skip to main content

Data Silos Through Your Customers’ Eyes

Steve ManattDecember 18, 2014

Not too long ago, I went online to be one of many who contributed to the sale of 10 million of a certain consumer electronic product that launched.  My first stop was my wireless carrier’s website, but when I saw that it wouldn’t ship for a couple of weeks I decided to go look at some other sources to see if I could get it sooner.  No luck with the manufacturer. Forget online auctions; I do have a little bit of patience. More patience than budget, really.

I ended up just calling my wireless carrier and placing the order over the phone with a customer service representative who was extremely helpful in answering all of the curiosities and questions that the website couldn’t. I placed my order and went back to squinting at the screen that I didn’t know was too small until a guy not wearing a black turtleneck told me so.

But the next day, I got an email asking if I wanted to come back to the website and complete my purchase.

When you’re looking at your marketing systems it can be difficult to spot data silos. If you’re just focused on building a really effective abandoned cart email campaign or making sure your phone reps are armed with the information they need to address the peculiarities of particular customer account scenarios it’s easy to forget that customers don’t interact with any single channel.

That is the fundamental truth of marketing today: there simply isn’t a single path to purchase.

Consumers interact with brands in a million different ways in a million different contexts as they move down the purchase funnel from awareness to consideration to purchase. At the top of the funnel, brand building statements tell your customers what your company and product are about. At the bottom of the funnel, messaging is focused on key details for conversion like price and delivery.  But what if the customer sees the wrong message at the wrong point in their journey down the funnel?  At best, they ignore it because they know it already. At worst, they think you don’t know them and don’t deserve their business.

I’m not planning to drop my wireless carrier, but when I got that email I thought, “Come on. I know you know I was on the phone with you guys for 20 minutes just yesterday completing this purchase! Get it together!”

That’s what it looks like to your customers when your consumer data is stuck in silos.  The website was talking to the email system, but the email system wasn’t talking to the customer purchase or call center records.

There are a lot of ways to lower or remove the walls that keep your data from working together to create a strong customer journey. You can bring all of your data into a central marketing database and manage targeting from there. You can map your campaigns to key points in the customer journey and set rules based on verifiable stages of progression. (For instance, if someone has made a purchase, don’t invite them back to make the same purchase the next day!) You can establish regular processes for onboarding your CRM data to online marketing systems.

Whatever you do, you have to start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. And what I really need to hear right now is that I am one of the cool people even though I got the smaller screen.