Most brands today understand the importance of having an omnichannel strategy, but doing so will become more complex as Internet of Things (IoT) adoption continues to grow alongside customer demand for more personalisation.
Consumers are acquiring more and more web-connected devices and therefore, expanding the number of touchpoints through which companies must be able to communicate and extract information about their customers, according to Joseph Suriya, senior marketing director, Tealium Asia-Pacific .
They will have to be able to manage this and understand that they are marketing to an individual, rather than a group of people with similar interests or considerations, he explained in an interview with DTCDaily.
Suriya said: “Everyone is espousing the need to be omnichannel and be where the customer is. This is going to get bigger with IoT and will be a larger consideration for brands. Understanding and resolving identities will be key as will the need to comply with government regulations and security requirements.”
As companies deploy omnichannel strategies, he added, the ability to govern communications via a single point and with regulatory oversights would be particularly important.
“Organisations need to know where their data is going, who has access to it, and who has the ability to act on the data, and have teams in place to carry out governance [for data privacy laws] such as Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and Singapore’s PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act),” he said. “They must be able to be transparent about what they’re doing with the data.”
That data typically would be created in silos and disparate, further exacerbates the complexity of managing customer information, he added. Citing figures from Netskope, he noted that most companies used more than 90 types of marketing and data technology applications, making it tough to gather as well as act on data in a timely fashion.
This already complicated environment was worsening due to the growth in martech, where there had been a 4,000% growth in the number of vendors in the industry since 2011, he said.
To resolve these challenges, Suriya pitched the importance of building a common data layer that sat across all lines of business within the organisation and to which relevant employees had access. It also should establish one consolidated view of data policies and access permissions.
He also urged brands to understand what data they needed to collect, especially as the online and offline realms merge.
Suriya said: “There will always be a way for apps and ‘things’ to connect to data and, if they are completely offline, they then need to build a data model around that. It will be critical that they start to think about how customers interact with the brand.”
Tealium’s customer and Hong Kong airline carrier, Cathay Pacific, for instance, tapped the adtech vendor’s Universal Data Hub to unify datasets across its organisation and create a single, centralised view of its customers. This data layer enabled the airline to carry out real-time monitoring of user behaviours and better understand and analyse the data more effectively, he said.
The data hub supported the rollout of two campaigns, targeting India’s family segment and giving Cathay Pacific a 70% uplift in overall revenue, as well as business travellers from Australia and New Zealand travelling to Asia, which pushed its revenue up 95%.
So what data remains elusive to capture? Suriya pointed to an employee’s personal data bank of customer knowledge. “That’s hard to identify,” he said. “You want to be able extract [the right] signals amongst the noise and identify consumer intent, but there are elements you can’t pull out like personal relationships.”
He also underscored the importance of driving direct relationship with customers. So whilst retail brands should tap e-commerce marketplaces such as Lazada and Amazon for a wider scale and reach, they also must realise the need to have control of their own customer data and establish as much understanding of their customers as possible, he noted.
For now, at least, with the e-commerce market dominated by few players, retail brands would have to work with these marketplaces to access customer data as well as manage data from their own customer interactions.
He acknowledged, though, that it would be challenging to meld both data models.