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Where's the Customer in All This Data?

Think back to the old days of direct marketing. The customer was always at the center because customer data is all we had. We sliced and diced behavioral information to send them, typically, the direct mail piece that was most likely to elicit a purchase. Fast forward to today with ballooning online marketing dollars and ever-increasing amounts of data. Sessions, page views, impressions, clicks ...

“One of the really unfortunate parts about all this data is that organizations can get analytics crazy. Clicks are more easily measured than joy.”

Golden Krishna

Designer at Google, Author of "The Best Interface is No Interface"

The actual customer, at times, gets lost in all this data. More and more brands are realizing this and moving back to a customer-centric approach. In working with one global omni-channel retailer, we were charged with driving CRM results through digital marketing. To accomplish this, we needed a tool that not only accounted for online and offline sales across channels, brands and media partners, but also brought the customer back into the view of traditional media reporting. On top of that, we needed to create this quickly so it could be used during the crucial holiday season to:

  • Drive media planning / buying
  • Provide visibility to audience-level data for long term goal setting / KPI alignment
  • Provide a robust near real time interaction for hypothesis creation and evaluation

The Approach:

Utilizing Merkle’s partnership with the Google Cloud Platform, we could quickly create an environment that included the same ad server and related cost data that is predominantly used in media reporting today. The next step was to leverage the robust customer data asset that is a result of our multi-year partnership with this client. A partnership that started with an initial marketing database build and has grown to include ongoing regular enhancements to this data asset with the end goal of having a complete view of the customer and all of that person’s related engagement activities with the brand, including site, purchase (online and offline), promotional, and loyalty.

The Solution:

The final solution integrated the data sets described above in an accessible and scalable platform, producing true customer-level reporting. Using Tableau, which was quickly and easily connected to this environment, the data was transformed into dynamic, user-friendly dashboards that will be used to drive the test and learn digital strategy.

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At a fraction of the time to market and a fraction of the cost of a traditional hosted on-premises data solution, we delivered a solution in time to be used for holiday planning and with minimal impact to the budget. By leveraging both new technology and a robust CRM database asset, we have created a tool that will efficiently drive insights back into the organization for this holiday season and beyond to: 

  • Drive more profitable sales
  • Rely less on promotion / discounts
  • Increasingly leverage customer information to influence marketing/business decisions

If you're interested in moving your data and analytics to the Cloud, check to see if we will be in your area for one of our upcoming Cloud workshops, or request a workshop for your organization on our Google Cloud page.

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