Multichannel Data Integration: Drowning in Data?
Data, data everywhere. No wonder retail marketers are overwhelmed with the volume of data available in today's marketplace. But what to do with it all? With this enormous volume of data comes not only opportunity, but also responsibility. No longer can retailers simply get by on marketing what they want. They must now listen to the voice of the consumer, and market how the consumer wants.
Data Collection Strategy
The key to effective data integration is a well-defined data collection strategy. Today's retail environment is seeing an explosion of touchpoints, which have opened up doors for both retailers and consumers. Beyond the traditional point-of-sale and direct mail/phone/email channels, there are a number of other mediums that should be considered within your data collection strategy that can greatly expand your marketing landscape.
Although not necessarily a new channel, data from e-commerce transactions can be some of the most valuable data you can collect. This data can inform profile and channel preferences, purchase behaviors, and allow for the opportunity to collect additional data that may drive better targeting, such as income level, gender, presence of children, etc.
With the proliferation of web analytics tools being used on retail sites, such as those from Omniture, Coremetrics, Webtrends and Google, there's no shortage of data that can be collected online with regards to consumer activity.
The big challenge with website data is the sheer volume of it can be daunting to even the most experienced marketer. In many cases it can't be directly tied to a consumer at the name/address level. The key to this data is to identify only those components that are valuable to the marketing process. This will ensure that you don't turn your marketing database into a massive storage system for online data.
Mobile is becoming a major collection point for consumer data. Many retailers are expanding their sites to support mobile shopping or have created skinny apps for portable devices such as the iPad. Mobile phones, in particular, are becoming the primary method for tracking consumers at different touchpoints given that these devices are usually with them at all times.
Another factor to consider when thinking about mobile is that people tend to hold onto their phone number regardless of how many times they switch carriers or de- vices. Mobile marketing allows for geo-based targeting as well as a two-way communication medium.
The concern most mar- keters have with mobile surrounds privacy issues. Many consumers today are still wary about sending confidential data through their mobile device. Therefore, getting consumer opt-ins are critical to any mobile data gathering campaigns you launch. Also, remember that to yield the best results, messages need to be relevant and targeted to individual consumers.