In 2022, as the business world looks to recalibrate yet again to the new reality in which today’s organizations operate, the winners will set themselves apart based on their strategic use of data and consumer insights. These days, a truly holistic view of an individual reveals not only who they are on a demographic level, but also insights into why they choose, buy, advocate or abandon a certain brand. And, as you might imagine, the target is always moving.
So what’s it going to take for an organization to set itself apart as an insights leader in 2022?
Here’s the checklist that marketers need to be looking at as they tune their data efforts for the coming year.
Keep It Fresh
A lot has changed in the past year due to the pandemic. But if you’re hoping that rate of change is going to dissipate along with the effects of COVID-19, I’m sorry to disappoint you: Constant and sometimes rapid upheaval in consumer attitudes and behavior will persist in the next normal. Our reality of constant change requires regularly updated data to keep pace with the evolving consumer—and that means seeking out data and insights that are refreshed regularly, if not in real-time.
Start with First-Party Data
More than ever, your own first-party data is your foundation for privacy-safe understanding. When it comes to your consumer relationships, you need to be capturing permissioned data at every opportunity, be it from marketing campaign engagement or sales and service interactions. Then, you need to organize and structure this data in a way that gets you to a clear view of the individuals within your CRM.
Marketing Technology News: EngageSmart Welcomes Diego Rodriguez to Board of Directors
Enrich Your Data to Fill in the Gaps
Despite its importance, your first-party data will only get you so far. That’s where enrichment comes in. By working with quality third-party data sources, you can bring your CRM data to life with additional demographic, psychographic, behavioral, attitudinal and values-based data sets that can be overlaid on top of your own first-party insights.
Know the Humans
All of your efforts toward building and enriching your first-party data insights should be driving toward this deeper goal: understanding customers and prospects as people, not personas. Personas are necessary marketing tools when it comes to segmenting your consumer understanding at a high level, but you can’t stop there. Gone are the days of “soccer moms” serving as a sufficient segment for targeting. Brands need to go deeper to understand the attitudes and values that motivate these individuals, beyond the cardboard personas.
Personalization is the key to funding the value exchange between brands and their customers and prospects. If people are going to share their personal information with your company, not to mention their hard-earned dollars, you owe it to them to put what you know about them to use and ensure all communications and messaging acknowledge their place in their customer journey with your brand.
Ask Where Your Data Originated
As you go deeper with your data and insights, the need for transparency grows. When working with third-party data providers, it’s no longer just a good idea to understand how they acquire their data—it’s your duty. If you ask questions about data origination and don’t get clear, satisfactory answers, walk away.
Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview with Nikhil Behl, CMO at FICO
Expand Your Horizons
As you bring your data assets together to derive maximum insights, think broadly about sources of data and how they can work with other data for decision-making. Marketing can no longer stand as a data silo within your organization. It needs to be informed by all interactions a customer might have with your brand, across sales, service and beyond.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
As you look to put data at the core of your organization, you might also need to rethink internal structures and dynamics to improve results for all. A strong step in the right direction is to contemplate your insights and analytics as one team, with shared goals.
Insights must drive action to capitalize on opportunities and trends. It’s important to take time to analyze campaign results and other sources of insights to refine future efforts, but you must structure your teams, data and resources in a way that lets such analysis exist within your living workflow, enabling you to react to new learnings in real time.
Above all, make sure you’re building processes that help keep your teams open and agile. Given that change is the only constant in today’s marketplace, if your data and insights aren’t helping you understand that change, and your systems and teams aren’t able to evolve along with the market need, you’ll find yourself on a fast path to irrelevance.
The organizations that put the above 10 principles into action will emerge as insights leaders in 2022 and beyond. Only by powering strategic decision-making with a comprehensive, unified view of customers and prospects can marketers hope to create the kinds of human connections that drive real revenue and, ultimately, brand loyalty.
Marketing Technology News: CX Trends In 2022: How to Deepen the Customer Relationship In The New Year