“Experts” have a habit of making things sound more complicated than they are – this allows their expertise to appear even more valuable than it actually is. So let me dispel a myth that seems to be perpetuated by the CRM industry – achieving the holy grail of data driven marketing, the Single Customer View (SCV), is not that complicated!
Wikipedia’s definition is that SCV is “is an aggregated, consistent and holistic representation of the data known by an organisation about its customers”. And that’s it. No scientific formula, no techno-babble that has marketers running for cover. It’s just all the information you have about your customers in one place.
Yet I regularly meet up with people who’ve been led to believe it’s far more complex than that, that it involves a significant financial investment, expertise in a complex technology, and must be discussed in a bespoke language that only CRM experts can understand!
I’m not diminishing the value of the specific knowledge CRM consultants have (and it’s just as well because I’m one of them) but as I said to an industry colleague last week, it’s not rocket science – it just sounds it if it’s not part of your day job. Some marketing organisations are even going so far as to say the premise of the need for an SCV is flawed – that it’s both unachievable and impractical because of the speed at which data changes and the ever growing number of communication channels we now operate – but certainly within the sports industry, there’s still a value in clubs, governing bodies and event-owners, continuing to aim for their customer data to be readily available in one place.
Average attendances across the Football League are up just 2% over previous seasons and while that’s a positive in such a negative economic climate, with the swathes of empty seats we still see, clubs should be exploring every opportunity to engage with their fans. And finding out who their customers are so they can more efficiently communicate with them has to be a logical step.
So for those of you considering how to go about creating an SCV, here are some key steps you need to follow:
1) Understand your objectives: if you can state why you need an SCV you’re halfway there
2) Assess your current situation: the state of your data, your data sources, the technology you use, etc.
3) Integrate all your data: export all your data files, identify the fields that are of relevance and then combine it all into one master file
4) De-dupe, correct, and enrich the data where possible, using if necessary, a third party such as Experian if you can handle it directly or a consultant like me
5) Assign a unique identifier to each record
Whether you have 5,000, 500,000 or 5 million customer records will dictate how you actually manage this process, but the principles are the same regardless.
The point is, it’s not rocket science and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.