Tag Archives: customer data
Is 2015 the year retailers start seeing operations differently, simply by changing one word?
It’s happened before. Years ago, we used to say “multichannel” when referring to customer touchpoints across many different platforms. The new buzzword is “omnichannel,” which focuses on all customer touchpoints working as one to appeal to digitally-connected consumers. Omnichannel provides a cohesive brand experience that helps create customer loyalty and communication.
For 10 years, STORES Magazine has been making insightful predictions about the retail industry. This year, STORES predicts that leaders in the retail industry will stop saying “ecommerce” and just call everything, in all channels, “commerce.”
Would you see your operations differently if you were to call everything “commerce,” instead of breaking out each channel by where the consumer makes a purchase?
The “e” in “ecommerce” stands for electronic. But retail order fulfillment cannot always be electronic, nor can all customer service be electronic, or your supply chains, or every channel. Ecommerce as we define it today is growing, and while its growth is often a favorite topic in the retail industry, it’s just part of the picture. In the US, $10 out of every $11 is spent by consumers in-store, according to e-Marketer.
Keep in mind that it’s the growth of ecommerce that gets the attention of retail industry leaders. Because of this growth, do you see ecommerce becoming a bigger part of your business and your revenue? You would not be alone in this expectation. Online retail sales in the US will reach $294 billion this year, and by 2018 are projected at $414 billion, according to Forrester Research’s US eCommerce Forecast published last May.
Retailers will plan to focus on ecommerce more and more as its growth – and importance to revenue – continues. What retailers may not be ready for, especially retail marketers, is that a plan to focus on ecommerce is by definition a plan to focus on data quality. Ecommerce is driven by customer communication. Retailers successfully drive sales via email marketing, SMS mobile messaging, and direct mail. Response rates to this communication drive the success of ecommerce by driving sales.
For example, email marketing triggers mobile purchasing more than any other communication method, including social media, app traffic, and paid search, according to a 2014 Custora report. The same report found that over one-third of all visits to ecommerce websites originate from mobile devices. Valid mailing addresses ensure that a customer’s order arrives on-time as expected, which is important when same-day delivery is becoming a bigger and bigger way for retailers to stay competitive.
A customer’s email address, phone number, and postal address lead retailers to a better understanding of that customer. Better communication that leads to loyalty and revenue starts with contact data that is valid and reliable.
All retailers know the value of acquiring and retaining customer data. Keeping that information correct and up-to-date is an ongoing challenge, however. Verifying and correcting customer contact data using a real-time service that is reliable, up-to-date, and authoritative on data quality is essential for retailers to succeed in growing revenue through ecommerce.
To learn more, join Informatica’s Data as a Service and Retail experts Thomas Brence and Donal Dunne in this recorded webinar.
The holidays that just passed weren’t the only thing to celebrate, according to historical trends. As we moved from December into 2015, how many of you were seeing a lot more engagement announcements on Facebook, or even became engaged yourself?
December is the most popular month to get engaged (according to wedding website TheKnot.com), so it’s likely many of us gearing up for the typical spring/summer calendar full of weekend weddings.
While December is not known as a big month for weddings, it is a big time for jewelers, including the months leading up to it. Diamonds, gold, and other fine jewelry become very popular purchases at this time.
Fine jewelry is an emotional buying decision, which you can see from the jewelry store commercials that evoke sentiment for our loved ones.
But that emotional pull to purchase diamonds, gold and precious stones could be changing significantly.
Diamond sales are down this year – but what is up? Technology-related gifts, including smart phones, tablets, and other functional devices. To understand why, all you have to do is think about the ages of people getting engaged: 18-34 year-olds.
People in that age range who are getting engaged right now just aren’t drawn in by the emotional purchase of fine jewelry anymore, if they ever were. They value technology purchases.
But it’s not just function over form. The emotional motivation behind a purchase (whether technology or fine jewelry or any high-dollar item) is always there.
