Article

Linus Gregoriadis
Linus Gregoriadis 28 January 2019

Customer analytics – how to stay ahead in an ultra-connected age

It is becoming increasingly clear that modern-day consumers expect first-rate experiences and will find an alternative if a brand isn’t delivering. Meeting the expectations of customers in an ultra-connected age is increasingly dependent on the ability to harness data and insights about their behaviour and needs in real time.

Whatever business sector you or your clients are operating in, great customer interactions are built on a foundation of strong analytics. This is a key takeaway from new research published by Adobe, produced in partnership with Digital Doughnut sister company London Research and based on a survey of more than 1,800 business professionals.

The report — Customer Analytics: The 20 Attributes that Lead to Business Success — identifies a group of customer intelligence ‘leaders’, made up of around a fifth (22%) of responding companies whose capabilities are classified either as ‘established’ or ‘advanced’.  

Drawing from this report, here we outline some of the key characteristics of companies that have reached more advanced levels of customer intelligence maturity. 

Below are the five company attributes that London Research found to be most strongly correlated with customer analytics success.

#1. A complete view of customer interactions

A major hurdle preventing many companies improving the experience throughout the customer lifecycle — and across different channels and devices — is the inability to get a holistic view of customers across all touchpoints.

Our research shows that customer analytics leaders are two-and-a-half-times more likely than laggards to have a complete view of all customer interactions with their brands.

Companies without this capability are typically held back by a siloed approach to marketing and associated technology, with disconnected point solutions resulting in fragmented data and an incomplete picture of customer activity.

An ignorance of what customers are doing often results in a ‘spray-and-pray’ marketing approach that fails to take their interests and behaviour into account.

This type of marketing is no longer sustainable at a time when the technology is there to help understand what kind of content prospects and customers are most responsive to, what channels they use, and how they can be targeted most effectively.  

#2. Using digital analytics technology to its full potential

Our research has also found that leaders are three times more likely than their peers to be using digital analytics technology to its full potential.

It’s one thing to have the right technology in place, but the ability to get full value from it requires the right kind of experience and expertise.

Organisations must work to ensure they’re using the full range of functionality that best-of-breed analytics packages can now offer, so that the foundations are in place to deliver the right kind of personalised experiences at the right time.

The best analytics platforms don’t just collect the data available from different touchpoints and channels, they also provide the insights and prompt the actions that result in improved return on investment (ROI) from marketing and advertising activities.

Which leads us nicely on to another key attribute that’s inextricably linked with customer analytics success.

#3. Ability to harness predictive and prescriptive analytics

As consumers dealing with brands or as individuals engaging with B2B organisations as part of our working lives, we increasingly expect companies to anticipate our needs and requirements.

For marketers this means having the strategies and frameworks in place that enable the creation and orchestration of relevant experiences at appropriate points of engagement during the customer lifecycle.

Our research found that leaders are 124% more likely than laggards to be carrying out predictive and prescriptive analytics, strengthening our belief that real-time decisioning and triggering of the most suitable types of communication and messaging are vital for business success.

Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, the best analytics technology is now even better equipped to take insights from data to prescribe precise actions automatically through the marketing technology stack.

What do these actions look like? Analytics should be working in harmony with related software such as email, marketing automation, content management, personalisation, and audience segmentation tools.

Your analytics platform should also be helping your business allocate marketing and advertising spend more effectively, through sophisticated attribution modelling that looks beyond the last click.

#4. Having the right analysts and data scientists in place

Leaders are almost two-and-a-half times more likely to have the analysts and data scientists they need to make the most out of their data. 

While analytics technology can increasingly turn data into insights and actions, analysts and data scientists can help to ensure that the right kind of questions are being asked to fully capitalise on the technology.

As well as the ability to manipulate vast amounts of data and solve complex problems, analytics professionals and data scientists also need the commercial awareness to focus on areas that will have a tangible impact on the business.

#5. Investment in skills to get the most from digital technology investment

The research found that lack of skills (40%) is the greatest barrier preventing customer analytics laggards from building a deeper commitment to digital analytics and customer intelligence, narrowly ahead of company culture (39%) and lack of investment in data capabilities (36%). 

Core data skills are required to get the most value out of analytics software and to make sure the right types of process and integration are in place to translate customer intelligence into commercial benefits.

For sustainable success, analytics should be employed widely through the organisation, so that it isn’t just confined to the analytics department.

Leaders are 86% more likely than their peers to invest in the skills they need to get the most from their digital technology investment.  

Download Customer Analytics: The 20 Attributes that Lead to Business Success from Adobe to learn more (registration required). 

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