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Consumer data can be a powerful tool in today’s quest to win over a more powerful and shrewd buyer. While data has always played a large role in marketing, it’s become increasingly critical to help marketers make more informed decisions and develop more effective go-to market strategies.

But data can also be a thorn in your side. Most marketers don’t have enough (or the right) data to make sound decisions. In fact, just 6% of marketers say they have attained the single view of the customer that's necessary to support cross-channel marketing goals, according to the latest Signal Global Special Report from Signal Digital.

The survey—which polled more than 170 brand and agency marketers—discovered that while the majority of marketers comprehend the importance of having a holistic view of the consumer, they don’t know how to go about attaining it—and who can blame them? It’s not an easy thing to do for any business.

Gaining a single view of the customer is difficult, as consumers communicate with businesses through a myriad of channels run by different teams with different agendas. So how can you get a 360 degree view of your customer? Consider the following to help get a handle on your data:

Integrate Technologies

The majority of businesses have both a customer relationship management (CRM) platform and a marketing automation solution—both of which house important consumer data. Your CRM platform, for example, holds key business contact information, while your marketing automation solution contains behavioral consumer data. Try to find a way to combine both of these technologies so you can gain a “single” version of the truth accessible by both the sales and the marketing department. (Read some other benefits to integrating your CRM and marketing automation from Kapost.)

Continually Cleanse Data

Unfortunately, the data housed within your CRM and marketing automation can degrade pretty rapidly. According to our report, The State of Marketing Data, some 71% of 223 million business records analyzed contained some sort of error or gap in their contact data, such as a wrong or missing phone number, name, or email address. Bad data can affect even the best sales and marketing strategies. To combat rapid data degradation, make sure that you have a solution or strategy in place that continuously cleanses data. (Want to see how your data measures up? Try a Free Data Health Scan* from Hoover’s.)

Use Multiple Strategies for Gathering Data

Some businesses don’t have the problem of having too much data. Rather, they don’t have enough information to give them a complete view of their customers and prospects. It’s OK to just ask for name and email address in your newsletter signup if you can supplement it later with company name or job title at another touchpoint (this is known as progressive profiling, and the often-flawed assumption is that people will engage with your brand a second time.) In another method, proper lead scoring can help with discovering where your prospects are in the buyer’s journey.

If you don’t have enough top-of-the-funnel leads, think of some different ways to gather business contacts. You might want to consider, for example, gating some of your content assets. Or putting on a webinar in which attendees provide their contact information in order to register.

Gaining a single view of the customer is helpful in tracking customers and their communications across various marketing channel, from email to social. Use the strategies above to help gain a more holistic view of your audience, which might lead to improved customer service levels, better retention rates, and eventually might increase the overall customer lifetime value.

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The information and advice provided by Dun & Bradstreet in this article is provided “as-is.” Dun & Bradstreet makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to such information and advice and shall not be held liable for any damages arising from or in connection with your reliance thereon or your use thereof. The links in this article may take you to third party websites not governed by the Dun & Bradstreet privacy policy. Dun & Bradstreet is not responsible for products, services, or content located on third party websites.

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