Making the Most of Your Transactional Data

By Didier Gombert, Objectif Lune

It's no secret that there's been a shift in marketing departments in recent years. Previously, we saw a one-way relationship, where marketers simply pushed out information. Today, we live in the age of the customer. Empowered and always connected, consumers are using mobile devices and social media channels to provide real-time feedback on products and services, and their expectations for a personalized experience have never been greater.

When done right, customer-centric marketing will anticipate consumers' needs. Doing so successfully, however, requires first analyzing customer behavior, then creating a relevant experience across all of your communication channels. This is where big data can help. The ability to draw information from every touch point is allowing marketers to make smarter, data-driven decisions. So, how can marketers gain actionable insights from all of their customer data? 

Eliminate Data Silos

Integration is key when it comes to data access. Whether it's a database of email addresses, contact information or purchase history, businesses typically already have the tools they need to be successful. However, they are also likely dealing with this data in silos, which is inevitable as various departments build and buy additional IT systems to support their various lines of business. The challenge is connecting disparate systems without incurring excessive cost and resources required to build custom firmware. An easy solution is to capture the data output and combine it with a data integration solution. Rather than adding yet another system, this method lets you access data quickly, and allows you take advantage of what you already have in real-time.

Real-Time is Key

Gaining traction from big data is all about immediate and actionable insights. Customers have a limited attention span so it's imperative to make the most of every touch point. Use your customer data to develop marketing collateral that cross-sells and upsells new products and features based on purchase history. There are tools that make it easy to automatically incorporate relevant messaging into transactional communications in real-time - alerting customers of products or offers aligned to their purchasing preference, which increases brand loyalty and prevents businesses from wasting a precious engagement opportunity.

Let me offer an example: You have been going to the same car dealer year after year for a seasonal tire change. This car dealer is sending a promotional email about their tire change service. Wouldn't it make sense that they send this email to their existing customers that do not use this service, and instead offer you either a discount as a loyal customer, or promote a different service, let's say an oil change? This is what using data to drive loyalty means. 

Give Your Output a Makeover

Let's face it: technology from previous years isn't as sophisticated as it is today. Take your mainframe, for example. Your inflexible mainframe is holding years worth of relevant data that, until now, you couldn't do much with. Solutions are available that help turn your ugly mainframe output, into smart, useful information. This allows you to use customer data to ensure communication is better targeted and more personalized - driving leads and increasing sales. 

Not only can you personalize your marketing campaigns, but today's technology enables you can also extract data from static documents like invoices and turn them into HTML pages and emails. This helps you learn your customer's preferences and target them on the medium that is right for them. 

It's an exciting time for marketers, and as businesses continue to become more consumer-focused and experimental with data, the growing need to unlock powerful customer information will further drive technological advances. In the meantime, focus on eliminating silos, accessing data in real-time and personalization and you'll be on your way. 

Didier Gombert is the CEO at Objectif Lune, a leader in document lifecycle management solutions.