“Status for this generation isn’t about money — it’s about attention,” said psychology professor Kit Yarrow in a recent Pacific Standard magazine article. Therefore, a smart phone is considered a better gift (and better use for the money) than fine jewelry, since it allows you to share your life and stay connected much more than a gold and diamond ring can do.
As the article notes, using technology to create “an everlasting Facebook album from that scuba diving trip in Bali says so much more than one lone photo of a pave diamond necklace.”
WHAT FUELS YOUR BUSINESS DECISIONS?
The average decision process for a consumer making a purchase is estimated at 80% emotional and 20% rational, according to an annual customer loyalty report from Brand Keys.
It’s interesting to think that the car in your garage, or the shoes on your feet, could have ultimately been something you felt you wanted (80%), and then justified the need for later (20%). Brands, especially in the luxury market, depend on this ratio.
This realization brings us to your business planning as we begin 2015. What guides your business decisions as a data-fueled marketer: emotions, or rationale?
How do brands make decisions about how to operate, what customers to market to, where to locate stores, what marketing campaigns to do, and many more strategic plans? It needs to be much more in the “rational” category – but how do you do that as a data-fueled marketer?
As consumers, we are emotional creatures without even realizing it. That can be a habit we bring to other things in our lives as well, including decisions at work.
Since your customers still have emotional reasons for making a purchase or using a service, the only thing that should be emotional is your messaging to your customers; not your planning. Creating customer profiles and making decisions from them should never be solely a ‘gut feeling’ or only based on your professional instincts.
At the same time, we all know that in our work, over time we develop good instincts about what we do. We learn to trust our sense of what will work or won’t work in the market, or in the supply chain, or within product development – whatever it is you do. You can never ignore that, because no one can completely predict the future with total accuracy. You have to trust your experience and knowledge to lead you.
Turn the 80/20 ratio on its head, and instead focus 20% on emotional thinking and 80% on rational thinking. Make your brand’s business decisions and planning based on good data.
Who are your customers? Where do they live? What do they do and what are their preferences? Basing the answers to these questions only on what has worked in the past, or what you think your customers should want, will only lead to bad business decisions.
The first step, however, is to know that your customer data is valid and complete. Gartner estimates that 40% of failed business initiatives are due to bad data. Validate, correct, and enrich your customer data before you use it. Then as a truly data-fueled marketer, you can use the 20/80 ratio properly and steer your brand to a great 2015.
This year, the irresistible pull of digital marketing met an unstoppable force: Girl Scout cookies. It’s an $800 million-a-year fundraiser that is only expected to increase with a newly announced addition of digital sales.
The New York Times reports that beginning in this month and into January, for the first time, the Girl Scouts of America will be able to sell Thin Mints and other favorites online through invite-only websites. The websites will be accompanied by a mobile app, giving customers new digital options.
As the Girl Scouts update from a door-to-door approach to include a newly introduced digital program, it’s just one more sign of where marketing trends are heading.
From digital cookies to digital marketing technology:
If 2014 is the year of the digital cookie, then 2015 will be the year of marketing technology. Here’s just a few of the strongest indicators:
- A study found that 67% of marketing departments plan to increase spending on technology over the next two years, according to the Harvard Business Review.
- Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will outspend CIOs on IT-related expenses.
- Also by 2017, one-third of the total marketing budget will be dedicated to digital marketing, according to survey results from Teradata.
- A new LinkedIn/Salesforce survey found that 56% of marketers see their relationships with the CIO as very important or critical.
- Social media is a mainstream channel for marketers, making technology for measuring and managing this channel of paramount importance. This is not just true of B2C companies. Of high level executive B2B buyers, 75% used social media to make purchasing decisions, according to a 2014 survey by market research firm IDC.
From social to analytics to email marketing, much of what marketers see in technology offerings is often labeled as “cloud-based.” While cloud technology has many features and benefits, what are we really saying when we talk about the cloud?
