Have you ever rummaged through your junk drawer looking for a paperclip? That’s what it feels like when you’re searching for consumer insights from siloed or disparate data sources. These days, brands have data flowing from a variety of drawers, desks and online properties, and without the right tools to manage it all, they tend to lose it, ignore it or miss the important bits.
Data management is one area where it pays to have all of your eggs in one basket. To that end, we’ll explore what you should know about customer data integration, with a focus on:
- What is customer data integration?
- Why customer data integration is important
- Solving the customer data integration puzzle
Consumer data is being created every day on an exorbitant scale. There’s a world of consumer insights within it, so brands can’t afford to let it pass them by. Here are a few statistics that speak to data output on a global level:
- Data created and consumed globally reached 64 zettabytes in 2020 and is projected to reach 181 annually by 2025. For perspective, one zettabyte equals one trillion gigabytes.
- Not much data appears to be retained, however. Only two percent of data produced and analyzed in 2020 was saved going into 2021.
- The global analytics as a service (AaaS) market was valued at 8.38 billion in 2018 and is forecast to top 101 billion by 2026
If your brand has data all over the place, you’re not alone. However, disorganized data is a headache you don’t have to have. Let’s look at how customer data integration provides solutions for siloed and disparate data sources.
What is Customer Data Integration?
Quite simply, customer data integration is the process of centralizing siloed consumer data to enhance accessibility and speed up the process of analysis. If different sets of consumer data are dispersed throughout your organization, speed to insight and overall utility of your analytics suffers.
Organizing your consumer data into one database or analysis tool creates a centralized hub for your data that can be accessed at a moment’s notice. This eliminates hurdles to your decision-making process. When action needs to be taken, data analytics makes decision-making five times faster, with one caveat – you have to know where your data is. And that’s where customer data integration comes in.
If you haven’t noticed, brands are running each other over to get the upper hand through consumer and market intelligence. And data analytics is a massive part of the equation. There are two sides of this data coin to get a handle on.
On the one side, there’s the ocean of consumer data free-floating across the internet via social media, traditional news outlets, blogs, forums, and review sites. And on the flip side, you have your various internal datasets, such as:
Bringing all these data sources into one centralized hub ensures they can be readily included in any customer-centric analysis you run. This increases depth of insight and the speed you attain it. As such, customer data integration increases your competitiveness in the process.
Let’s touch on the importance of customer data integration a little, and then we’ll talk solutions.
Why Customer Data Integration is Important
Most likely, each department within your organization collects consumer data of some kind. If your department is in the hunt for comprehensive consumer intelligence and you’re unaware some of these datasets exist, then you’re operating under less-than-optimal circumstances.
When a barrier exists between data sources, we consider that siloed data. Ignorance and reluctance to share data within an enterprise are detrimental to comprehensive consumer intelligence. If you don’t have the entire picture, you’re forced to build a strategy with incomplete data.
For example, if you’re running a post-purchase analysis on your customers to improve brand loyalty, you’ll need all the relevant data you can get your hands on. If consumer reviews, surveys, and social listening are all you have to go on, then you’ll have to make do with what you have.
But what if customer service is sitting on a mountain of chat logs, email correspondence, and call transcripts that you don’t know about? That would be an invaluable resource for your analysis and a shame you don’t have it.
This scenario plays out with brands across the globe every day. Departments collect data and silo them away, never to be seen or heard from anywhere else in the organization. But that’s not the only problem.
There are staggering amounts of consumer data added to the internet every day in the form of social media, traditional news outlets, blogs, and forums. In its natural state, this type of data is nebulous, unorganized, and humanly impossible to extract meaning from.
Brands will often piecemeal a media monitoring strategy using several free tools to save money on the front end. So, they may be looking at Facebook and Instagram site metrics, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and maybe some fly-by-night media monitoring software for good measure. Over the long term, this is usually a recipe for disaster.
While it’s theoretically possible to gather consumer insights in this manner, it doesn’t work well in practice. First, aside from Hootsuite, most of these tools aren’t meant to work together, making data analysis challenging. Secondly, using incongruent tools for your social listening and media monitoring adds another layer of disparity to your data strategy.
Customer data integration can seem intimidating, but it’s really like folding your socks and putting them all in one drawer. Yes, there’s a little legwork involved, but once you have your system in place, you’ll never look back.
Solving the Customer Data Integration Puzzle
Having all your data under one roof is the priority with customer data integration, but not just any solution will do. If it only houses your internal data, you still lack a social listening and media analytics component – a rich resource of consumer intel. Ideally, your data management solution should handle it all. And what you definitely don’t want is to go through the process twice when your tools don’t run as advertised.
NetBase Quid offers a one-stop-shop for brands seeking a data solution covering their in-house data plus social listening and media analytics. Out of the box, NetBase allows you to analyze social data at scale and 9x faster than any other solution on the market, so you know what customers are saying at any moment.
Additionally, you can aggregate and get insight into customer conversations no matter where they happen, including owned, earned, partnered, and paid channels. And you can do so retroactively with up to 27 months of historical social data.
NetBase offers robust filtering capabilities so that you can view your audience conversations from any angle for the ultimate viewpoint of your customers. And NetBase offers transparency and granularity in every analysis you run – including your internal data.
That’s because you can upload your internal consumer datasets as a CSV file into the tool, so your in-house data and social listening exist together on the same platform, ready for your next analysis.
This helps your brand achieve your customer data integration goals by breaking down your data siloes with one access point for your data. Sharing access with your teams allows them to add new data, which removes redundancies and ensures you’re always using the latest data.
For the icing on the cake, all your social listening analyses open seamlessly in Quid Social. And to take full advantage of Quid’s data visualization capabilities, you can also choose to upload your proprietary data into the Quid platform as well. And since Quid captures news media, blogs, company financial data, patents, and M&A intel, your brand will be more than covered on the media analytics and market intelligence front.
In short, customer data integration can be mind-numbingly frustrating – but it doesn’t have to be. Reach out for a demo, and we’ll show you how NetBase Quid can centralize all the data sources you need into one platform. We do the heavy lifting with your data analytics so you can get back to doing business.