Creating a Data Centric View of Customers

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Having a customer centric view is great. But the real challenge, according to Amit Phansalkar, chief data officer at MassMutual, is creating a data centric view.

enterprise data“What do you think about when planning data strategy,” said Phansalkar, who spoke at the recent Future M event sponsored by MITX in Boston. “It changes from vertical to vertical, and brand to brand. Consumes are taking more control over the content they like to see, and [data can help you] understand consumer intent.”

“[Knowing] the intent of the customer can get you close to providing an experience that is as personalized as possible,” said David Drollette, senior director, analytics at Wayfair.

It’s imperative, of course, to be as careful as possible with the data consumers provide.

“We can’t run the risk of alienating our customers. We have some customers who love to give out their data, because they love to see what we give back. And then some never give out their data,” said Drollette. “The big concern are the ones in the middle who are agnostic—until you do something that offends them. We need to be able to tailor an experience for people that is fantastic just before the point of creepy.”

Companies need to think about data as an asset, rather than just a tool to help create better business processes, said Phansalkar.

But you can’t analyze data you don’t have, noted Drollette. “Get the data first, and then you can deal with the heavier infrastructure questions.”

However, many brands often have more data than they realize. For example, said Benjamin Spiegel, senior partner, managing director of strategy, Group M, ratings and reviews count.

“It’s  already in the CRM or CMS system, and you just need someone with a data focused mind in your organization who can look at it and see what it can tell you about your customers,” he said.

Companies want to personalize based on the last click, but they need to be conscious of what the customer really wants.

“Take a customer in the market for a dining room table,” said Drollette. “At some point they might purchase, and it might not be from you. As soon as they make the signal that they’ve moved on to lamps or chairs, you need to be able to react to that as quickly as possible. That’s something that we’ll see more and more of from marketers.”



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