What the cloud means… to marketers.
Beginning around 2012, multitudes of businesses in many industries began adapting “the cloud” as a feature or a benefit to their products or services. Whether or not the business truly was cloud-based was not as clear, which led to the term “cloudwashing.” We hear the so much about cloud, it is easy for us to overlook what it really means and what the benefits really are.
The cloud is more than a buzzword – and in particular, marketers need to know what it truly means to them.
For marketers, “the cloud” has many benefits. A service that is cloud-based gives you amazing flexibility and choices over the way you use a product or service:
- A cloud-enabled product or service can be integrated into your existing systems. For marketers, this can range from integration into websites, marketing automation systems, CRMs, point-of-sale platforms, and any other business application.
- You don’t have to learn a new system, the way you might when adapting a new application, software, or other enterprise system. You won’t have to set aside a lot of time and effort for new training for you or your staff.
- Due to the flexibility that lets you integrate anywhere, you can deploy a cloud-based product or service across all of your organization’s applications or processes, increasing efficiencies and ensuring that all of your employees have access to the same technology tools at the same time.
- There’s no need to worry about ongoing system updates, as those happen automatically behind the scenes.
In 2015, marketers should embrace the convenience of cloud-based services, as they help put the focus on benefits instead of spending time managing the technology.
Are you using data quality in the cloud?
If you are planning to move data out of an on-premise application or software to a cloud-based service, you can take advantage of this ideal time to ensure these data quality best practices are in place.
Verify and cleanse your data first, before it is moved to the cloud. Since it’s likely that your move to the cloud will make this data available across your organization — within marketing, sales, customer service, and other departments — applying data quality best practices first will increase operational efficiency and bring down costs from invalid or unusable data.
There may be more to add to this list, depending on the nature of your own business. Make sure that:
- Postal addresses are valid, accurate, current and complete
- Email addresses are valid
- Telephone numbers are valid, accurate, and current
- Increase the effectiveness of future data analysis by making sure all data fields are consistent and every individual data element is clearly defined
- Fill in missing data
- Remove duplicate contact and customer records
Once you have cleansed and verified your existing data and move it to the cloud, use a real-time verification and cleansing solution at the point of entry or point of collection in real-time to ensure good data quality across your organization on an ongoing basis.
The biggest roadblock to effective marketing technology is: Bad data.
Budgeting for marketing technology is going to become a bigger and bigger piece of the pie (or cookie, if you prefer) for B2C and B2B organizations alike. The first step all marketers need to take to make sure those investments fully pay off and don’t go wasted is great customer data.
Marketing technology is fueled by data. A recent Harvard Business Review article listed some of the most important marketing technologies. They included tools for analytics, conversion, email, search engine marketing, remarketing, mobile, and marketing automation.
What do they all have in common? These tools all drive customer communication, engagement, and relationships, all of which require valid and actionable customer data to work at all.
You can’t plan your marketing strategy off of data that tells you the wrong things about who your customers are, how they prefer to be contacted, and what messages work the best. Make data quality a major part of your 2015 marketing technology planning to get the most from your investment.
Marketing technology is going to be big in 2015 — where do you start?
With all of this in mind, how can marketers prepare for their technology needs in 2015? Get started with this free virtual conference from MarketingProfs that is totally focused on marketing technology.
This great event includes a keynote from Teradata’s CMO, Lisa Arthur, on “Using Data to Build Strong Marketing Strategies.” Register here for the December 12 Marketing Technology Virtual Conference from MarketingProfs.
Even if you can’t make it live that day at the virtual conference, it’s still smart to sign up so you receive on-demand recordings from the sessions when the event ends. Register now!
Reliable shipping is something customers take for granted, and never more so than during the holidays.
Peak season is here, and delivery companies have plans in place to successfully deliver every last package:
- The USPS added delivery on Sunday and Christmas Day this year, after last year’s double-digit rise in package volumes during peak season.
