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So what is a Single Customer view?

According to Wikipedia (the font of all knowledge these days) a Single Customer View ‘is an aggregated, consistent and holistic representation of the data known by an organisation about its customers’.

We held a webinar on this subject in November 2015. We recommend you watch the recording for how to create one view of your customer – learn more at every touchpoint.

OK, so what does that mean in layman’s terms rather than gobbledygook? I’ll do my best to explain.

I’ve spoken in the past about the differences between multi-channel marketing and cross-channel marketing .

Multi-channel marketing is when a brand has a presence on a number of different channels. Think an email account, a Facebook page, a Twitter page, a website and a physical store. All channels running smoothly – but separately.

Cross channel is when those channels (the exact same channels) are interlinked and co-ordinated. So a query on Facebook can be answered via an email or an email offer is relevant and understood by an in-store representative.

And in order to do this the first step is having a Single Customer View.

How is a Single Customer View created?

Achieving a Single Customer View requires a customer’s relationships with your brand to be brought together, usually by matching name, address and date of birth, and applying a unique customer identifier (often described as a customer PIN) to each profile.

This identifier is then appended to every item of data relating to that customer – allowing all data on the individual to be matched and brought together to create a single view or record of that customer (hence – Single Customer View).

Of course, customer details and circumstances are constantly changing, so the data itself never remains static. However, the one constant will be the PIN which will mean new and updated data will be attributed to that customer’s profile as it is gathered.

Additional data and lifestyle segmentation can be applied to an organisation’s Single Customer View records, building deeper and broader insights into the customer’s lifestyle, behaviours and preferences.

What does a Single Customer View enable brands to do?

A Single Customer View gives you greater insight into your customers and helps you get to know them better. The SCV empowers marketers to market more efficiently and effectively, but most of all it enables brands to provide more and more useful, relevant and enjoyable experiences for their customers.

With a Single Customer View brands are able to understand a customer’s past behaviour, past purchase, interaction preferences, history and even their propensity to buy new goods and services.

It is also the key ingredient in enabling cross-channel marketing strategies. Cross channel is crucial because it’s what customers expect. Fully integrated cross-channel marketing provides a seamless experience. This means that no matter what channel a customer chooses to interact with – their experience is consistent and relevant.

The Single Customer View is the crucial first step towards such a seamless cross-channel approach. Yes of course there are operational, KPI and organisational issues that need to be considered but as with most things in marketing – the key to cross-channel is in the data, and the key to the data is the Single Customer View.

Creating a Single Customer View for each and every customer can only happen if all data and information about them is integrated and stored on the customer database. Marketing communications can then be targeted according to a genuine understanding of customer history with your brand, their service issues and their propensity to buy new goods and services.

So if you appreciate the benefits of cross-channel and if you want to be able to communicate consistently with your customers it’s about time you started creating a Single Customer View. While undoubtedly a fairly major task it’s important not to be daunted and break it into smaller more manageable steps.

The sooner you get started the sooner you’ll be reaping the rewards.

Experian Marketing Services is a leading global provider of consumer insights, targeting, data quality and cross-channel marketing. We help organisations intelligently interact with today’s empowered and hyper-connected consumers.

By helping marketers identify their best customers, find more of them, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services‘ clients can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.