Previously on this blog, we talked about what has changed in marketing during the last two decades. I introduced four key issues that successful marketing organisations need to get across: the rise of social and mobile; the digitisation of everything and the behavioural insight that results from making the journey from transactions to interactions; the expectations that millennials, in particular, have for customer service; and how social media means you don’t own your brand like you used to. In this final instalment, I want to talk about what has stayed the same in customer-centric marketing.

The one thing that hasn’t changed in the last two decades is the importance of integrated data for segmenting customers, understanding their behaviours, and quantifying their wants and needs.

You want to listen to the customer

If you want to listen to the customer, you need to understand the reviews that she has written online, to analyse the tweets she’s posted that include one of your hashtags, to understand what she has told the call centre agent, to know what she has just done online — plus what she didn’t do when she was offline in the store yesterday.

There are more sources of data available than ever, and some are more complex to acquire, wrangle, manage, and analyse than others. As some attendees at the recent Future of Marketing event pointed out, integrating new sources of data at the customer level is often difficult or impossible because of the way that channels like Facebook operate. That platform in particular often requires that you indicate the segments you wish to target. Facebook will then count the clicks and bill you, but won’t necessarily tell you who viewed your content.

The introduction of GDPR also has important implications for marketers — a topic of lively debate at the meeting at Oxford Saïd Business School.

You need to integrate data

But to have any hope of connecting those dots and understanding the bigger picture, you still need to integrate data across as many channels as you can. There may be many more channels today, but the fundamentals of customer-centric marketing are still the same as they were when Don Peppers and Martha Rogers first wrote "The One to One Future" way back in 1993: Products and channels are merely means; knowing thine customer is the end goal. Uou only really know your customers when you understand each and every interaction they have with your brand, regardless of touchpoint.

Within data integration too, names have come and gone. We used to speak about ‘CRM data marts’, then about ‘customer data warehouses’. Now — especially where high-volume, multi-structured interaction data like weblogs and call centre agent notes are concerned — we often speak about a ‘data lake’ as part of a ‘logical data warehouse’.

The one thing that hasn’t changed in the last two decades is the importance of integrated data for segmenting customers, understanding their behaviours, and quantifying their wants and needs.

Whatever you call it (and it will probably always be the single view of customer (SVOC) to an old-timer like me), an integrated view of demographic, transaction, and now interaction data has never been more important. With that data foundation in place, many things become possible. Without it, almost everything worthwhile is impossible.

Why should I listen to a data guy when it comes to marketing?

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Well he would say that, wouldn’t he? After all, he’s a data guy. And he works for a data company”.

A single data point is anecdote, not evidence. But let me offer you a relevant anecdote anyway. I was speaking to a venture capitalist at a conference recently who is currently concentrating on the FinTech sector. We talked for a while about the changes taking place in financial services, the part that FinTechs are playing in making those changes, and the things that come easier to the FinTechs than perhaps they do to the big banks. I asked him, “So what do the big banks have that you don’t?” He smiled at me as if I had just asked the most obvious question in the world. His answer? “Two things: a banking license, and all that data about their customers!”

You see, despite everything that has changed in marketing in the last 20 years, it really is still all about the data.

Martin Wilcox

Martin is a Senior Director in Teradata’s Go-To Market organisation, charged with articulating to prospective customers, analysts and media organisations Teradata’s strategy and the nature, value and differentiation of Teradata technology and solution offerings.

Martin has 21 years of experience in the IT industry and is listed in dataIQ’s “Big Data 100” as one of the most influential people in UK data-driven business. He has worked for 5 organisations and was formerly the Data Warehouse Manager at Co-operative Retail in the UK and later the Senior Data Architect at Co‑operative Group.

Since joining Teradata, Martin has worked in Solution Architecture, Enterprise Architecture, Demand Generation, Technology Marketing and Management roles. Prior to taking-up his current appointment, Martin led Teradata’s International Big Data CoE – a team of Data Scientists, Technology and Architecture Consultants tasked with assisting Teradata customers throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia to realise value from their Big Data assets.

Martin is a former Teradata customer who understands the Analytics landscape and marketplace from the twin perspectives of an end-user organisation and a technology vendor. His Strata (UK) 2016 keynote can be found at: and a selection of his Teradata Voice Forbes blogs can be found online, including this piece on the importance – and the limitations – of visualisation.

Martin holds a BSc (Hons) in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Sheffield and a Postgraduate Certificate in Computing for Commerce and Industry from the Open University. He is married with three children and is a lapsed supporter of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. In his spare time, Martin enjoys playing with technology, flying gliders, photography and listening to guitar music.

View all posts by Martin Wilcox

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