- In December alone, the United Parcel Service (UPS) forecasts it will deliver 585 million packages, an increase of 11% over last year.
- UPS is also investing $175 million for its peak season preparedness plan, and will add 95,000 season workers (which is nearly 10 times the number of Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, employees in 2013).
- According to the National Retail Federation, 44% of consumers will do their shopping on the web, which translates to a lot of deliveries.
For retailers, that means a lot of addresses in your company’s database. This will lead to a copious amount of deliveries.
The big rise in deliveries this year got me thinking: What would the holidays be like if there were no such thing as a postal address?
It’s safe to say, the holidays would be a lot less cheery. With our current reliance on mapping applications, it would be tough to get from home to the new toy store and back. Sadly, a lot of holiday greeting cards would get stamped “return to sender.” And without mapping applications or GPS, it would take a little more effort to get to grandmother’s house this year.
I think the only person who would be successfully delivering any gifts this year would be Santa (since he has his own rooftop-to-rooftop accuracy built in with his magical sleigh.)
Of course, one of the biggest places impacted would be the retail industry. The peak season at the end of the year is the time for retail businesses to make or break their reputations.
With the increased volume of deliverability, what mistakes might occur if all address data suddenly disappeared?
In a season without address data quality, your reputation and company could suffer in a number of ways:
- Faulty addresses mean a weak customer database
- Erroneous shipping means you’ll paying for delivery, returns, and re-delivery
- Loss of customers and hurt reputations during peak sales time
A truly data-centric company treats address data as the foundation for customer information, and this would be more challenging to do without quality address verification.
In a peak season without address verification, I imagine companies would have to turn to alternative means to estimate locations and distances such as the geocoding process from Google Maps, which would leave them at a few disadvantages as delivery trucks navigate the icy roads during wintertime.
Informatica’s Address Validation offers these benefits that Google Maps’ geocoding does not, including:
- Address validation and corrections
- Availability as an on-premise solution for customer security and privacy
- User-friendly experience as a leader in lookup and cleansing for 20+ years
- Exact geocoding for properties (not estimates or approximations)
- Partnership with the Universal Postal Union and all five existing global postal certifications
Approximate locations and uncertified data won’t cut it when customers expect on-time delivery, every time. Along with these benefits that make it invaluable for customer shipping and other postal mail uses, Informatica’s Address Validation sets the standard in 240 countries and territories.
Luckily, we do not live in a world without address quality. It is possible to ensure every last package and parcel makes it to its destination on time, while making it to grandmother’s house on time, sending greeting cards to our whole list, and bringing home lovingly selected gifts from the store to wrap and tuck under the tree.
How do you measure how your company is rating with its customer address quality? You can get started with this ebook from Informatica, “Three Ways to Measure Address Quality.”
We have a landing! On November 12, the Rosetta probe arrived at its destination, a comet 300 million miles away from Earth.
Fulfilling its duty after a 10-year journey, Rosetta dropped its lander, Philae, to gather data from the comet below.
Everything about the comet so far is both challenging and fascinating, from its advanced age – 4.6 billion years old, to its hard-to- pronounce name, Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The size of Gerasimenko? Roughly that of lower Manhattan. The shape wasn’t the potato-like image some anticipated of a typical comet. Instead it had a form that was compared to that of a “rubber-duck,” making landing trickier than expected.
To add one more challenging feature, the comet was flying at 38,000 mph. The feat of landing the probe onto the comet has been compared to hitting a speeding bullet with another speeding bullet.
All of this would have been impossible if the ESA didn’t have serious data on the lofty goal they set forth.
As this was happening, on the same day there was a quieter landing: Salesforce and LinkedIn paired up to publish research they conducted on marketing strategies by surveying 900+ senior-level B2B and B2C marketers through their social networks about their roles, marketing trends, and challenges they face.
