James Mooney | 6th August 2018

Data Warehouse vs. Single Customer View

I don’t mind admitting that when I first entered the world of data at the end of 2011, I didn’t quite understand the difference between a data warehouse and a Single Customer View (SCV). Often using the references interchangeably.

I now refer to an SCV as a centralised database that houses your structured and personally identifiable data: individual and unique customer records that provide the information your marketing, sales, and customer service teams need. Conversely, a data warehouse collects high volumes of both structured and unstructured data. It’s usually an enterprise-wide tool, doesn’t need to match to a unique customer, and therefore does not include any additional processing to make the data usable to marketers.

According to a 2016 report by Experian, a global consumer marketing services provider, 81% of marketers report having challenges in trying to achieve an SCV.

The importance of your SCV really can’t be understated. It’s one of the most crucial elements of your technology stack. Without it, any other contributory components cannot function with full efficiency or efficacy. Imagine your marketing campaign platforms attempting to send the right message to the right person, when the data in your SCV is incorrect, or your analytics count your fans twice, or three times because of the presence of duplicates! Your SCV provides the hub of your CRM and data-driven activities. When you combine your unique records with marketing technologies you can generate insights that support your marketing decisions. You can easily visualise and analyse your data at speed to identify the perfect audience for your targeted marketing, but only if it’s been processed in the right format to make it usable.

The Single Customer View


According to Forrester’s CustomerThink survey of 2015, a key challenge for 47% of organisations implementing CRM is the creation of an SCV (Single Customer View). Your ticket buyers, your fan club members, your corporate clients, your online store buyers, players, referees and volunteers, all housed together in a single database.

But it’s not all the data we have about these individuals that we’re after, it’s just the data that supports your CRM strategy, the information that you need to support your targeted marketing campaigns and help you make decisions.

With this in mind, the data in your SCV generally includes:

Individual contact details: name, full postal address, email address, mobile number and, if available, any social handles or IDs that they use. More advanced digital marketers may also have IP addresses and other digital channel identifiers such as application user IDs.

Demographic data: the identifiers that are common to us all, such as age, gender, education, income level, occupation, and marital and family status. While not all of us have all this information and some of us may never go on to secure it, there are some key data fields that are important to all sports rights owners, so we’ll look into this in greater detail.

Behavioural data: the information that tells us how our stakeholders interact with us, both online and offline. Do they attend our events? Do they volunteer or compete? Do they visit our website (and if so, which content areas?), use our apps, open our emails and follow us on Facebook?

Transactional information: this isn’t just financial, but could also include date or event-related data.

Lifestyle data: within lifestyle data we include those elements that are generally of more interest to our sponsors, enabling us to create segments for targeted marketing on behalf of official partners.

In addition to these five areas we also need our SCV to hold our opt-ins from our customers and fans: the indicator that shows our fans are giving us express permission to communicate with them directly and to profile their information. This will enable us to build segments and personas that support our data-driven approach.

From an SCV to DMP and CDP


We touched on an SCV, but we also have two further database definitions to introduce at this point. DMP (Data Management Platform) and CDP (Customer Data Platform). So, what are the key differences?

As we discussed above, your SCV deals with the information you have about an individual that includes their contact data. This means you know who they are and, subject to their opt-in status, can communicate with them directly. They’re known to you.

A DMP manages the data of your customers who are a little lower in the CRM pyramid, your fans who engage with you digitally, who can be targeted on an individual basis but using non-personally identifiable information. In other words, you can identify them but they’re anonymous to you. This includes IP address, mobile identifiers and cookie IDs.

Finally, a CDP is commonly used to refer to the database environment that allows you to bring both sets of data together, known and anonymous. This approach ensures that you retain the rich behavioural history of your anonymous fans (and you will have many of them) so that when they do become known to you (once they buy a ticket, register to use your site, or subscribe to a newsletter), you can link all the relevant information you have into one single record.

Admittedly, I’m not aware of many sports rights owners who’ve yet progressed to needing a CDP, and only a few who are considering a DMP but there are many that are still challenged by the notion of an SCV.

*Taken as an excerpt from Winning with Data – CRM and Analytics in the Business of Sports, available from our publishers, Routledge and Amazon.

As you can see there are many different stages for customer data storage. If you need help assessing your next steps in this area please contact us.

Data Warehouse vs. Single Customer View

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