The path to data-driven customer loyalty is long but very rewarding

In a world where businesses need to compete for every consumer dollar in uncertain times, driving customer loyalty is critical. The lifeblood in your business is the marketing data that flows from many sources and has the power to drive revenue, increase loyalty and drive customer satisfaction.

According to McKinsey, businesses who embrace and regularly use marketing data are also almost three times as likely to generate above-average turnover growth as competitors who evaluate their data only sporadically.

However easy it sounds, the path to marketing-data driven nirvana can be paved with tricks, risks, pitfalls and barriers unless you have the right advice and expert knowledge to get there.

When trying to harness the power of marketing data, the first step many marketers take is to look at their CRM. It is the backbone of managing customer relationships and interactions

Behind your marketing CRM is the CDP or Customer Data Platform that consolidates and integrates data from multiple sources with different functions. The CDP is the vault that holds all that data and then supplies it in the right format to analytical, marketing and operating systems. In other words, the CDP fuels your CRM with the data it needs to drive revenue, increase loyalty and drive customer satisfaction.

Then, quite often, companies target their top 20-30% of customers with a loyalty program. Loyalty programs are often integrated with all customer touch points including POS, social media platforms, your app and website. Marketers often make loyalty membership an objective of the CRM program.

So all you need to do is work with your IT team to connect your POS platform to your loyalty system and CDP, then feed the transaction data to your CRM right?

Well, no. It sounds simple, but the possibility for failure is high unless the CDP integrates with other systems, your data is homogenous, up-to-date and clean, the loyalty system rewards the right behaviour, the CDP supplies data the right way and your CRM is set up to actually meet your business needs.

A key component to success lies in the middle of all systems and programs: making sure your data is fit-for-purpose is critical. It’s of paramount importance that your current data is examined, that all data sources are audited, and key duplication sources are identified. Then your data team has to work out what kind of data is to be excluded from either your CDP or from various platforms. Finally the data needs to be cleaned of old, incomplete or inaccurate records then a merge of sources or databases can take place.

If the data going into any system is sub-standard, the customer experience will be sub-standard.

Imagine this: your business is about to merge with another, both businesses have data management systems, both have loyalty systems and CRMs and between the two there are about 25 heterogenous systems that gather customer data. One businesses’ loyalty program is updated using data batched which means updates are slow and not linked across Australia, the other has a large number of customer files. In fact, between the two businesses, there are 700,000+ customer files and millions of transactions. The loyalty building and marketing potential from all this data is incredible.

But if the systems overlap, the data is either lacking or there is a lag in processing it, the customer experience will be compromised. DCA was faced with this exact scenario for a client and the path for getting it right was complex. The solution took over 6 months and involved a deep link of consultation and analysis with the client.

Our client, Mitre 10, acquired Home Timber Hardware (HTH) to form the Independent Hardware Group (IHG) and we needed to create a loyalty system that kept the customer experience seamless. Our team of data experts put both businesses and their systems under the microscope and determined that the best approach, which was to take 6 months, was to:

1. Set up a tight and intense communication process.

DCA data experts conducted several extensive scoping sessions and workshops with key stakeholders. We consider this the cornerstone of success in any data-driven project. It’s the team, their knowledge and the way they approach system design and data management that will ultimately steer the course of the project.

2. Choose one system and make it work.

Quite often we see clients trying to bolt together and “fix” several systems in a sort of software pastiche that is hard to service and expand. In this case we constructed a roadmap that entailed expanding the operations of the existing HTH system to include Mitre 10’s Mighty Rewards

3. Specify data, technological and functional development.

The last part of the process is to list all the data, technological and functional developments, realistic and bespoke up-time guarantees and agreements and to set business rules for the management of real-time data.

The temptation for any marketer, data specialist or IT professional is to start with tech or functional development lists. However, our DCA experts start the big picture in mind as they conduct detailed analysis, establish deep communication and consolidate systems to make the path to data-driven loyalty much smoother and, ultimately, deliver a better experience to every customer.

Blog Categories