This one finding stood out to me: “Only 17% of respondents said their company had fully integrated their customer data across all areas of the organization. However, 97% of those ‘fully integrated’ marketing leaders said they were at least somewhat effective at creating a cohesive customer journey across all touchpoints and channels.”
While not as many companies were implementing customer data like they should, those who did felt the strong impact of the benefits. It’s like knowing the difference between interacting with a potato-shaped company, or a B2C, vs. interacting with a rubber-duck-shaped company, or a B2B, for example.
Efficient customer data could help you learn how to land each one properly. While the methods for dealing with both might be similar, they’re not identical, and taking the wrong approach could mean a failed landing. One of the conclusions from the survey showed there is a “direct link between how well a marketer integrated customer data and the self-reported successes of that brand’s strategy.”
When interviewed by MSNBC on the comet landing, Bill Nye, also known as “the Science Guy,” had many positive things to say on the historic event. One question he answered was why do programs like the ESA exist – or basically, why do we go to space?
Nye had two replies: “It raises the expectations of your society,” and “You’re going to make discoveries.”
Marketers armed with insights from powerful customer data can have their own “landing on a comet” moment. Properly integrated customer data means you’ll be making new discoveries about your own clientele while simultaneously raising the expectations of your business.
The world couldn’t progress forward without quality data, whether in the realm of retail or planetary science. We put a strong emphasis on validating and cleanse your customer data at the point of entry or the point of collection.
Email has come a long way since its beginning. Two years after the U.S. launched a rocket to the moon, programmer Raymond Tomlinson launched the first email, a message that read “QWERTYUIOP” in 1971.
In 1991, when the World Wide Web was created, email then had the opportunity to evolve into the mainstream form of communication it is today.
The statistics for modern day email are staggering. Worldwide, there are 2.2 billion email users as of 2012, according to MarketingProfs.
With all these messages flying about, you know there’s going to be some email overload. Google’s Gmail alone has 425 million users worldwide. ESPs know people have too much email to deal with, and there’s a lot of noise out there. More than 75% of the world’s email is spam.
Gmail is one of the applications that recently responded to this problem, and all email marketers need to be aware.
On October 22, Google announced Inbox.
Google’s Inbox takes several steps to bring structure to the abundant world of email with these features:
- Categorizes and bundles emails.
- Highlights important content within the body of the email.
- Allows users to customize messages by adding their own reminders.
This latest update to Gmail is just one small way that the landscape of email marketing and audience preferences is changing all the time.
As we integrate more technology into our daily lives, it only makes sense that we use digital messages as a means of communication more often. What will this mean for email in the future? How will marketers adjust to the new challenges email marketing will present at larger volumes, with audiences wanting more segmentation and personalization?
One easy way to stay on top of these and other changes to the e-mail landscape is talking to your peers and experts in the industry. Luckily, an opportunity is coming up — and it’s free.
Make sure you check out the All About eMail Virtual Conference & Expo on November 13. It’s a virtual event, which means you can attend without leaving your desk!
It’s a one-day event with the busy email marketer in mind. Register for free and be sure to join us for our presentation, “Maximizing Email Campaign Performance Through Data Quality.”
Other strategic sessions include email marketing innovations presented by Forrester Research, mobile email, ROI, content tips, email sending frequency, and much more. (See the agenda here.)
This conference is just one indication that email marketing is still relevant, but only if email marketers adjust to changing audience preferences. With humble beginnings in 1971 email has come a long way. Email marketing has the best ROI in the business, and will continue to have value long into the future.
In response to the growth, organizations seek new ways to unlock the value of their data. Traditionally, data has been analyzed for a few key reasons. First, data was analyzed in order to identify ways to improve operational efficiency. Secondly, data was analyzed to identify opportunities to increase revenue.
