Data is everywhere, and the amount of data we use is growing exponentially each year. As an industry, database marketers are getting smarter, more efficient and technology is changing the game. But as our data sets grow in size, effective database management can be tricky. Some standard practices are needed to ensure you’re getting the most from your data. One standard practice that we’d recommend, and that every good database marketer should strive for, is called the single customer view.
Once upon a time, we just threw data into a database. Data would come from various entry points – online forms, in-store transactions and product reviews, to name a few. We took no time to correlate the data or consolidate it into singular customer records and what we had was messy but worked for our one-touch, one-channel marketing offers. Today, with the volume of data available and the expectation that marketing campaigns will be multi-channel driving multiple response vehicles, the most skilled database managers would recommend a strict policy for data entry that minimizes duplication and fragmentation of records. When these practices are followed, databases can produce for marketers the treasured single customer view, a consolidated record for each individual consumer.
There are several benefits to being able to produce such a record. For one, it makes analysis of your population much easier and more accurate. Without understanding potential duplication within the dataset, counts could be misinterpreted and reporting would be faulty. Without the single customer view, the data would need to be thoroughly cleaned before it could be analyzed or reported on...every time.
A second benefit of keeping a database with single customer views, is it allows marketers to provide a more customized experience for consumers. Here is an example of how this could be impactful:
John was a pet owner and joined the rewards club at the local pet store, which then added him to the store’s membership database upon joining. Later that week, John went online and completed a survey for the store, where he indicated he had a pet cat. But, because the pet store’s database did not produce a single customer view, they did not have that information available when reviewing his membership record, and sent him a coupon for dog food instead of one that would have been more beneficial for his pet cat.
In that scenario, had the pet store kept their customer information in a single view format, the information John provided on the survey would have been consolidated with his membership information and allowed the store to easily see John should have received the coupon for cat food instead.
Obtaining a single customer view may require an overhaul of your database practices, but in the long run, it will prove immensely beneficial for your reporting, analysis and marketing programs. If you would like your database maintenance practices to be reviewed by the experts, reach out to us at B2E. We’d love to help you out!