service. It also provides every team with accessible, fully up-to-date customer information, which facilitates better decision-making and reduces time spent searching for information.

A SVC also supports in your pursuit of legally watertight privacy regulations and compliance.

It’s important to remember, however, that attaining the SCV is not an end in its own right; this view alone is not a silver bullet to transform marketing efficacy. It is the combination of the SCV with the actions from those insights to deliver the right message at the right time that comes from the application of data analysis and smart thinking. By using data to link customers’ on and offline identities, the SCV becomes the platform on which you can build all your cross-channel marketing activity.

What data usually feeds into a single customer view?

There are a wealth of software applications on the market to help you collect the information you need to build a single customer view by connecting data sources to your CDP.

The data you collect will depend on your business and its objectives and data sources. But typically, the key types of data marketers may opt to feed into their single customer view could include:

  • Personal details and contact information
  • CRM data
  • Website and mobile app activity
  • Personal details and contact information
  • Information about product usage
  • Purchase history
  • Transactional data
  • Interactions with customer support
  • Marketing preferences
  • Communications

Stay compliant

Your SCV is a great way of ensuring you’re compliant with data regulations. Once you have all your customer history and permissions documented, it’s simple to ensure that your marketing respects everyone’s preferences.

You can also easily run Subject Access Requests (SARs), or process a Right to Erasure request, knowing that all the relevant data will be picked up, without missing anything.

But this means that you need to know what your data policies are, to ensure that they’re properly implemented. Your SCV can automatically delete data after 6 years if that’s what your privacy policy says, but you’ll need to make sure it knows what to do and also know where the data is held on other systems, as part of your data audit.

What are the top challenges or threats to creating and maximising the potential of the SCV?

Poor data quality

The quality of your data is critical to the successful application of your SCV. Without it, achieving a workable SCV is impossible. So before you begin, it’s important to make sure your data is in good shape.

So how do you ensure your data is in top condition? Firstly, your marketing teams need to align with your data processing and collection team to gain a strong understanding of how and where data is collected from. This will enable them to have input into the SCV and challenge where they suspect human error may be contributing to inaccurate data.

Implementing a central data management strategy to ensure that everyone in the business has a complete view of each customer and their first party data is critical. If that complete view is then paired with external, third-party data, you’ve got an extremely powerful tool to create new opportunities that drive highly effective marketing initiatives. Depending on the size and scale of your central data management strategy, you may wish to employ a Chief Data Officer or a Chief Marketing Technology Officer to oversee the development of the strategy over time.

Siloed marketing and sales departments

If your marketing team and its specialisms work in silo, on a channel-by-channel basis, you’ll struggle to meet the demands of the modern day consumer. This is where the focus should move from channel specific KPIs and metrics to targeting a customer segment with the communication style and method appropriate to them.

Ensuring your marketing team is fully integrated with strong and constant awareness of the activities across all channels is the best way to deliver game-changing results and a customer-centric outcome.

Linking the right technologies

With every quarterly strategy seems to emerge a new technology or platform we ‘ALL HAVE TO USE’ – which means different channel teams use different tech to talk to customers. Linking all these together is a huge challenge faced by marketing teams far and wide, and the solution comes hand-in-hand with breaking down departmental silos and then moving all communications to converge from a single location. This will enable you to treat your customers as people rather than individual touchpoints. This will also help you to join up your data.

And finally

A SCV is even more important post-pandemic, where the need to attract and retain customers with personalised right message/right time targeting has only increased in the already fiercely competitive ecommerce space.

The SCV doesn’t just help CRM and marketing teams, but the whole business, supporting data compliance and governance as your data is held within one system.

If you’re at the beginning of your journey towards the SCV, it can be a difficult vision and you may have multiple views of customers across platforms but it’s important to determine your single point of truth and integrate platforms.

If you’d like to find out how we can support you in achieving the SCV and then applying it to personalise your marketing strategy, speak to us today.

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