As data expands, companies have found new uses for these growing data sets. Of late, organizations have started providing data to partners, who then sell the ‘intelligence’ they glean from within the data. Consider a coffee shop owner whose store doesn’t open until 8 AM. This owner would be interested in learning how many target customers (Perhaps people aged 25 to 45) walk past the closed shop between 6 AM and 8 AM. If this number is high enough, it may make sense to open the store earlier.
As much as organizations prioritize the value of data, customers prioritize the privacy of data. If an organization loses a customer’s data, it results in a several costs to the organization. These costs include:
- Damage to the company’s reputation
- A reduction of customer trust
- Financial costs associated with the investigation of the loss
- Possible governmental fines
- Possible restitution costs
To guard against these risks, data that organizations provide to their partners must be obfuscated. This protects customer privacy. However, data that has been obfuscated is often of a lower value to the partner. For example, if the date of birth of those passing the coffee shop has been obfuscated, the store owner may not be able to determine if those passing by are potential customers. When data is obfuscated without consideration of the analysis that needs to be done, analysis results may not be correct.
There is away to provide data privacy for the customer while simultaneously monetizing enterprise data. To do so, organizations must allow trusted partners to define masking generalizations. With sufficient data masking governance, it is indeed possible for data obfuscation and data value to coexist.
Currently, there is a great deal of research around ensuring that obfuscated data is both protected and useful. Techniques and algorithms like ‘k-Anonymity’ and ‘l-Diversity’ ensure that sensitive data is safe and secure. However, these techniques have have not yet become mainstream. Once they do, the value of big data will be unlocked.
Bad data is bad for business. Ovum Research reported that poor quality data is costing businesses at least 30% of revenues. Never before have business leaders across a broad range of roles recognized the importance of using high quality information to drive business success. Leaders in functions ranging from marketing and sales to risk management and compliance have invested in world-class applications, six sigma processes, and the most advanced predictive analytics. So why are you not seeing more return on that investment? Simply put, if your business-critical data is a mess, the rest doesn’t matter.
Not all business leaders know there’s a better way to manage their business-critical data. So, I asked Dennis Moore, the senior vice president and general manager of Informatica’s MDM business, who clocked hundreds of thousands of airline miles last year visiting business leaders around the world, to talk about the impact of using accurate, consistent and connected data and the value business leaders can gain through master data management (MDM).
Q. Why are business leaders focusing on business-critical data now?
A. Leaders have always cared about their business-critical data, the master data on which their enterprises depend most — their customers, suppliers, the products they sell, the locations where they do business, the assets they manage, the employees who make the business perform. Leaders see the value of having a clear picture, or “best version of the truth,” describing these “master data” entities. But, this is hard to come by with competing priorities, mergers and acquisitions and siloed systems.
As companies grow, business leaders start realizing there is a huge gap between what they do know and what they should know about their customers, suppliers, products, assets and employees. Even worse, most businesses have lost their ability to understand the relationships between business-critical data so they can improve business outcomes. Line of business leaders have been asking questions such as:
- How can we optimize sales across channels when we don’t know which customers bought which products from which stores, sites or suppliers?
- How can we quickly execute a recall when we don’t know which supplier delivered a defective part to which factory and where those products are now?
- How can we accelerate time-to-market for a new drug, when we don’t know which researcher at which site used which combination of compounds on which patients?
- How can we meet regulatory reporting deadlines, when we don’t know which model of a product we manufactured in which lot on which date?
Q. What is the crux of the problem?
A. The crux of the problem is that as businesses grow, their business-critical data becomes fragmented. There is no big picture because it’s scattered across applications, including on premise applications (such as SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft) and cloud applications (such as Salesforce, Marketo, and Workday). But it gets worse. Business-critical data changes all the time. For example,
- a customer moves, changes jobs, gets married, or changes their purchasing habits;
- a suppliers moves, goes bankrupt or acquires a competitor;
- you discontinue a product or launch a new one; or
- you onboard a new asset or retire an old one.
