Today’s customers connect with businesses in multiple ways: on the internet, via social channels, in-store (or stores), and through an ever-increasing number of connected devices. Effectively connecting customer touchpoints is simultaneously becoming more difficult and more critical. A connected customer graph offers marketers the ability to establish a comprehensive, up-to-date, and reliable view of their customers. This 360-degree view allows marketers to not only identify and target high-value prospects; it gives them the foundation for continued customer satisfaction as their relationship grows with customers after the first conversion.

Building a connected customer graph takes time, patience, and the right data, as well as knowledge of how to use that data. We’ve laid out the basics in our latest paper, How Strong is Your Customer Graph? In this paper, you’ll learn the basics of how to build a strong, connected customer graph, as well as the key benefits of developing a deeper level of understanding around your customer touchpoints.

A strong, connected customer graph has a few key traits:

It bridges the online and offline worlds

Let’s say you sell luxury sports cars. Are you able to tell whether a visit to your website connects back to a high-value target or just a casual browser? A connected customer graph gives you a rich picture about people’s offline behavior so you only target high-income households with a varied history of luxury purchases, not a college student with a penchant for racecars.

It is built on authoritative identity

A customer visits your website, downloads your app, and signs up for a loyalty program during a visit to your store. A few months later, he moves to a different city and signs up for your loyalty program again, using the same email address but his new street address. Does your marketing engine understand that all these activities belong to the same person? Or are you now spending money to market to several disparate identifiers? Authoritative identity resolves multiple online and offline identifiers connected to a person, place, or thing. You get continuously refreshed connection and context around how seemingly different identifiers might actually be connected.

It uses a robust data set combining 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd- party data

The types of data available to marketers today are vast and varied. In general, marketers have access to:

  • 1st-party data: the customer information that every company owns and is unique to them. This might be collected in a CRM and include sales data, loyalty program registration data, website analytics, or social platform analytics. Because it represents real customers, 1st-party data is valued for its precision.
  • 2nd-party data: another company’s 1st-party data, which a company can access through buying or partnership channels. A tire company might, for example, want the ability to market to a car dealership’s customers. 2nd-party data agreements usually occur between companies that have a complementary but not competitive customer base. Because it allows marketers to extend their reach while targeting a customer base similar to their own, 2nd-party data offers extended reach while maintaining some precision.
  • 3rd-party data: a broad range of pre-packaged, segmented audiences can be purchased from all types of data providers. Because it’s available in so many flavors, 3rd-party data can be incredibly useful for audience extension. But buyers beware: what 3rd-party data offers in reach, if often lacks in precision. In order to ensure data quality, marketers need to ask how data is collected, how often it’s refreshed, and whether it’s tied to offline, real-world indicators if they want to see strong results.

When all these types of data work together, marketers get the benefit of a clear, context-rich picture of their customer. A connected customer graph should help marketers understand who to target, how to reach them across devices, screens, and offline experiences. Armed with that information, marketers are better able to deliver connected customer experiences across the value chain.

To learn more, download How Strong is Your Customer Graph now.