When Forrester asked 510 marketers on CRM projects, ‘what’s your biggest challenge is in improving customer experience,’ the top three answers involved data (see below).


This makes sense – there is a fundamental lack of experience in organizations on how to use data correctly. This lack of experience makes organizations over-reach, trying to solve their data-gap in a software-only approach. Most of the time, the software they purchase is a generation or two ahead of where their actual data, the oxygen that feeds their platform, is. Furthermore, there is a lack of experience in how to build the models that interprets the data. This results in a tangible lack of return on the capital invested.

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Digital Maturity Model Graphic
Digital Maturity Model Graphic

After all, what is the purpose of data? I present these primary use cases:


This implies that there have to be processes within a retail organization that identify the ‘right’ data, collect / aggregate it, interpret it, then finally, apply it. Mapped to most organizations, it would look something like this:

Layer of work Who's Responsible
Identification Layer In most organizations, unfortunately no one is responsible for this. The extent of identification is usually dependent on a google analytics tag that collects slot click-stream data, but ignores any product or customer data that resides in ERP's, CRM's, Invoices, etc.s
Aggregation Layer Again, for most organizations this is just google analytics or ommiture.
Interpretation Layer These are the actual people in the organization 'those that need to look at data (or the reports), and make decisions on strategy and campaigns.
Application Layer This is typically technology, where digital campaigns and transaction occur.

When most companies say they want to be ‘data-driven,’ what they are really thinking about are metrics, but that won’t get them to where they want to be. When a Company bases strategies and campaigns on only metrics, they produce non-personal campaigns with various levels of success. To deliver campaigns that are contextual and relevant, one needs knowledge. A knowledge driven Company is one that has a fundamental understanding of how channels, products, and customers impact its top and bottom line revenue. Let’s take a look at how most companies should hope to mature on the metric to knowledge journey, and the results it can produce:

Data Maturity vs. Campaign Type graph
A Company is... ...when they are able to ... an example would be ...which leads to campaign effectives of
1. Metrical ...when they are able to only collect and aggregate metrics or KPI (i.e. GA main repot.). Last month I sold 2000 shoes to 1800 people.

42% of my traffic came from Google adwords, and led to 48% of sales.
Very low. Since this company is only looking at mafriae, their strategies and campaigns re,/ Ousely o. metrics, not insighffi. In this case, companies will simply:

Increase google adword spending (because it is 42% of traffic and 48% of revenue) and / or

send email campaigns to those 2000 people to sell more shoes.

There is no understanding of why those 1800 people bought those 2000 shoes or why adwords drove 48% of sales.
2. Informational ...when they are able ro padially cross dimensions, not just metrics. Last month I sold 2000 shoes to 1800 women, and 400 men.

42% of my traffic came from Google aslwords, and led to 48% of sales. However, of those 48% of sales, only 12% were return customers.
Medium. Now this company has more information about their customers. They are able to segment the type of people that were buying the shoes, and how often they are making repeat purchases. This leads to some better strategies.

I know I am attracting mainly new customers with google adwords. How can I drive a higher return on my Google investment by getting initial customers to come back?

I know I sell a lot of shoes to women - what can I cross-sell to women that will drive a higher order value?
3. Knowledgable ...when they are able ro cross product, channel, and customer data. Last month I sold 1300 cotton shoes, 400 open toed shoes, and 300 athletic shoes to 1600 women, and 200 men. The 1300 cotton shoes have an average star rating of 4.9.

42% of my traffic came from Google adwords, and led to 48% of sales. However, of those 48% of sales, only 12% were return customers. Of the 88% of new customers, 72% had visited my site before through organic search or another and campaign, and had added to cart 3 times before they made a purchase.
High - truly relevant ampaigns. Wow, this company now has real knowledge about their customers, the products they buy, and the channels they bought from.

It looks like cotton shoes are a hot-seller and highly rated. Let me send an email campaign to my existing customers who have not bought cotton shoes.

People are concerned about something after they add-toad. I should run an A/B test of a new Ul and a discount to see 2 it is my purchase flow that is confusing or maybe my prices are too high.
4. Transformational ...when you are able to predict, to at least 40% accuracy, the purchase habbits of your customers.

About the Author

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Rohit Garewal


Rohit is a forward-thinking eCommerce evangelist, especially focused on re-energizing the B2B sector and merging the old disciplines with new technology opportunities. He is passionate about delivering profitable growth through people-driven digital transformation. Watch his talk on digital transformation.

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