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Digital Maturity Insight

The true value of understanding customer data

by Redweb, 30 June 2020

Read Time: 5 minutes

A common issue we find in businesses we come in contact with is the fragmented way they handle and store customer data.

There are typically two types of fragmentation:

  1. Different aspects of customer data are stored separately e.g. marketing data vs purchasing data
  2. Different types of customer data stored separately e.g. siloed by service type or sales team.

The first type means it’s difficult to understand your customers on an individual basis, while the second makes it difficult to have an overview of all your customers.

Why is this important?

Having all your customer data in one place is the only way to spot patterns and trends that can Give you a full picture of how successful you are (or where you have problems) Allow you to spot patterns and trends that allow you to predict the future as discussed in the previous sections).

Modern CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems can provide a single customer view that you can exploit in many important ways

1. Measuring your Return on Investment (RoI)

Whatever your business does, in whatever sector or industry, you need to make some kind of investment, even just to break-even.

You want to do more than that, though, so you need to spend money on projects that you’re confident will work for you — then collect enough data to understand the results.

One way to do this is through marketing attribution. This is where you use technology to track a customer’s journey all the way from your marketing email, for instance, through to purchase, via all the channels, content and tools they use on the way.

Over time you’ll be able to see what seems to work best for different types of customer, and also measure how new things are performing.

Given the correct metrics, you can calculate your RoI ratio, which is a great tool for keeping your stakeholders happy (see below).

2. Being more customer-centric

Imagine being a door-to-door salesperson, trying to persuade someone to buy one of your products or services—but you know nothing about them, and can’t see their facial expressions or hear what they have to say about what you’re selling.

Either they make the purchase or they don’t, and that’s all the feedback you get.

  • How do you know if your sales patter is working?
  • How can you engage in meaningful conversation with your customer?
  • Did they like your products, even if they didn’t buy them?
  • Does anybody like your products?
  • How can you make changes to be more successful?

Often, this can be the case with online storefronts but, with modern technologies and techniques, you can ethically find out a whole lot more about who’s browsing, and what they are looking for and buying, to help you both your marketing techniques and your product range.

Tailoring your marketing

There are many nuanced definitions of marketing to be found, but one that is relevant here is:

…knowing what to do to make the market need the product. (Ahmed Abd Al-Rahman, LG)

How many of us have bought something we not only hadn’t previously thought about, but didn’t even know we needed?

This is a triumph of marketing and isn’t possible without humanising the people you’re trying to sell to. In other words, knowing what makes people tick, how they behave and what their goals and dreams are allows us to tap into their emotions with a message that resonates.

Organisations with large marketing budgets commission studies and reports to help them with their proposition. But you can also get valuable data, using powerful tools such as Google Analytics, by tracking and analysing:

  • what marketing emails they click on
  • which pages they visit on your website
  • what social media they interact with
  • which products they browse
  • which products they buy

By carefully analysing this quantitative data, and using marketing automation tools, you can devise much more personal, emotive messages and deliver them to the right people.

Tailoring your product range

As mentioned in the previous article, you can also use customer data to help you determine what products and/or services to sell.

Through surveys, and other means, you can gather qualitative data such as:

  • how they feel about those products
  • what gaps they think might be in your range
  • what problems they are trying to solve with your products

This is where you can look beyond raw numbers and make creative judgements about the best way to make your range as attractive to the market as possible.

3. Underpinning your business with strategy

While we’re talking digital here, it is critical that anything you do digitally is aligned with your business strategy (at least until the two become one and the same thing in the future, which should be your ultimately goal if you’re aiming to be as efficient and effective as you can).

For a digital strategy to succeed, it needs the backing of the business, and it must be informed by data to ensure that your goals are SMART.

Typical goals include:

  • Increase revenue delivered online
  • Reduce running costs
  • Increase customer satisfaction

But in order to understand where you’re trying to get to, you need to know where you are. Benchmarking allows you to gauge what ambitious, but realistic, goals might be before you try to find solutions.

4. Keeping your stakeholders happy

Depending on the roles and responsibilities you have within your organisation, this might be your most important job.

Whether they are shareholders, the executive board, or trustees, keeping them informed and satisfied that good progress is being made, is crucial to the success of your project.

An excellent way to communicate with people who may be too busy to take in too much detail is by plotting key data points on charts against elapsed time and the goals that have been set.

It’s even better if those data points relate to how your customers and, by extension, your business, are benefitting from your work.

This relates back to Return on Investment (RoI). Demonstrating the effectiveness of your work through a positive RoI ratio is compelling evidence.


If you are aim is to persuade your executive to invest in the power of digital, then making a case backed up by data is crucial.

The true value of understanding customer data is the ability it gives you to spot patterns and trends that can give you a full picture of how successful you are, where you have problems and give you the foresight to navigate the future.

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

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