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“Data Is a Key Driver”

In this third edition of our podcast, Christian Ballies shares experiences he gained as a freelance CRM and marketing consultant. Christian talks about finding the right data, tools, and team. Also he lets you know which are the most overrated buzzwords and the most promising trends these days.

As a freelance consultant, Christian helps companies to find the right strategy and tools for their needs. Previously, he worked for Hewlett-Packard, Canon, reBuy, Home24, Chal-Tec, and LeROI. Christians bottom line can be summarized as follows: Less is more when you know what you’re doing.

Which Data Do You Need to Run Your Business?

According to Christian, a lot of companies claim to have superior data at their disposal while the truth looks somewhat different. The most common issues in CRM and marketing are due to deficiencies when it comes to availability or quality of data. Sound data is a key driver in CRM and marketing. And it’s important to acknowledge that you don’t need tons of data, but the right data. As in many cases, the maxim is quality over quantity. The most significant challenge for most companies is to determine which data they need to track, analyze, and utilize for CRM and marketing purposes. Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb since data requirements strongly depend on the respective product and communication channels.

While defining relevant data points is one common hurdle, making use of it is another. Only if companies manage to utilize data for building customer segments and actively shaping individual customer journeys, will they be able to benefit really from collecting data.

Do You Need the Tools You Use?

Just as it is with data, a lot of companies seem to collect tools too. But the same holds true in this case: You need to know why you’re using specific tools, which goals you need to achieve, and which issues you need to solve. There is a plethora of tools on the market promising everything under the sun. Companies are well advised to carefully assess their real needs as well as the tools already in place. In doing so, insights obtained from historical data are precious – numbers don’t lie.

What’s the Perfect Team?

Since CRM, marketing, and communications are becoming more and more intertwined, the need to align all customer touch points increases. This bawls for an overarching team or position which accounts for orchestrating campaigns and other efforts across channels. While channel-specific teams for email, social media, and other channels still have their right to exist, they need to be far more aligned than they are in most cases today. Moreover, shared resources like design and content creation are required across channels. Last but not least, reporting and data analysis play an important role when pursuing data-driven approaches.

What Is Real Personalization?

If companies get all of the above right, they will most probably do a proper job in personalizing messages across channels–Or at least they will be able to. Despite a common misconception, personalization is way more than just including a customer’s name in an email. It includes accounting for individual preferences regarding channel, frequency, and content of any kind–be it copy, images, videos, or product recommendations. Content preferences can, for instance, also be used for on-site personalization or direct mail, adding relatively new channels to the mix. The modern customer journey is far from being linear, and customers expect brands to fit into their everyday lives without annoying them. When companies are companions more than sales reps, customers are more likely to stay loyal.