Multi-channel, cross-channel, integrated, digital: whatever you call it, organizations today needs to connect to their audience wherever, whenever they are — and they’re everywhere.

To complicate it further, the more you interact with consumers on different channels, with different departments, at different stages of the buying process, the harder and harder it becomes to accurately say who it is you’re actually talking to.

When you interact with your audience in lots of ways in lots of places, you end up with hundreds of customer identifiers representing just a single, real-life human being. 

That’s because the person you know as Becky Smith is also known as, or R. Smyth (according to your customer service team), or Rebecca Smyth at X Data Lane (your third-party data provider). When your contacts are interacting with you on multiple channels, it’s easy to make the wrong connections between data points or miss them altogether.

This means you could be overlooking valuable audience segments, duplicating efforts, or incorrectly targeting customers with a confusing and costly experience. 

You are not alone. According to Gartner, over 90% of marketers have difficulty connecting more than three channels in the buyer’s journey. When was the last time you connected with less than three channels from any brand before spending money with them? 

This fragmentation is potentially the biggest obstacle keeping brands from achieving true people-based marketing: that is, speaking to real individuals on a real level. 

The good news? It’s relatively easy to fix—if you know where to look. 

What is Data Unification?

Data unification is essentially merging customer records pulled from various channels, platforms, devices, and more, into a single, consolidated view, so you can tie them all up into the same person in a reliable way. We like to think of it as a single source of truth that gives you complete trust in your data.

The threat of a fragmented database is always present. If you’re like many marketers and looking to supplement the data you already own with new information from additional first, second, and third-party sources, you run the risk of muddying up your data with duplicates and mismatched records. And to add even more confusion; 60% of marketers are looking to increase the number of technology vendors they work with. 

While customer records stay static, real people have a pesky habit of moving around, changing their tastes, and just, well, getting on with their lives. This makes it hard to keep profiles up-to-date and accurate, so you need to stay on top of refreshing that data as close to real-time as possible. 

Connecting the Dots with Data Unification

Marketers who don’t work with data matching partners report that they find it three times more difficult to use offline data to target and personalize. And they’re nearly three times less confident at recognizing consumers in digital channels.

6 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience with Data

1. Take the Guesswork Out of the Game

Scattered customer records, be gone! Accurate matching gives you detailed insights into consumer habits, preferences, purchases, and so on by unifying and linking available data to a single, unified record.

You’ll also have a better understanding of the impact of marketing campaigns, lay the foundations for better segmentation, and make strategic, educated plans for future marketing activities. Let unbreakable trust in your data bring you new inspiration: never again will you have to throw out the data and “go with your gut” when insights fail to make sense.

2. Streamline Marketing Messaging

A customer could have signed up for your marketing messaging multiple ways, and without properly merging and de-duplicating customer contact data on a regular basis, you inevitably build up duplicate profiles. As a result, your customers receive the same messages numerous times, leading to confusion, distrust, frustration, unsubscribes, and potentially spam blocking.

With data matching and unification, you can merge or delete the duplicates and maintain a single,  unified record, streamlining the messaging process for both you and your customers.

3. Track Users Through the Buyer’s Journey

As you get an accurate picture of your customers, you get a 360-view of their buying habits: how they prefer to interact with your brand, on what device, with what search terms, for what reasons. This unified view allows you to deliver superior customer experiences on an individualized level. 

Personalized deals and content can be automatically triggered based on the stage of the funnel the user is in. And because these campaigns are often instantaneously triggered in real-time, you need to be able to count on the accuracy of your data 100% of the time. 

5. Pave the Way for Impressive Advanced Automation

As SaaS platforms get increasingly complex today, fragmented data means you may not be using your expensive software to its fullest potential. With reliable, enriched insights, marketing systems can develop highly personalized, triggered, and automated messaging to customers with minimal effort and maximum reward for marketers. 

6. Deeper Customer Insights

Data matching allows employees to access or accurately build a unified customer profile, pulled from multiple data sources and interactions without the need for advanced skillsets. These complete and granular customer profiles provide rich insights that enhance retargeting campaigns, cross-sell and up-sell efforts, and drive meaningful, relevant interactions for acquisitions.

Not only will you get more accurate analysis derived from the data as a whole, but individual records will contain a more complete view of the customer, so you can accurately act on things like average lifetime value, purchasing history, and behavioral patterns. 

The Ongoing Customer Journey

Organizations and their employees today often find themselves drowning in data, and yet starving for actionable information. Customer data is growing ever more complex – but there’s good news. 

With data unification, individuals of nearly any educational background are finally gaining easier access to these valuable insights. Juggling multiple datasets and confusing algorithms is finally a thing of the past. Finally, employees are gaining access to a more efficient way to perform these tasks without the need for a data scientist to glean meaningful insights from their own data.

Today’s top-tier marketer is experiencing never-before-seen ROI, not from acquiring or enriching their data with new insights, but making the data they already own more accessible, cleaner, and reliable with data unification.