Data, data, data. Too much data? That is the problem for many loyalty marketers.

How to reconcile volumes and volumes of customer data, and then leverage it effectively to significantly impact the customer experience becomes an ongoing quest for loyalty marketers.

Loyalty360 caught up with Jed Alpert, senior vice president of marketing, 1010data, to find out more about data collection and driving customer loyalty.

Data has been discussed for many years, especially as it relates to retailers and customer engagement/customer experience/customer loyalty. What is being done well regarding data insights and leveraging those to elevate customer/brand loyalty, and where do the challenges lie?

Alpert: Retailers have had customer engagement and loyalty programs in place for decades. What has changed recently is the volume of data they collect and the variety of data sources they can use to understand customer behavior. From sensor data to POS data to loyalty cards to third-party data, there is more data than ever for creating a 360-degree view of customers. The biggest challenge that retailers face is how to unite all of this data. Retailers that can leverage this data effectively are best positioned to drive loyalty.

Can you talk a little bit about 1010data and what makes it unique?

Alpert: Gaining actionable insight requires the best analytical tools and access to all relevant data, and 1010data is a complete solution that provides both. The Insights Platform of 1010data includes data integration, data management, advanced analytics & modeling, reporting & visualization, application development, and data sharing – all on a single, purpose-built platform. Our Data Insights comprise high quality, analysis-ready data offerings that enabling users to get valuable insights with ease.

Because 1010data is a single platform, it doesn’t require customers to continuously move data from one tool to another. This means that 1010data customers get immediate time-to-value due to our unusually short implementation time and lightning-quick query response times, no matter the size or complexity of their data.

Big Data has been a big term, especially among loyalty marketers for years. What is your view of Big Data and how marketers use/leverage it?

Alpert: Retailers have always had Big Data. From our perspective, it matters less how big the data is. We have customers that manage trillions of rows of data. Rather, what’s important is whether you ask and answer any question of the data. Marketers are extremely creative and continually find new angles to better understand customers. Where things break down is when platforms can’t handle this volume of data or have been designed to only answer a specific set of questions. In retail organizations, when new questions arise, it can be weeks or months before systems can be set up to answer those questions. It’s important that loyalty marketers choose systems that are flexible enough to handle both the volume of data and an unlimited variety of questions that may be asked.

Personalization is another common term that many brands aspire to deliver. This seems very challenging for brands to achieve in a seamless, ongoing way. What is the challenge of personalization for marketers?

Alpert: One key personalization challenge for brand marketers is being able to get enough data to properly segment customers based on actual shopping behavior. Because brands are often one step removed from the actual purchase, they are completely reliant on their partners to give them needed data. (Brands’ own direct websites/stores can provide some data, but are often not fully representative of their complete customer base). And even when they get data from partners, they need to be agile enough to be able to stitch this data together to be able to leverage it. Only when the data is integrated, can brands even begin to try to understand it and begin personalization efforts?

How is data being used well by brands?

Alpert: Today’s most sophisticated brands are getting data from their retail partners and combining it together. The best brands are also blending in data from their retail partners with other third-party data and their own internal data to provide a complete view of their customers. They use this data to understand consumer behavior across companies and channels including analyzing price and promotional sensitivity, understanding product affinities, determining the effectiveness of shelf configurations and more. Having a broad set of data means that they are also able to segment customers in meaningful ways that can help drive loyalty.

How does mobile fit into the data equation, since it has exploded in recent years?

Alpert: From our perspective, mobile is just another rich source of data for loyalty marketers to use. It can provide insight into consumer location, it can provide a platform for laser-focused ad targeting, and it can also be a deep and broad source of consumer shopping behavior (including a path to purchase), especially when consumers are shopping in-app.

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