Single customer view is the holy grail for marketers and data analysts. It allows them to see how customers really behave.

It can give marketing teams the ammunition they need to increase their conversion rates and drive repeat orders.

But how do you actually create a single customer view? What data do you need to capture? And how can you reap the benefits?

Let’s dive in…

Table of contents:

What is a single customer view?

A single customer view (SCV) is a method for combining all of the available data about a customer or prospect.

Companies can use this unified view of their customer base to deliver deeper, more personalised purchase experiences — often on a 1:1 basis.

The ultimate goal is to leverage the single customer view to build omnichannel campaigns that drive long-term loyalty and increase lifetime value (LTV).

Why do you need a single customer view?

A single customer view enables marketers to bring a wealth of data together to improve their marketing efforts. 

Used correctly, customer data can power the following processes:

  1. Better audience segmentation

Data enables brands to have a strong understanding of customers resulting in improved targeting. With a higher volume of data, the organisation can create more categories and target consumers according to specific behaviours. Data can enable marketers to formulate well-informed customer segments. 

  1. Improved customer experiences

A 360-degree view enables customer service agents to see every touchpoint where the consumer has interacted with the company. Whenever the customer next contacts the company, the customer service agent can join the dots on the complete buyer journey, enabling staff to tailor the experience. Highly personalised interactions result in winning customer experiences.  

  1. Breaking down data silos

When a particular department needs information on the transaction history of a specific customer, they no longer have to chase different teams or get in touch with the relevant department. Instead, all of the information that staff need is at their fingertips from a single source. A centralised data warehouse speeds up internal processes and makes procedures far more efficient, leading to quicker issue resolution. 

  1. More accurate marketing attribution

Having a comprehensive understanding of the marketing funnel is crucial for cultivating an engaging customer experience. With a myriad of channels available to consumers, feeding budget into the various marketing disciplines requires a deeper understanding of the contribution of different operations. 

Attribution is something many marketers continue to struggle with; a singular view of the data can help to facilitate a better understanding of the steps that the customer took along the path to conversion. Seeing the data from all of the touchpoints helps to build a broad picture of the customer journey. 

What data goes into a single customer view?

The type of data that will go into a single customer view will vary from across different organisations and depends on the range of data warehouses available to the company. 

The data can come from many sources and include both online and offline data.

A robust customer data platform (a popular software solution for attaining a single customer view) can ingest data from a large variety of sources including website, ad networks, email marketing platforms, CRM software, app, and in-store POS data.

A platform with a 360-degree view could include the following: 

  • CRM and customer data
    The customer-specific data includes identifiable details, such as name, address, email and mobile phone number.
  • Transactions at point-of-sale and ecommerce
    Historical transactional data will enable companies to see trends in customer buying behaviour and identify specific patterns, including instances of successful cross-selling and upselling. 
  • Communication history
    Visibility on how the customer responded to company communications can inform future campaigns. Email marketing data, such as open times can help to optimise planned communication, allowing marketers to target specific customer segments. 
  • Geographic and demographic data
    Information such as age bands, spending category, affluence, and lifestyle data enables companies to drill down further into specific groups of customers and improves the quality of segmentation. 
  • Customer preference data
    It is essential to see which customers have opted in or out of receiving specific marketing communications.

Why is a single customer view so important?

Through a wide range of touch points, companies now have access to a vast repository of data about customer behaviours. Marketers must refine the outputs from their marketing software to harvest actionable insights.

Personalised marketing has been an area of growth for several years; consumers now expect a much more tailored and targeted experience. Platforms and online retailers including Amazon, Netflix and Tesco Clubcard have contributed to customers demanding personalisation as the norm, rather than a nice-to-have. 

But personalisation is about more than simply putting a first name in an email.

Crucially, when done well, a personalised experience takes into account customers’ behaviours and preferences. Research that indicates that personalisation directly impacts customer loyalty. According to an Accenture Pulse study, 91% of consumers said that they were more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant, targeted offers and recommendations. 

A truly personalised customer experience requires input from a unified data warehouse, which provides the fuel to tailor communications at every customer touchpoint. 

A single view of the customer provides the springboard to more intelligent marketing, smarter segmentation, deeply engaging personalisation strategies, and targeted marketing campaigns.

Summing up single customer view

A single customer view holds the key to unlocking personalisation and hyper-relevant marketing. The data collected from a unified platform enables marketers to improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Moreover, a unified view powers a focus on garnering long-term loyalty through a focus on customer lifetime value.

CDPs are the most popular solution to create a complete single customer view.

While it can take time to gather the data needed for an integrated platform, those companies that focus on an integrated approach will reap the benefits of more effective personalisation and informed decision-making, leading to higher customer retention and reduced churn.

Alex Quaye is a digital marketing expert with 10 years experience in data analytics, tag management, and growth marketing. He’s helped companies like Gousto, John Lewis, and Hotel Chocolat to acquire more customers with digital marketing. Follow Alex on LinkedIn.