Remarkable customer relationships results from a consistent process of developing, understanding and getting to know who they are. Organizations including Google, Amazon and many others, follow the data-first marketing policy as the guiding light to build their business and overall success. So, how do you start planning and practicing ‘customer-first’ policy and putting it into the motion? The best route is to start with the data.

How does putting “customer first” or data-first marketing approaches work? 

Data-first or data-driven marketing refers to implementing and optimizing marketing campaigns strictly to the customer data sourced from various data sources. Leveraging accurate and updated data in marketing decision-making process assists marketers in understanding and analyzing their customers better, enhancing segmentation and targeting to increase the impact of messages and results.

In this guide, we will explain four types of data and campaign management systems to help you get started with and gain success with data-first marketing approaches.

First thing first, be well-versed with the customer databases

The first and foremost thing is to take into consideration the current data status. Marketers need to assess the current data status of the database to set a realistic business goal for present, future and the overall business roadmap. Most businesses maintain more than 10 data management platforms to store data on customers as well as their business processes and these may include – 

1. Customer Relationship Management System or CRM

A Customer Relationship Management System refers to the database that usually holds all customer data sources including personal data, sales opportunities, sales conversion data, revenue data, new offers and subscription renewals and many others. This platform is used as the main interface wherein the sales team reps keep all the accounts, leads, contacts, cases and all other customer focused data. Additionally, a CRM system will also hold data on several sales and marketing activities such as sales calls and event participation data which reveal more in-depth data on customers’ interests and behavior.  

2.  Marketing technology systems

A marketing technology systems can be of different types such as, email service providers, marketing automation platforms, various advertising technologies and many others, which help marketers running marketing operations and campaigns. Usually, these marketing technologies are used in sync with CRM systems as they support CRM integration to run campaigns based on the CRM data and also updates the CRM data automatically as customer data changes. These systems also enable marketers to cross-reference their audience and customer data with a comprehensive view on customer details. These marketing systems are also used as a tool to monitor customer responses and engagement on their ongoing marketing campaigns which may or may not be related to sales offers. Types of customer engagement data accessible from dashboards of the marketing systems help marketers with a wide spectrum of customer insights such as, website browsing activity, email clicks, email bounce, sign ups, content download, event registration, email unsubscribe, overall campaign engagement, and many others in real-time.

3. Data Warehouse systems

The product satisfaction and usage data is usually sent to and maintained in data warehouse systems that serve as the primary customer data repository. These customer data sources aid in different data requirements for various systems such as operations platforms, financial applications, marketing and sales systems, purchase systems and many others, since these data warehouses present cleansed, standardized and usable versions for all these different  systems. These data warehouses benefit marketers in discovering how their customers are purchasing (whether for themselves or someone in their family, friends or work), how customers are using products or services, satisfaction or issues they face, problems that products solves, and many other relevant details on usage. 

4. Analytics tools

There are gamut of analytics tools are used by marketers and sales professionals; the major types of them are reporting, data visualization, business intelligence or BI among many others. As data warehouse systems act in storing customer data diverse data sources and processes, marketers use analytics and reporting systems to process those data accumulated, visualize and format data to get insights for campaigns. These analytics tools serve in a plethora of purposes e.g., getting generic customer trends, minute and specific insights, get data presented in visual-rich diagrams to measure and extract actionable business intelligence. That’s why these analytics tools are favorites for all marketing, advertising and sales professionals for all types of data requirements whether to source overall campaign performance insights, to delve into ad campaign data minutely based on specific metrics, to get detailed breakdown data of marketing attribution and many others.

Other Martech or business tools

Presently, most organizations implement a wide range of marketing, sales and business operation systems to run optimized processes and for creating personalized customer experiences. Platforms like marketing automation systems are usually considered as the centralized system to store data, while other tools can be integrated with these automation platforms  to extract data and optimize content, messages, social media, mobile marketing and other campaign requirements such as, website personalization, mobile websites, social media advertising, account-based marketing or ABM, data enrichment and many others. These martech systems are now proven to be highly useful in improving marketing campaign effectiveness by choosing the right marketing technology stack. However, many marketers find working on a stack of multiple marketing technology systems complex and difficult to configure, optimize, implement, integrate and manage multiple martech outlets.

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