DataThree steps to create a 360-degree customer view in 2021

Three steps to create a 360-degree customer view in 2021

Finding and growing customers needs a more modern approach. With these three steps, retailers will be on their way to future-proofing their business.

30-second summary:

  • Unprecedented times leading to new consumer behavior.
  • New consumer behavior demands new ways of engagement.
  • It’s only with a 360-degree view that finding new customers and growing the ones you have is possible.
  • Get a modern data stack to help you do that faster and more reliably.

“We are in unprecedented times.” Haven’t we all heard that a million times this past year? It’s clear that this unique period in history is having a profound impact on every part of our lives, and  one area that’s seeing strong growth coupled with fascinating new trends is the retail and ecommerce space. With so many people working, studying, and living at home, the retailer – customer engagement model has been completely transformed.

However, the need for a solid, holistic view of the customer remains consistent. It’s only with a full 360-degree view of the customer — from initial consumer awareness to a smooth checkout process to cultivating a loyal, long-term relationship — that you can find and cultivate new customers, speed their time to buy, and grow the customer relationships you already have.

The data you relied on last year — or even last quarter — to make business decisions is no longer enough to retain a competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing market.

Unparalleled times require approaching customer engagement in unparalleled ways. Here are three steps you can take now to create a better, more comprehensive view of your customer this year.

Meet your customers where they are in their purchasing journey

At first blush, this seems obvious, but where your customers are today may not be where they were last year. In fact, many retailers are seeing a transformation in how consumers interact with their brand.

With countries, cities, and counties on lengthy lockdowns, the standard foot traffic that retailers have experienced for decades no longer exists. But it’s more than that: People aren’t commuting as much, which means awareness efforts, such as billboards, radio ads, and other physically placed advertisements (think buses, malls, etc.) aren’t seen by as many eyes.

So where are your customers? It all depends on your brand and your target audience. Social apps, such as Snapchat and TikTok, have exploded in popularity since the pandemic, and so have streaming services (e,g., Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix). Advertising within these platforms is a lucrative way to engage with people right now.

Rethinking your awareness strategy is not just important, it’s the first step in creating a 360-degree view of your customer. Once you know where your customers are — and aren’t — you can go find more.

Capture all your customer data

Starting with your early awareness advertising and going through to your website and check-out experience, and all the way to creating repeat, loyal customers, data flows from your customers back to you in unprecedented volumes.

Every ad impression, every shopping cart addition, and every opened email generate important data you can use. But often companies don’t capture all the data and struggle to piece it together later in order to make business decisions (we’ll get to that in step 3).

To generate that 360-degree view, it’s crucial that you capture all this data and bring it together. With only your website and check-out data, for example, you only have a partial view of what your customer looks like and how they behave.

You might be able to speed their time to buy — by noticing that a pop-up for 10% off helps a stalled cart check out, for example — but with only this data set, you won’t necessarily be able to deduce what you could do to find more customers like this one.

What if that 10% discount speeds up your time to buy AND finds you new customers? With the 360-degree view outlined here, you could take this bottom-of-the-funnel insight to your brand awareness or demand gen team so they can A/B test a discount earlier in the sales funnel and optimize your efforts.

Get a modern data stack to work for you

If you haven’t heard of the Modern Data Stack yet, you will very soon. In essence, it’s a collection of modern tools that allow you to make decisions faster with more data, greater reliability, and less effort.

It starts with all the SaaS tools and applications you already use to do your job — think Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Shopify, Marketo, etc. Instead of manually looking at the data within each platform — or through spreadsheets downloaded from those platforms — you pump them all into a single cloud data warehouse.

You can do this manually, which is a huge undertaking and can lead to working with outdated data, or with an automated data pipeline tool, such as Fivetran.

customer data stack

Once your data pipeline pumps all the data into your cloud data warehouse, you can start to build models to visualize your 360-degree customer view.

For example, you may want to model different attribution models to understand the most impactful first touch, run some segmentation analysis on your ad performance by audience, or look at certain parts of your marketing funnel.

Then, you can pump all these models into your dashboard of choice, and you’ve got everyone at your company using fresh, complete data to drive decisions around ad spend.

The bottom line is that these three steps truly represent the future of all data-driven decision making. So even as we emerge from these unprecedented times and surely into new ones, you can bring this scalable, modern system with you to empower your business regardless of changes to come.


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