As all this change occurs, business-critical data becomes inconsistent, and no one knows which application has the most up-to-date information. This costs companies money. It saps productivity and forces people to do a lot of manual work outside their best-in-class processes and world-class applications. One question I always ask business leaders is, “Do you know how much bad data is costing your business?”
Q. What can business leaders do to deal with this issue?
A. First, find out where bad data is having the most significant impact on the business. It’s not hard – just about any employee can share stories of how bad data led to a lost sale, an extra “truck roll,” lost leverage with suppliers, or a customer service problem. From the call center to the annual board planning meeting, bad data results in sub-optimal decisions and lost opportunities. Work with your line of business partners to reach a common understanding of where an improvement can really make a difference. Bad master data is everywhere, but bad master data that has material costs to the business is a much more pressing and constrained problem. Don’t try to boil the ocean or bring a full-blown data governance maturity level 5 approach to your organization if it’s not already seeing success from better data!
Second, focus on the applications and processes used to create, share, and use master data. Many times, some training, a tweak to a process, or a new interface can be created between systems, resulting in very significant improvements for the users without major IT work or process changes.
Lastly, look for a technology that is purpose-built to deal with this problem. Master data management (MDM) helps companies better manage business-critical data in a central location on an ongoing basis and then share that “best version of the truth” with all on premise and cloud applications that need it.
Let’s use customer data as an example. If valuable customer data is located in applications such as Salesforce, Marketo, Seibel CRM, and SAP, MDM brings together all the business-critical data, the core that’s the same across all those applications, and creates the “best version of the truth.” It also creates the total customer relationship view across functions, product lines and regions, which CRM promised but never delivered.
MDM then shares that “mastered” customer data and the total customer relationship view with the applications that want it. MDM can be used to master the relationships between customers, such as legal entity hierarchies. This helps sales and customer service staff be more productive, while also improving legal compliance and management decision making. Advanced MDM products can also manage relationships across different types of master data. For example, advanced MDM enables you to relate an employee to a project to a contract to an asset to a commission plan. This ensures accurate and timely billing, effective expense management, managed supplier spend, and even improved workforce deployment.
When your sales team has the best possible customer information in Salesforce and the finance team has the best possible customer information in SAP, no one wastes time pulling together spreadsheets of information outside of their world-class applications. Your global workforce doesn’t waste time trying to investigate whether Jacqueline Geiger in one system and Jakki Geiger in another system is one or two customers, sending multiple bills and marketing offers at high cost in postage and customer satisfaction. All employees who have access to mastered customer information can be confident they have the best possible customer information available across the organization to do their jobs. And with the most advanced and intelligent data platform, all this information can be secured so only the authorized employees, partners, and systems have access.
Q. Which industries stand to gain the most from mastering their data?
A. In every industry there is some transformation going on that’s driving the need to know people, places and things better. Take insurance for example. Similar to the transformation in the travel industry that reduced the need for travel agents, the insurance industry is experiencing a shift from the agent/broker model to a more direct model. Traditional insurance companies now have an urgent need to know their customers so they can better serve them across all channels and across multiple lines of business.
In other industries, there is an urgent need to get a lot better at supply-chain management or to accelerate new product introductions to compete better with an emerging rival. Business leaders are starting to make the connection between transformation failures and a more critical need for the best possible data, particularly in industries undergoing rapid transformation, or with rapidly changing regulatory requirements.
Q. Which business functions seem most interested in mastering their business-critical data?
A. It varies by industry, but there are three common threads that seem to span most industries:
- MDM can help the marketing team optimize the cross-sell and up-sell process with high quality data about customers, their households or company hierarchies, the products and services they have purchased through various channels, and the interactions their organizations have had with these customers.
- MDM can help the procurement team optimize strategic sourcing including supplier spend management and supplier risk management with high quality data about suppliers, company hierarchies, contracts and the products they supply.
