What is Customer Data Integration (CDI) & How to Do It

Customer data integration (CDI) is the process of unifying the data collected at various customer touch points. And when properly captured and analyzed, consumer data can reveal a wide range of useful information for the business. Let’s see how it looks!


In marketing, a touchpoint is a point of contact between a consumer and a brand. To use a metaphor, this contact slowly reveals the temperature and texture of the brand, making an impression on the consumer. Over time, these sensations breed familiarity and elicit emotions that shape the consumer’s perceptions and purchase decisions – the brand becomes “top of mind” when the consumer has a need for its products or services.

And at the same time, the business crafting these experiences has the opportunity to learn something significant about the consumer by aggregating and analyzing the effectiveness of the touch points. This is the heart of customer data integration.

Customer Data Integration: From the Fringes to the Center

Analyzing consumer data can be a challenge when it is collected from disparate sources, as is apt to happen. Consider the many potential touchpoints: social media, websites, blogs, advertisements, review sites, forums, emails, interviews, old media, events, and point of sale. Before they can be qualified as “sales-ready” potential customers have to go through a number of these touch points. Why is this?

On one hand, consumers have access to more information than ever before, so they take their time conducting research on their desired purchase. On the other hand, businesses have a threshold for when a consumer typically becomes a potential customer. This threshold varies from one business and from business model to another.

It has been accepted around marketing circles that potential customers cross at least seven touch points before they can be deemed sales-ready. During that time, the business is qualifying them based on various criteria such as: budget (can they afford it?), authority (are they the decision maker?), need (how important is it to them?), and timeframe (when are they likely to buy?). Answering these questions takes gathering information from various sources and bringing it together for analysis.

Beyond qualifying leads, customer data integration is important for customer relationship management (CRM). Once the purchase has been made, businesses should want to develop the relationship further to encourage repeat purchases and foster loyalty. Data collected pre-purchase comes in handy when creating a profile of the customer. Even further down the line, customer history can be used to calculate customer lifetime value (CLV) and determine potential revenue.

All this shows how customer data integration has gradually moved from being a fringe tool used for simple customer tallies to being central in marketing strategy.

Benefits of Customer Data Integration

Businesses that have a customer data integration strategy in place are much better off than those that deal with their data in silos. For the sake of simplicity, we have compressed the benefits into three major points. And it’s important to note that pulling all of this insight into your business intelligence system is a snap when you’re using an Intelligence Connector.


1.Create a Complete View of The Customer

Basically, your customer’s identity is only as good as the data you have on them. Dealing with hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of customers, it is impossible to know them all personally.

Let’s take a particular customer who sees a story about you on the news, views your website to learn more about your business, interacts with your brand on social media, goes to your ecommerce store to browse offers, and buys an item. In this case, you have a clear view of them: You saw them right from the moment they walked in; and not only did you see the actions they took but also you understand them.

To track multiple buyers across the various points of contact, you need data from at least three tools, just from the example above. If this data is brought together through CDI, you can see each individual buyer as clearly as you would if you only had the one customer.

2. Discover New Opportunities

Your own consumer data is one of the most fertile grounds for new opportunities. Analyzing this data can reveal information about how consumer needs are being met.

Analysis can show you changes in consumer expectations, shifts in spending, and concerns surrounding your brand, among others. You can use the data to segment your customers dividing them into smaller groups of more closely related individuals. This would then help you in targeting your marketing messages and achieve better outcomes. Consumer data can also show you the most in-demand product categories at a particular time. This is information you can use to get a leg up on your competition.

However, with data all spread out across multiple tools, it may not even occur to you that there are gaps to be fixed or potential crises to be averted. CDI helps you understand consumer needs based on the complete activity of individual buyers. And you can isolate important conversations, creating new themes based on your discoveries, for ongoing analyses:


3. Make sales projections

The ability to predict future revenue is an increasingly important tool for business survival. While some sales forecasting methods are not dependent on data, most of the major models require doing some math, and math requires a data input.

Customer data can be especially useful in projecting the future revenue of your organization. According to McKinsey & Company, organizations that apply behavioral insights from consumer data outperform their peers by 85% in sales growth. It’s not unlikely that part of the reason is that these organizations are able to make sales projections from the data they have on their customers. They use the data to determine which customers will spend more in the coming period, which ones need to be nudged, and which ones have the lowest potential lifetime value.

Through CDI, you can segment your customers based on their buying behavior to determine where your business resources should go.

How to Conduct Customer Data Integration

Customer data integration is a process, not an action. This means there are steps to take if you are to do it the right way. Thankfully, once you understand it, it is an incredibly simple process involving just four steps. Let’s see what these steps are.

1. Formulate a CDI Strategy

Successful CDI programs start with a strategy that encompasses the goals of the program as well as how success will be determined.

First, define the goals of your customer data integration program and measures of success. Presumably, you want to realize the benefits discussed above. But you have to make them your own.

For instance, what does a new opportunity mean for your business? How are you going to use the unified view of your customer base to improve your business? And what do you want to find in the data that will help you make sales projections? Sample goals may be:

  • Find the most profitable marketing techniques
  • Identify and nurture potential brand advocates
  • Increase sales by appealing to the most valuable customers by purchase volume

The second aspect to consider in your strategy is the type of data integration you will use. Data consolidation is the ideal option. It extracts data from the source leaving none behind that may compromise the security and privacy of your customers. It integrates the data collected from various sources and it is up to the task of handling large amounts of data generated by established, and very active, brands.

And finally, establish protocols. We understand that one of the greatest benefits to come out of this process is the democratization of data in the organization. However, don’t overlook the fact that even democracies have leaders.

Customer data is sensitive to handle. One wrong move and your organization could be faced with data breach scandals and lawsuits. To minimize the risks, classify the data and allocate access to different personnel who will then give access to more employees until finally there is a structure where everyone has access to exactly what they need to do their job. Remember to put someone in charge of the CDI program itself.

2. Evaluate your Data Management Technology

The second step is double-checking your data management technology to make sure it is up to par. For this process, data management is three-fold.

Your technology should be able to collect and integrate data from the different structured and unstructured sources. Consider that the data is in diverse formats and will need to be standardized. Having a platform that has built-in connectors to sync with third-party tools will help streamline the whole process.

Another factor to consider is the volume of data. Your technology should be designed to accumulate and manage large volumes of data. It should not only offer adequate storage capacity but also be high performance to ensure the data is readily available to those who need it at all times.

And you have to have a data protection plan in place. Data breaches are costly in many ways. Make sure your data management technology is built to keep the security and privacy of your customers.

3 Determine your Data Sources

Next, identify the sources of consumer data and evaluate your data extraction technology to make sure it is compatible with those sources.


Again, your tool needs to have built-in connectors that will allow you to extract the data you need without unnecessary hassle such as writing code. Also, have as many data sources as possible – you want to have all the necessary information about your target consumer.

4. Implement your CDI strategy

Finally, implement your CDI strategy as laid out in Step 1.

At NetBase Quid, we understand that businesses have many specialized tools and propriety intel to meet various functions. And we had this in mind when we developed the Intelligence Connector. This is a powerful capability that allows you to bring together all your customer data from the platform itself and also from other tools. Reach out for a demo and get your CDI strategy implemented today!


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