This article was written by Iris Meijer – CMO, Vodafone Business.

Today data is an integral part of every marketing strategy. Customers have become used to a certain standard of personalised service and there are a multitude of brands able to give it to them.

In fact, some brands have built their entire business on doing just this – think of Amazon and Airbnb, who offer what seem like bespoke services with the sole purpose of meeting the needs of their individual customer.

Understanding your customer on an individual level and being able to offer them personalised experiences has come to define marketing in the 21st century, and this is sending waves of disruption through every industry.

According to Vodafone’s 2019 Global Trends Report, 85% of business leaders agree that customer needs are changing rapidly. Almost everyone surveyed (93%) also agreed that customer expectations are increasing.

This really should be a golden age for marketers everywhere, with so much data to work with. But the sheer amount available is posing its own unique challenge – how do we analyse all of it to ensure our campaigns can cut through the noise and deliver real results?

Closing the information gap

When commencing a new campaign, of course the first thing a marketer needs to do is identify as much relevant data as possible. But despite the abundance of information available, there is still a significant gap between what a marketer wants to know about their customers and what is available to them.

But this information gap is closing.

Currently, more than 80% of the world’s data is in the form of unstructured data, meaning it’s difficult for traditional programs to understand it.

However, this is changing with significant developments in AI programs, such as Forge.AI, which are capable of deciphering these mountains of data. And as our ability to merge structured and unstructured data improves, as will the opportunities to deliver new and better insights.

If marketers want to close this gap even further, they should consider incorporating the following elements into their data strategies:

  • Integration: Combining different data sources together will help create a fuller picture and deliver better insights
  • Think cross channel: Work out how to bring these insights into play across every customer touchpoint
  • Measurement: Measuring and benchmarking campaigns is essential. Part of marketing in a modern environment is constantly learning and adapting your technique to get the best results
  • Transparency: In a digital world, trust is everything. Customers should know how you plan to use their data, and feel secure in the knowledge that you will treat their privacy with the utmost respect.

And what’s the reward for getting this all right? A deeper level of personalisation that is context aware, meaningful and genuine – as well as a better relationship with your ever more discerning customers.

When it comes to data, think bigger

It might seem like enough of a task to integrate all that data and somehow muster engagement across digital channels, but the effective use of data is more than just a digital game.

The growth and evolution of big data is offering marketers the chance to super-charge existing strategies. Location intelligence for example, has been part of marketing strategies for decades, but now big data is enabling real time, actionable insights that update automatically with each fluctuation in movement.

For brands with a bricks and mortar presence, this offers truly exciting possibilities. JLL, an international real estate services provider, provides advice to businesses on the best locations to base new outlets to maximise their success.

Using Vodafone Analytics, JLL is able to use anonymised data to analyse patterns in the way that people move around cities. This helps to inform brands on the optimum places for their stores.

Making data work for you

Data underpins the experience expected by the modern consumer. So, customer understanding is no longer just a means to an end, it’s an ongoing commitment. It must be every CMO’s job to establish customer experience as a key objective across all functions.

The personalisation opportunities that data offers is a big part of this capability. But combined with a collective will to pursue the best customer experience, brands have the potential to create an enduring competitive advantage.

Interested in connecting your business with Vodafone?

Get the personalised service your business deserves. Request a call from a Business Specialist today.

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