Brands Have More Data Than Ever Before But Lack the Customer Intelligence to Put It to Good Use

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Marleny Hucks
Marleny Hucks
Marlene (or Marleny as she is known in Spanish) is a mentor, teacher, cross-cultural trainer, storyteller, writer, and for those who have been under her leadership or simply sat across the table from her, she is a mirror of destiny. Her love of word and image were formed early on by one of her heroes, Dr. Seuss. If you asked those who know her well, they would describe her a compassionate, funny, wise, curious, honest, real, strong, sensitive and totally human which comes out as she teaches and writes. She sees all of life, even the most mundane, through faith and believes that who we become as we live this side of the veil is what matters not the journey itself or our circumstances. Marleny Hucks has spent her life crossing bridges. She comes from a diverse background of ministry roles and contexts as well as has transitioned in and out of the business world. Having lived outside the country as well as traveled extensively she has a fascination with culture causes her to live her life within a global mosaic no matter where her feet are planted. Marlene currently lives in South Carolina with her husband David, who owns a news company but who she says is a “crime fighter”, bringing light into darkness in their systems of their city. Marleny currently works as a content management specialist covering Myrtle Beach News for MyrtleBeachSC News.

Every company wants to deeply understand its customers: the issues they’re experiencing, what they want, and how they perceive the brand. The knowledge can set the direction and/or focus for new products and services and foster a quality customer experience, improving sales through repeat business (without increasing marketing or advertising expenses) and adjusting strategies that lead to improving customer lifetime. More data is available than ever before, but enterprises seem to struggle to use that information effectively for better and more predictable business outcomes. 

That’s where customer intelligence (CI) comes in. It allows organizations to understand their customers a little bit better so they can improve their relationships and provide personalized experiences by delivering tailored content, messaging, and product/service recommendations, which has become a necessary part of day-to-day business. The data collected can come from internal and external sources, such as purchase history, social media interactions, and customer feedback. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool is the go-to way to keep track of your customers, but you can also use a data management platform (DMP). 

In A Crowded Market, The Effective Use of Customer Intelligence Is a Key Brand Differentiator 

These days, people expect and even demand seamless, personalized experiences, so your business must make every interaction fantastic; otherwise, they’ll leave you for the competition. You already know the customer experience is an ongoing work in progress, and the faster you can adjust to the changes, the better it’ll be for you, so go above and beyond for your clients, doing whatever you can to add value to their lives. You can achieve this level of personalization only with insights into what they like and dislike – but amidst the sea of data, how are you supposed to know what’s worth keeping or focusing on? 

So many companies have the impression they’re disrupting their industry by being masterful, lively, and innovative, only to discover they’re selling in crowded markets with lots of competition. A better understanding of the customers’ journey from awareness to purchase will set you apart, giving you an enormous competitive advantage. Indeed, people may come across similar products and services. Still, your experience should be unparalleled, and the audience should place a value on the difference you offer, whether it’s convenience or something else. 

With a large, diverse, and wealthy population, the U.S. consumer market and retail landscape lead on a global level, and understanding the buyers’ motivations or considerations isn’t an option; it’s a necessity. In this type of competition, if you don’t supply a compelling brand differentiator, people will be forced to make price-based decisions, with low prices becoming more influential when deciding where to shop. According to the experts at Savanta, customer intelligence creates an intricate, far-reaching customer analytics ecosystem that helps cut through the noise and leverage insights that exceed mere data collection. 

There’s No Better Time Than Now to Close the Gap in Your Customer Intelligence 

Consumers are rethinking their shopping habits and looking for deals, coupons, or other discounts to save money, which are mainly driven by concerns about inflation and the gloomy macroeconomic climate. If they make fewer purchases, how can you convince them to choose you over the competition? The solution to make more meaningful connections is to activate loyalty so customers become advocates for your brand. Now is the time to close the gap in your customer intelligence – in other words, use data (and predictive analytics) to raise the bar on how you’re shaping customer experiences, so it’s a win-win for both of you. 

As mentioned earlier, accessing data isn’t the issue. Most organizations have a combination of first-, second-, and third-party data, so much they risk drowning in it but have no clue what to do with it, that is, aggregating it helpfully. Find the correct information and scour additional avenues to account for all variables, even if you can’t find the data you need internally via a CRM. Feel free to use information from surveys, focus groups, digital interactions, and user feedback, to name a few. Above all, remember there’s no quick fix to get to a point where you can use customer data to your advantage. 

Where Does Your Brand Sit on The Journey to Customer Intelligence Maturity? 

People still have money to spend, but rising prices translate into the fact that you must work harder to move from conversions into relationships. The experience your company provides is just as important as your products and services, so implement customer intelligence across the organization to address the complex, fragmented, and siloed data and determine what information really matters and which one can be ignored. It’s a worthwhile investment because, when effectively handled, the returns are high. To stay relevant (and maintain a competitive advantage), you need a mix of data, analytics, and artificial intelligence. 

Once you have a clear idea of where you stand on the path to customer intelligence maturity, you can start building a roadmap with down-to-earth quarter-by-quarter strategic activities. For example, if you’ve amassed information from your customer base, subscribers, and website visitors, identify options to collaborate with partners via a secure and controlled environment that allows you to bring data together for analytics purposes so you can uncover new insights and generate marketing opportunities. 

Bear in mind that no two companies are the same, which means that while it’s possible to establish overall trends in customer intelligence maturity and work out general areas where businesses can improve, every organization is unique. Even if there’s the desire to make the leap, being hesitant is a good thing. Customer intelligence maturity is a journey, not a one-time project, so you must be patient and persistent because the precise steps or processes you’ll take are different, but by recognizing its importance, you can get a real return on your investment. 

Last Word 

If there’s something the last few years have taught us it’s this: the new era of market research is about customer intelligence, so act on the insights stemming from data and translate the information into tangible objectives for your business. Change is the only constant, and market dynamics are filtered through customer intelligence.

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