Data in a future business world

- Data in a future business world: The biggest companies are focussing on data. Data are often more important than the traditional business. A reason to look into the topic a bit deeper.

The biggest companies are focussing on data. Data are often more important than the traditional business. A reason to look into the topic a bit deeper.

Data are more important than the traditional business? Have a look at the publishing houses. They are still selling their content through print or online (paywall). The revenue is going still down while the industry isn’t changing. If they would give out their content for free (or mainly for free), they would gain much more traffic and with this much more information about their user. Data that are worth more than what the user is paying for the content. Data which can be used in several ways at the same time to gain revenue.

While publishing houses are sleeping here, let’s have a look who knows us best? For sure companies like Google, Facebook and similar (they are offering their services for the user for free). Also agency & affiliate networks with a broad set of clients could have a similar insight. This insights are important to deliver the right message at the right time to help with the current interest / need / pain. We love to talk about the 360 degree view on a customer… if we are honest, this is something we will never reach.

What we need is to show empathy, empathy which is help driven. Paul Greenberg is explaining this very well in detail in his article “How to build empathy in business“. He differentiates in his Empathy 101 between cognitive empathy, emotional empathy and compassionate empathy. The last one is in my eyes what is often missing or not the main focus.

Customer Experience (CX) is the main reason why data are so important. We have a shift from the Brand Experience to the Customer Experience. Both is important, but it is a bit like the bottle which is half full or half empty. Two different views on the same. In the past we discussed how our brand should be seen in the market, now we look from the customer point of view on the brand. This is important, we shouldn’t use Customer Experience just as a new buzzword and do Brand Experience like in the past.

One thing to think about: There is a difference between “Customer Experience” and “Customer’s Experience”

Let’s get back to the data topic. Within business we have a big channel thinking. This is sales, service, marketing,… or this is online marketing, this is offline marketing. The customer doesn’t care about these channels. From a business point of view this requires to change structures. In the world of today this channels are the reason why companies have a huge number of data silos. Also they have data which are very different…. structured vs. unstructured or raw data vs. aggregated data.

When we have this in mind it should be clear that we need to bring this data silos together and make this data usable first. So a CDP (Customer Data Platform) is most important. Much more important than implementing AI (Artificial Intelligence) systems . Without the right date, this AI systems will be stupid. Today we often have 20 data silos in a company,, while the company knows 10 of them and use 5. What we need is to define which information are a must have which would be very useful and which nice to have. Then identify which first, second and third party data we do have and which we need to get (buy or collect).

While we have the channel thinking in the company structure, this can’t be changed easily or quick. If we reach that all departments use the same data sources and connected systems, they gain the same insights and it helps to bring them together and act in a common direction (the left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing).

The data topic isn’t easy. There are technical issues like real- or near-time data if we talk about a huge amount of data or the legal aspects (GDPR) which is also important because we need to take care about customer data to gain trust on customer side. The legal point is a very important point, but to big for this post. Here I want to focus on the other aspect.

If we talk about data we need to differentiate on the why. Why do we need them?

1st we need data to understand the customer while 2nd we want to measure the results and the relationship with them.

As you may know from reading my other post, I’m writing more or less about my own thoughts. There are some great minds which inspires me. One of them is Brian J. Curran. When it comes to CX measurement we often hear things like NPS and other scores. This scores are just asking questions and compare the answers from time to time. Is this still the right direction in times of CX and the huge amount of data? I think this are scores for from the past which doesn’t fit at all today and for sure not for the future.

Brian wrote his “Measuring CX with Data Science” article which is amazing. The first time I saw an answer on how to measure CX which makes sense. Long time I thought about which parts I could take from this article and use for my direction, my thoughts… It ended with I need to use 100%. This is why I really want to encourage you to read this entire article.

To sum it up: He developed the “Customer Experience Value Equation” model. This he first divided in the empathy, the engagement and the execution layer. Then he divided it in the attitudinal, the behavioral, the operational and the financial measures.

This mode starts on the upper left with the customer need. Something I talk about since a long time. However I think we need to differentiate this:
1. Someone is interested in a new TV because of a better image or higher screen size.
2. Someone needs a new TV because there are missing features like connecting to his mobile to view holiday pictures or there are more channels to receive with a new one.
3. Someone can’t watch any longer because the TV is broken. This is also a need, but more a pain.

If we differentiate between interest, need and pain we differentiate on the speed of the actions of a customer which result in the speed we need to have. If a customer is in an interest phase, we do not need real-time data while they are a must if someone is in a pain phase.

Do you understand the interest / need / pain of your customers at the moment of time today? Yes? Congrats! How well do you understand them on a 1:1 base?
Some companies are more advanced than others, but most have potential to do more. Also the possibilities are changing quickly. Who is doing a good job as of today can’t lay back and relax. Data isn’t the most used buzzword any longer but the data topic is getting more and more important. Let’s start today and think about how to centralize and connect data. This is the foundation to be future ready.

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Customer Experience & Digital Transformation