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Understanding the role of data in the digital customer experience

Audience intelligence has been used to target a highly specific audience and identify the topics and people that influence them. But how does this all fit into the digital customer experience? Join us as we explore the role of data in customer experience with Ginevra Adamoli.

As a Digital CX Strategy Director of Digital Consulting Team at Epsilon, Ginevra has had years of experience in collecting all sorts of data and matching it to an individual customer experience. Recently acquired by Publicis, the third largest PR company in the world, Epsilon is famous for email and data management.

In an interview with Nathaniel Schooler for the podcast series The Secrets of Audience Intelligence, co-organised by Audiense, Ginevra talked about how audience intelligence fits into digital customer experience. She addressed the challenges that make it harder to collect more granular data – from regulations and silos to the limitations of public data sources.
Let’s take a look at the key points that Ginevra identifies.

Starting with a definition…

Ginevra started out by defining audience intelligence and digital customer experience, so we could get a better idea of how the two work together. “I think it’s important to define them because everyone has a different (idea) of the definition and the application.”

“For us…for me, specifically, audience intelligence has to do with - How do you collect data and customer behaviour and attributes that can help them and help clients to create connection and bonds with the customer across digital channels?” she stated.

“So there’s a component about customer experience, which is this idea of interacting…customer brands interacting to make sure that they are providing this constant and continuous experience that will help customers to make a purchase, for example,” she continued.

Ginevra stressed on how important it is to take an audience-centric approach to deliver great digital customer experiences. You need to understand the audience and their needs as well as how those needs are changing so you can meet them. And that’s where audience intelligence comes in.

Social media to supplement first-party data

Since Ginevra specialises in social media, the role of social media in collecting data was also a key topic in the conversation. She talked about how regulations limit the way you can collect data using social media. So you can’t really collect data about everyone even with the right tools at your disposal. It’s just not that simple.

This brings on the challenge of matching consumer information with social data to a specific individual. And that’s exactly why you need to use the data collected from social media in tandem with the first-party data that you already have. First-party data refers to the customer interactions that a brand is able to track that get fed into its own data management tool.

“This (first-party data) is very valuable because you know exactly who that individual is and the type of action that’s being taken,” she clarified. This transactional data is essential for brands because they tell you about the interactions and shopping behavior of real customers like what they bought, how much they spent, and so on. But they don’t tell you “why” they bought a specific product or “how they felt” about buying it. That information is soft data and is powered by social media.

This all goes back to audience intelligence. It’s all about using social media data to supplement your first-party data and using them to inform every aspect of your marketing and customer experience strategy.

“I would never say do only social media. I would say, validate or add, complement the data that you already have about your customer (using social media data).”

Overcoming the limitations of data management tools

The information that you get from social media is not individual level, but more of an aggregation of data. So, different data management and segmentation tools can have limitations, especially due to the restrictions in their data sources. To overcome these limitations, Ginevra recommends integrating multiple data sources – search, email, etc. – to paint a clear picture of what your audience looks like.

She also stressed on the importance of having someone who can quantify the data based on their understanding of the customer journey. “Everything I do, I try to quantify,” she stated. According to Ginevra, it’s not all qualitative. Unless you connect the dots in your data, you can’t make sense of everything you’ve collected. Then it’s useless.

“That’s the problem…with silos,” Ginevra pointed out. It can be problematic when you don’t integrate social media with other aspects of the business and restrict it into a silo. “I believe social media data should inform all marketing strategies. It should not just inform social media,” she continued.

This all goes back to the customer experience. To deliver great and consistent customer experiences across all digital channels, you need to use social insights in combination with other data sources. This gives you a 360-degree view of the customer and their journey so you can deliver exactly what they need, which then enhances their experience.

The agility of audience intelligence

Ginevra explained how audience intelligence makes feedback agile, so you can make changes and improvements to your campaign in real-time. “That’s another thing I love about audience intelligence,” she stated, “It’s agile. It happens in real-time. I don’t have to wait for a survey to go out… I’m actually tracking the behavior as it happens. And then I can change my strategy and tactic right away, and that will save money.”

With real-time audience intelligence tracking, you save time in collecting necessary feedback. So you no longer have to waste additional resources on things that don’t work or generate a negative sentiment. This helps you cut costs and improve productivity as well.

These are excerpts from the interesting interview that Nat Schooler did with Ginevra Adamoli. You can listen to it in its full version here: