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In 2020 it is generally safe to assume that if you own or operate a B2C business, you are collecting some form of customer data. This could simply be a name attached to a customer account, an email address, phone number, payment information, or even just basic transaction data. But no matter how much data you collect, it is only beneficial if you are able to use it.

I’m just going to come out and say it: managing data on your own is one step up the evolutionary ladder from getting root canal surgery without anesthetic. But, like going the dentist, ensuring ongoing good data management practices is important—even if you dread the experience.

The outcome of having clean data is something that benefits all retailers. The challenge is knowing how to get it to the state where it’s useful and will continue to grow in a manner that can deliver results for many years.

The first step is actually the hardest: to decide what you want from your data. Next, consider what systems and measures are already in place or must be put in place to foster that data capture. For instance, if you want to create a seamless experience for customers who are used to shopping in-store, but have recently switched to shopping online on your eCommerce site due to the major global health crisis, you must consolidate their in-store and online profile.

Then there is the matter of data cleansing including deduplication and more. Honestly, this is more time-consuming and monotonous than it is complicated. An example of this would be the existence of two John Smith entries in a database. One is listed as the desired John Smith, while the other may be J. Smith. However, in both cases the email is the same indicating that it’s the same person. In either record there may also be issues with inconsistent mailing addresses, phone numbers, and more—this all needs rectifying as well.

Next, retailers need a place to store the cleansed data. The best option is a Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP gathers data from all available sources with the purpose of properly collating and attributing that data to a specific individual in order to build a profile of that individual. With the omNovos CDP, there are no known limits to the types of data that can be collected. Whether structured or unstructured, personally identifiable information (PII) or anonymized data (non-PII), the omNovos CDP supports it.

Now that you have clean and attributed data, how do you use it?

Well, you now have a solid foundation for your personalization strategy. Marketers can leverage the CDP to better understand their customers and make more intelligent decisions. Customer data can be viewed and actioned by segment, micro-segment, or even on an individualized basis.

A customer engagement platform like omNovos PACE enables you to start building campaigns, content, offers, promotions, and so on, that can be automatically assigned to the right person based on their real-time behaviors or triggers. No more mass alerts to complete segments. Rather direct, relevant, and targeted content sent directly to an individual during their actual journey. And, with such interaction with your content, or lack thereof, you also learn a little more about that customer, ensuring more and more accurate personalization each time.

In all, yes data can be cumbersome. But once set up properly with tangible business goals and outcomes in place, the data is far easier to manage and far easier to manipulate to achieve the desired outcomes. Every journey starts with one step, so does good data hygiene and management—you just need to take the first, well planned step to get you to your destination.