Marketing & CX Strategy

The Data-Driven Customer Experience

28 Sep 2016, Dave Kilimnik


The data is in: Customer Experience was the #1 investment area for marketers according to Gartner’s 2015 CMO Spend Survey.

That’s just one of several reports showing the value of data-driven marketing. So far, all the data shows that you need…guess what…data to drive meaningful business results and a return on your Customer Experience investment.

Marketers from leading data-driven brands report massively better business results compared to their peers who lag and don’t use customer data to enrich their customers’ experience.   In a study conducted by Forbes in 2015, leaders reported increases of nearly 2x in revenue, 3x in customer loyalty, 5x in customer retention, and nearly 6x in profitability.

Hot damn, that’s pretty impressive.   Of course – any good data professional will tell you that correlation is not necessarily causation. It could well be that the firms who are leaders in data driven marketing happen to also be better across the board at managing their operations.   But we can at least agree that the research shows that these brands are onto something.

And I think we can also agree that the research is validated by what we see and smell in our experience as marketers. In fact, 92% of marketers agree on the value of 1:1 marketing. And 66% agree that personalization of the customer experience is the best use of marketing data. And yet…only 50% of marketers use any data at all to personalize messages and offers.

Why is that? And, what’s wrong with the other 50% of marketers?

Part of the reason for the discrepancy is that the idea of a “data-driven customer experience” is still new, and most organizations are not yet mature in this area.   Many marketers have the best of intentions, but they don’t yet have their organizations backing them, and don’t have the capabilities in-house to make it all happen.   And building a data-driven capability is a journey that takes time. At HERO we look closely at a brand’s use of data and typically grade their maturity based on the following:


Minimal data capabilities. Typically web-only analytics which measure traffic.


Basic data capabilities that are anchored on an audience segmentation strategy. Brands in this category will typically have their analytics tied to Key Performance Indicators.   They do measurement, optimization, and personalization within a channel. They typically have the company website as a primary channel, with secondary channels such as mobile managed and measured separately.


Advanced data capabilities with a single view of the customer and a multi-faceted segmentation strategy. These marketers are performing measurement, personalization, and optimization ACROSS channels. They have the data sophistication to tie their analytics to business outcomes.


Best-in-class data capabilities that allow 1:1 marketing.   These brands perform continuous testing and optimization, and capture customer data at every touch point.   They have data science teams that work with the data to yield insights which loop back into marketing plans.   They develop personalized upsell and cross-sell pathways. Their analytics are tied directly to revenue.


Hero_BlogGraphic_Factoid_472x472_opt3If you’re thinking that you have a long way to go, don’t worry because you’re not alone. But, you should get moving! Using data to mature your Customer Experience can yield big business results for your firm. And, there’s every chance that your competitors are a half step ahead.

At HERO we love to help our customers figure out where to start, and how to get valuable results quickly.   We typically start by doing a short Data Diagnostics exercise which identifies business goals, and also assesses the current use of data in the organization. From there, we can identify areas of focus across our data disciplines of Experience Analytics, Optimization, Business Intelligence and Data Management.

Dave Kilimnik is CEO of Hero Digital.