The Three Biggest Customer Intelligence Barriers Holding Back Brands

AnalyticsCustomer Experience

As part of Adobe’s Expe­ri­ence Fes­ti­val event, I dis­cussed cus­tomer intel­li­gence, and the rea­sons why some brands are hold­ing them­selves back from ful­ly lever­ag­ing the pow­er of ana­lyt­ics. Many brands agree that strength­en­ing their cus­tomer intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties is a key pri­or­i­ty: cus­tomers today want more than just prod­ucts and ser­vices, they also want per­son­al and enrich­ing expe­ri­ences. Robust intel­li­gence helps brands under­stand their cus­tomer to pro­vide the sort of expe­ri­ences that keep them com­ing back for more.

How­ev­er, a big num­ber of brands are get­ting frus­trat­ed in their attempts to build a sol­id ana­lyt­ics frame­work, and are learn­ing the hard way that good ana­lyt­ics requires a lit­tle more work than sim­ply run­ning a report in Google Ana­lyt­ics. That’s not to say that pow­er­ful ana­lyt­ics is out of reach for any brand – many com­mon frus­tra­tions have sim­ple solu­tions! Speak­ing with a num­ber of peers across the indus­try, these are the three most com­mon chal­lenges that I come across, as well as my tips for over­com­ing them.

  1. Lack of data con­sis­ten­cy

The ulti­mate goal of ana­lyt­ics is to deep­en a brand’s under­stand­ing of their cus­tomers. How­ev­er, this requires a 360 degree view of any one customer’s inter­ac­tions with the brand, which can be hard to obtain in today’s frag­ment­ed data envi­ron­ment. As audi­ences move across chan­nels and devices, it becomes dif­fi­cult to track their activ­i­ty in a con­sis­tent move­ment, with each plat­form trac­ing their move­ments in dif­fer­ent ways. In the case of “walled gar­den” envi­ron­ments, a closed envi­ron­ment where access to data is con­trolled by the provider, audi­ences can drop off the radar all togeth­er, depend­ing on the data that these plat­forms chose to make avail­able.

Brands wish­ing to gain the cov­et­ed 360 degree view of the cus­tomer need to be able to cor­re­late and stan­dard­ise their user data across chan­nels and touch­points. This is where an invest­ment in a ded­i­cat­ed ana­lyt­ics solu­tions pays off and shows the dif­fer­ence in val­ue to a free tool. Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­ny Swiss­com com­petes on expe­ri­ence rather than price. By using Adobe Ana­lyt­ics, the busi­ness has been able to cre­ate a uni­fied pic­ture of cus­tomers as a start­ing point for build­ing these inter­ac­tions. Swiss­com uses the plat­form to fur­ther refine its com­mu­ni­ca­tion through sophis­ti­cat­ed A/B test­ing, and even draws from its Machine Learn­ing com­po­nent in Adobe´s arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence frame­work Adobe Sen­sei to pre­dict what sort of con­tent and expe­ri­ences will res­onate most with any giv­en cus­tomer. As a result of this more strate­gic approach, Swiss­com has achieved a 40% increase in its cam­paign response rate.

  1. Organ­i­sa­tion­al silos

Frag­men­ta­tion out­side a com­pa­ny is one thing, but frag­men­ta­tion with­in a com­pa­ny can be just as frus­trat­ing. And unfor­tu­nate­ly, it is just as fre­quent. Ana­lyt­ics has evolved from an activ­i­ty that was once the sole domain of dig­i­tal mar­keters, to an under­tak­ing that is now rel­e­vant – if not cru­cial – to the busi­ness as a whole. How­ev­er, for many com­pa­nies, inter­nal struc­tures have not yet caught up.

In an ide­al world, all depart­ments should be using insights to pow­er bet­ter deci­sion mak­ing, and a stan­dard­ised pool of data should be cen­tral­ly avail­able across the com­pa­ny. And yet the real­i­ty is often quite dif­fer­ent, with data typ­i­cal­ly gath­ered in siloed, or else con­cen­trat­ed in one par­tic­u­lar area of the busi­ness.

This is not always the case, of course, and some com­pa­nies are lead­ing the way with their data-dri­ven cul­ture. Just look at elec­tron­ics com­pa­ny RS Com­po­nents. Also an Adobe Ana­lyt­ics cus­tomer, RS Com­po­nents shares insights from the plat­form with the wider work­force, using inno­v­a­tive tools like Slack. The com­pa­ny also encour­ages indi­vid­ual data matu­ri­ty through a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram whose lev­els are – in an effort to make the process more engag­ing – inspired by dif­fer­ent astro­nauts. This pro­gram is dri­ven through­out the entire organ­i­sa­tion, not only mar­ket­ing, which fur­ther under­lines the company’s data-dri­ven spir­it.

  1. Too much data, not enough resources

Com­pa­nies see the huge poten­tial of data, which is why they are scram­bling to col­lect it in the high­est vol­umes pos­si­ble. But, the chal­lenge remains – how to make use of all of it?

This is where Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI) and Machine Learn­ing can help. Sen­sei can save time and effort by auto­mat­i­cal­ly flag­ging anom­alies, or com­par­ing seg­ments to instant­ly high­light rel­e­vant dif­fer­ences. This func­tion­al­i­ty helps brands get the most out of their data with­out need­ing to hire a whole team of data sci­en­tists. For exam­ple, Sky UK uses Adobe Ana­lyt­ics and Adobe Audi­ence Manger to gain a deep­er under­stand­ing of its cus­tomers by mon­i­tor­ing and bring­ing togeth­er real-time cus­tomer data across chan­nels. The busi­ness is then able to use Adobe Tar­get, along­side Sen­sei to analyse its tremen­dous vol­ume of cus­tomer infor­ma­tion to dis­cov­er the rec­om­men­da­tions, ser­vices and expe­ri­ences that will best res­onate with each cus­tomer, at scale. Through this process the busi­ness is able to draw a direct line from cus­tomer intel­li­gence to per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ences.

Invest­ing in an ana­lyt­ics solu­tion can also help com­pa­nies make bet­ter use of their data by inte­grat­ing with oth­er mar­ket­ing tools, like cam­paign man­age­ment solu­tions or con­tent man­age­ment sys­tems, allow­ing insights to be auto­mat­i­cal­ly reflect­ed in adjust­ments to cam­paigns and expe­ri­ences.

Cus­tomer intel­li­gence has the pow­er to com­plete­ly trans­form a busi­ness, and a future-focussed ana­lyt­ics strat­e­gy is essen­tial to com­pete in today’s expe­ri­ence-led envi­ron­ment. Brands know they need to get ana­lyt­ics right – it’s sim­ply a mat­ter of lay­ing the right foun­da­tions for cus­tomer intel­li­gence suc­cess. The good news is, with the right cul­ture and lit­tle help from tech­nol­o­gy, brands will be well on their way to unlock­ing the full poten­tial of cus­tomer ana­lyt­ics.

You can lis­ten to the full pre­sen­ta­tion here.

Analytics, Customer Experience
Axel Schaefer

Posted on 04-04-2019

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