February 7, 2018

Customer data zero to hero: A self-evaluation checklist

minute read

A great data culture has many components. Reliable data, seamless technology, intelligent dashboards and above all else, talented humans.

You can have the best data and tools in the world, but if people don’t know how to do things with them, it’s not a data-culture, it’s information technology.

In this report, we’ll take you through the five most common stages of data culture that we’ve observed in the industry today, and how we’re seeing companies fast-track their progress to the next level.

Data Zero

We class “data zeros” as companies who may still be in the dark about the potential of data, and the value of tools to make it shine.

Good business decisions tend to be either data-driven or lucky. The “data zero’s” success, is to some degree, down to luck.

While they may have a large volume of data at their disposal, they aren’t using it to inform strategy and craft genuine engagement with their customers.

77% of brands either have no strategy, or are only now starting to talk about it
- Econsultancy & IBM

Where to from here?

At data zero, the driver for change may be the marketing team, who can see first hand that their strategy isn’t working and want to know why. Change may also be instigated by the c-suite who are interested in taking the business into the digital age, but still unsure about the right approach.

In order to transition to a data-first operating culture, companies at data zero must look beyond assumptions or shallow segments to consider the relevancy of their messaging.

One way to start is to test targeted marketing communications with smaller audiences. Ensuring that each campaign is measured against carefully considered metrics. We often forget that baby steps still move us forward.


Companies who are aware of data and understand its potential, but don’t have the ability to action it – yet.

Data-Aware companies are realizing the value of data and have internal agents for change who are championing it. They are investing in data-driven insights about their audience and campaign performance, but still face obstacles at a senior level and can often end up relying on gut to make decisions – even if the data tells a different story.

Most companies are capturing only a fraction of the potential value of data and analytics
- McKinsey

They’re often in an incredible position, with a blank canvas and a comprehensive budget empowering them to put a stopper on their brand’s descent into digital obscurity.

Case study: Taking the side of guts over measurable results

A few years ago in Melbourne, a bank ran an ad campaign that was hugely successful internally but received lackluster results from its customer base.

In parallel, they also ran an activation with Yarra Trams offering free WiFi on bank-branded Trams in the CBD.

The results revealed the latter campaign was profoundly more successful in generating brand awareness, but this wasn’t the story the Bank wanted to hear from the data, especially given this simple activation was around 100th of the cost of the TVC campaign.

The findings were rejected and the Bank took the extraordinary step of actually firing their entire Data Team.

This story shows a brand beginning to adopt a data culture by consulting their data asset to measure success, but still lacking the internal support to commit to the journey. To transition to the next stage of Data Culture, Data Savvy, companies at this level need to “Commit to Commit”, recognize that data won’t always tell them the story they want to hear, but must be consulted and trusted in every decision.

Where to from here?

Turning on Lexer rapidly takes companies like this from Data-Aware to Data Savvy. With the right partner and the right platform, data begins to influence decision making, deliver a single view of their customers and take one-to-one campaigns to market at scale. They’ll find that data allows them to make that leap from goals to outcomes, and in time data will become a key part of the organization’s vision of the future.

Data Able

Data Able companies have the tools in place, but they are struggling to craft insights from the wealth of new information at their disposal.

Data Able companies have hit the ground running with some great marketing automation tools to handle CRM, email marketing and social content, but they’re finding what they’re getting from these channels isn’t insightful enough to actually do something with.

A case in point is the experience of a large Australian Super Fund, which launched a new initiative to better engage with its members and grow its business.

Case study: Umm that’s interesting, now what?

Superannuation funds, like insurance companies, have a really big problem – the moments to engage with their customers are rare. Often they sign up via their employer, they stay for a while, they churn and then they retire.

But Superannuation Funds want to get you the best return – and working with their customers is key.

So this particular Superannuation Fund ran an A/B test on clients who hadn’t engaged for a while. Their question was: if we proactively engage with these customers who have super with us, but haven’t spoken to us for a while, what will happen? They selected a sample of their customers then called half and left the others.

Of the ones they called, most had forgotten they had super there and decided to move their business to another provider! However, the ones that stayed greatly increased their fund investment.

The end result? Fewer but higher-value clients.

In this example, they clearly showed ability – they took a scientific approach to a data question. They tested the hypothesis at scale and observed a clear result. However, senior management was unable to decide if it was a successful exercise and ended up abandoning the project.

Where to from here?

For Data Able companies, the good news is they have momentum on their side. As data begins to inflect the day to day life of the business, it becomes more business-critical and quickens the pulse of key decision-makers. To accelerate this process, identify who at this level will champion change and who will resist it. Use this information to detect roadblocks early and tailor meaningful business cases to key stakeholders.

>> Find out how to become a Data Rockstar and the champion of change.

Data Savvy

Data Savvy companies have successfully centralized their data and are aiming to unify it with other sources.

Data Savvy companies have lots of tools and lots of knowledge. The most important thing? It’s all speaking to each other in a single data ecosystem.

Now, their attention turns to generating revenue from their data and leveraging its strength.

As part of this, key decision-makers are gathering to discuss how to take their data further through partnerships with other entities. They are also in the process of installing a dedicated team of data analysts who will work in tandem with Marketing to present accessible insights to inform campaign ideas.

It’s all falling into place, but one question stands in their way from achieving true data glory:

Who are your customers outside of their interactions with your brand?

Where to from here?

To truly achieve a true and comprehensive view of the people they seek to sell to, service and save, Data Savvy companies need to recognize that Customer data is simply an aggregation of information about company interactions, not a useful summary of the person at the other end of the conversation.

Becoming a Data Hero will mean investing in SaaS tools that present this existing information and enrich it with other sources to truly achieve a single customer view.

The Lexer Customer Data Platform answers this call, unifying company data against millions of other 1st, 2nd and 3rd party sources so companies can engage with a truly 360 view of each customer and prospect.

Data Hero

At the top of the Data Culture food chain is the Data Hero, a company that believes (at all levels) that data knows best, and is an asset equal or greater than each individual. So, before any decision is made, data is always consulted.

Companies who have been successful in making data part of the heartbeat of their organisation.

Companies at Data Hero started to monetize data long ago, and are now looking to go further: selling insights and opportunities from their data to others.

They can confidently say they have a complete view of their customer, having unified their data with 2nd and 3rd party sources to learn more about who people are outside of their brand. This is a beautiful thing, as it allows them to deliver personalized messaging to many in danger of being deafened by irrelevant content.

But the Data Hero is often challenged by the expense of maintaining and managing large volumes of data and is now looking for a simple solution to handle complex data and make it available for all.

Lexer helps Data Heroes share their data with the entire company, translating it into a language, format and presentation everyone can understand and put to work. Putting an end to siloed data forever, we help companies make their data more accessible, without introducing privacy and security risks.

Photo by Zhen Hu on Unsplash

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