If you’re reading this blog, I’m going to assume you agree that a Single Customer View is important. I’m not going to go into why it’s important or even what it actually is, if you need that information then I’d recommend giving this paper a read as a great place to start.
What I want to do is focus on the issues that stop people putting a proper SCV in place. I want to debunk the myths surrounding SCVs and give you solutions or in some cases just call them exactly what they are – excuses. So, that’s enough of an intro, let’s get down to business…
1. “I hear they are really expensive”
Firstly, find out! I know that sounds simple but you’d be surprised by the number of people that just assume it’s expensive.
The key is to understand the real cost and focus on what you will actually get from a SCV. I ask you to look at what a SCV delivers and compare it like for like with what you are paying now.
The market is converging. Your SCV should come with a tool to deliver your data into channels like email and social; it should come with a tool to analyse your data and take action; it should replace your predictive analytics tool; it should act as your online CRM database, and preferably include offline as well. So try adding up all those things you currently pay for and then see if it’s still expensive. I think you’ll find if you choose the right SCV then you may even save money, get a more integrated solution and achieve far better results.
2. “I’m not sure it will ultimately deliver value, is it not more of a ‘nice-to-have’”?
A SCV will:
- Give you a single view of your customer across different channels, devices and interactions
- Allow you to personalise communication with your customers across different channels
- Allow you to make content relevant to your customers needs and desires
- Allow you to analyse customer behaviour, generating insights that you can use to improve the customer experience and your communications
- Ultimately improve retention levels and increase the lifetime value of your customer
If you don’t think that will add value to your business and generate incremental revenues, then please stop reading as this blog is not for you.
3. “Isn’t it risky putting all this time and money into working on a SCV to control all communications?”
Still here? Good, then let’s attack another popular excuse and I’ll risk (see what I did there…) offending more people.
If the risk is that the money and resource could be better spent on other activities, my response is that your SCV will improve all those other things. Here’s just a few examples of the impact a SCV can have:
- Sending more communications – A SCV will make these more personalised, generating better results from less volume. Plus the added benefit is that it can help automate much of that work, talking of which…
- Marketing Automation – You cannot really hope to automate your marketing without a SCV and this is coming from the company that brought Marketing Automation to this country
- Website re-build – You need to understand how your individual customers interact with your brand if you want to know what an effective website re-build looks like
- Predictive analytics – Having the best view of the customer will make your models a lot more accurate
- Re-branding/creative updates – Unless you are talking to the right customers at the right time, it won’t matter how great the visuals are
So, apologies for the cliché, it’s a bigger risk not to focus time and money on a SCV
4. “We don’t have any experience in this and there seems to be so many different options, I’m not sure how we choose one”
This is a very poor excuse, but something I’ve heard at more than one conference in the last 12 months. Do you know how many ‘email vendors’ are out there? A lot! Has this stopped you choosing the best email vendor for your business? Of course not. Well let me assure you, there are a lot of SCV experts and vendors as well, but obviously picking a good one will not be easy. Chat to people you trust, review industry documentation from people like Econsultancy. If you believe in the value of SCV, then finding someone to do it for you shouldn’t be difficult.
5. “IT won’t let me do it and it’s pointless without them on side”
This excuse can be applied to almost any IT related project that marketing and e-commerce want to attempt. In 2013 an Econsultancy report suggested that 47% of people believe IT barriers are the biggest reason for data silos, and that hasn’t changed. That’s not to be rude about the IT department (I’ve run enough of them in my time to have complete respect for them), because from my experience the reason they normally push back against these projects is because they are expected to commit time to something they are not invested in. Involve them in the process, make them part of the decision-making for selecting a vendor and listen to their ideas. Earlier we discussed the excuse of not knowing who to use, well the IT department probably have good contacts in the industry. Don’t see IT as a roadblock, see them as someone that will challenge you to properly plan for a successful installation!
One final thought – if you are reading this, it’s likely you are involved in marketing in some way. Convincing people to do something is part of your job, so stop using this excuse and do a better job of convincing!
6. “I’m sure it’s just another fad that will disappear in 12 months”
You’ve been burnt by CRM, omni-channel is the new multi-channel etc.… I get it, but don’t be fooled. Just because SCV is a short acronym, it’s not like those things that still give you horrific budgeting flashbacks.
Let me put it to you another way:
- Is timely communication with your customer a fad? NO
- Are more engaged customers a fad? NO
- Is having genuine knowledge of what your customers are doing across multiple channels and devices a fad? NO
- Is cross-channel marketing a fad? NO
- Is providing a good customer experience a fad? NO
So hopefully we can agree it’s not a fad and move onto your next excuse…
7. “Can I be sure it will be future proofed and I will not have to continually throw money at it as the world changes?”
There are a number of critical things you should consider to ensure your SCV is capable of handling what we can expect to happen over the years ahead:
- Cross-channel capability – Whilst you know you need to handle the web, email, push and social, don’t forget things like DM or call centres, plus be prepared for emerging channels like wearables
- Integrations – As marketing evolves, the only certainty is that each new initiative will bring about more data sources and more areas you will need to directly interact with, so choose a SCV that is open to genuine two way exchanges of data. I cannot tell you what external system you will need to send data to in two years, but I can tell you that you’ll need to do it with multiple systems.
8. “I have a version of a SCV and that should be good enough for now”
Does it contain your customers historical and transactional data? Big Deal. That’s not a SCV, that’s a transactional database with a few personal details appended. What you should be asking is:
- Can it handle data from multiple channels?
- Does it really handle the web and all the behavioural data that this brings?
- Is it updated in real-time, not weekly or even daily with actionable data you can use to alter the customer experience and your communications?
- Can it handle cross device tracking and customer identification across these devices?
9. “It’s a massive pain to set up and maintain”
There are two very important factors here – (1) it is if you try and do it all yourself and (2) you need your IT team on side (see excuse 5).
Yes this is a big undertaking, but you are not unique, you are not the trail blazers, others have been here before. So borrow from these people, literally! Work with people that have done this before so you learn the best techniques, the low hanging fruit and the things to avoid.
One final thought on this; if you do it right, it is not tough to maintain. Marketing Automation exists to avoid things being hard or expensive to maintain – the clue is in the name, it should be automated going forward. Hire experts to monitor and maintain, but don’t keep manually doing things. If you are, then it’s been set up wrong.
Hopefully that has given you the ammunition to shoot down any excuses that are stopping you building or using a SCV. What’s that I hear? You have a different excuse I’ve not covered? Then call me, drop me an email, send me a tweet (@GarryLee316) – just let me know what the excuse is and I will give you a way of blowing it up.