- MDM can help the compliance teams manage all the business-critical data they need to create regulatory reports on time without burning the midnight oil.
Q. How is the use of MDM evolving?
A. When MDM technology was first introduced a decade ago, it was used as a filter. It cleaned up business-critical data on its way to the data warehouse so you’d have clean, consistent, and connected information (“conformed dimensions”) for reporting. Now business leaders are investing in MDM technology to ensure that all of their global employees have access to high quality business-critical data across all applications. They believe high quality data is mission-critical to their operations. High quality data is viewed as the the lifeblood of the company and will enable the next frontier of innovation.
Second, many companies mastered data in only one or two domains (customer and product), and used separate MDM systems for each. One system was dedicated to mastering customer data. You may recall the term Customer Data Integration (CDI). Another system was dedicated to mastering product data. Because the two systems were in silos and business-critical data about customers and products wasn’t connected, they delivered limited business value. Since that time, business leaders have questioned this approach because business problems don’t contain themselves to one type of data, such as customer or product, and many of the benefits of mastering data come from mastering other domains including supplier, chart of accounts, employee and other master or reference data shared across systems.
The relationships between data matter to the business. Knowing what customer bought from which store or site is more valuable than just knowing your customer. The business insights you can gain from these relationships is limitless. Over 90% of our customers last year bought MDM because they wanted to master multiple types of data. Our customers value having all types of business-critical data in one system to deliver clean, consistent and connected data to their applications to fuel business success.
One last evolution we’re seeing a lot involves the types and numbers of systems connecting to the master data management system. In the past, there were a small number of operational systems pushing data through the MDM system into a data warehouse used for analytical purposes. Today, we have customers with hundreds of operational systems communicating with each other via an MDM system that has just a few milliseconds to respond, and which must maintain the highest levels of availability and reliability of any system in the enterprise. For example, one major retailer manages all customer information in the MDM system, using the master data to drive real-time recommendations as well as a level of customer service in every interaction that remains the envy of their industry.
Q. Dennis, why should business leaders consider attending MDM Day?
A. Business leaders should consider attending MDM Day at InformaticaWorld 2014 on Monday, May 12, 2014. You can hear first-hand the business value companies are gaining by using clean, consistent and connected information in their operations. We’re excited to have fantastic customers who are willing to share their stories and lessons learned. We have presenters from St. Jude Medical, Citrix, Quintiles and Crestline Geiger and panelists from Thomson Reuters, Accenture, EMC, Jones Lang Lasalle, Wipro, Deloitte, AutoTrader Group, McAfee-Intel, Abbvie, Infoverity, Capgemini, and Informatica among others.
Last year’s Las Vegas event, and the events we held in London, New York and Sao Paolo were extremely well received. This year’s event is packed with even more customer sessions and opportunities to learn and to influence our product road map. MDM Day is one day before InformaticaWorld and is included in the cost of your InformaticaWorld registration. We’d love to see you there!
See the MDM Day Agenda.
Ravi Shankar, vice president of Product Marketing for Master Data Management at Informatica explains why retailers need to focus on mastering their customer data in this short clip which goes into detail based on an article in Forbes: Why Retailers Need To Focus On Mastering Customer Data.
“When retailers can deepen their knowledge of the customer across all of today’s proliferating retail channels, they can strengthen customer loyalty, increase share of wallet, minimize operational costs and maximize profits. It sounds so simple – so why is it so hard?“
Last week, I posted this blog: Logitech MDM Case Study: Seven Lessons for Mastering Product and Customer Data (Part I of II) which shares highlights from recent webinar. Logitech’s Severin Stoll, Senior Business Engagement Manager of Global IT Solutions spoke with David Decloux, MDM technical lead in EMEA about Logitech’s Global MDM implementation, in which they are mastering product, customer and consumer data.
In this blog, I’ll share some of the highlights of the Q&A I led and results from two polls. (more…)