All the businesses in the world thrive on one thing above all – customer relations. No matter if you’re a wholesaler or if you’re a service provider, the relationships that you create with your customers and buyers will define how your business performs in the end. The technological revolution has created an abundance of data which has, in turn, created an abundance of avenues to utilize it in productive ways. However, most business owners don’t realize the importance of properly utilizing this data and they end up passing on an important resource that companies spend millions of dollars on to analyze. If you don’t know how the accumulated data can be used to your advantage then chances are that you don’t know a thing about unifying customer data as well.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at what data unification is, why you should be doing it, and most importantly – how you should be doing it. With the help of modern technology, you can gather and dissect the data in multiple ways to boost your business’ growth. Not only will you be able to improve your processes but you’ll also be able to create a much more engaging and meaningful relationship with your customers. So without further delay, let’s get to it and find out how to unify all your unused customer data so that your business grows faster than it’s growing right now.


1. Consolidate the Data

The one disadvantage that the introduction of technology and its deeper penetration puts you at is that the competition is higher than ever. Almost everyone can access the internet and start their own digital business if they have the right resources, knowledge, and mindset. This is why you should break down any barriers between different departments that you might’ve created within your own company. The reasoning is that when you blur the boundaries and get rid of silos, you’re able to get a more holistic and unified view of the customer data. Since your primary goal here is to unify the customer data, this step is perhaps one of the most important ones you can take. This is easier said than done and accomplishing the task of unifying all the data into one useful set of data can be very challenging.

To counter this issue, you can just start small and then gradually grow the scale of unification. You have to stay sharp and think of all the ways that your customers interact with your business, it can be through loyalty programs, marketing campaigns, email newsletters, or even just the billing systems. Once you accumulate all of this data into one palace, you can start finding useful and hidden insights about your customers.


2. Use a CDP

A Customer Data Platform or CDP is one of the most useful tools you can use for unifying the customer data that would otherwise be scattered everywhere. It helps in analyzing the customer data that you have obtained through various channels.

Most CDPs come with a user-friendly UI that also allows personalization at various levels. You don’t necessarily need to have expertise in IT and software if you want to utilize a CDP, and this makes it easier for you to grow your business without investing all of your time learning about new technology. There are many other older platforms like CRM, DMP, and CMS available as well, but the Customer Data Platform CDP overshadows all of them because of its data unification abilities. This directly relates to the previous point we discussed above as the data unification prevents the creation of data silos that are undesired. CDPs can be a great aid for your business as they’ll help you create a 360-degree profile of your customers. Choosing to use them totally depends on you and your preferences, however, not using them will put you at a significant disadvantage as compared to others who do.


3. Analyze Everything

Structuring the data around your customers isn’t the last step, in fact, it’s only the beginning. The next logical step is to analyze it so as to gain insights that can help increase your customer engagement. However, the good news is that once you properly structure everything and create a solid foundation, you can easily gauge the impact of your marketing strategies on your business. This helps you understand whether your current strategy is working out properly or not and if there is the need to bring in any changes to achieve the desired results. Analyzing the already structured data shouldn’t be much of an issue either as it’s already arranged in a format that’s easy to dissect. However, you should focus on all the tiniest bits of data as you can uncover meaningful insights in any of those.


4. Use the Insights

Now that you have structured your customer data in a more comprehensive manner and analyzed the data to gain some useful insights, it’s time to put them to good use. None of your efforts will be worthwhile if you don’t use the insights to implement new strategies. The different insights that you gain have to be connected so that the customer experience is much more targeted and streamlined. This will help you understand how the customers are interacting with your business from the very beginning until the end.

If you have an online store then the purchase that they make shouldn’t be the endpoint of your interactions. In fact, it should only be the beginning and you should try and use the data you have to retain the customers. This is highly advised because retaining existing customers will always be an easier task than finding new ones. Many businesses completely shift their attention to acquiring new customers but they often forget that the older customers are more likely to utilize their services again due to some sort of positive experience. Try and implement newer technologies like machine learning with those you’re already using to further augment your business. These will give you a definite edge over the other businesses competing in the same segment as you.


5. Stay One Step Ahead

In the world of business, it’s important that you stay one step ahead of the curve. Failure to do so can make you fall behind in a race with your competitors and even yourself. Many businesses don’t utilize the potential that lies untapped in the data that they already possess. If you make the same mistake then you can rest assured that your business will be just as profitable and innovative as the thousands of other businesses out there.

Understand that data is a commodity that can bring in huge profits for you, provided you manage to unify it and make good use of it. If you successfully unify the data and uncover insights then you’ll also be able to create an engaging customer experience that will help you solidify your company’s hold in the long run. The importance of a good customer experience becomes clearer when you look at the various businesses that fail to do this and end up losing their existing customers instead of growing further.


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6. Combine AI and Manpower

There’s a reason why numerous tech giants still utilize the services of actual people with expertise in their domains rather than just relying on AI and machine learning. This is so because domain experts can help streamline machine learning systems further. When an analyst interacts with these tools and feeds in relevant data, the chances of wrong data being fed are much lower. On the other hand, if you completely rely on AI and machine learning tools only, you wouldn’t be able to regulate the data that’s being fed. Similarly, completely relying on analysts for the unification of data will also be a tedious endeavor as people aren’t nearly as fast and accurate as computers are. This is why you must strike a balance between relying on your own efforts and relying on AI to be able to get the best results possible.

These are some of the most effective tips that you should be implementing to ensure that your customer data is unified and useful. Not only will it help increase your engagement with the customers, but it’ll also help you to streamline your own processes so your business runs more efficiently. However, failure to do so will most likely set you back because all of the businesses throughout the world are trying to leverage technology and many of them are reeling from the importance of data unification. Data is something that’s almost as valuable as gold in today’s market and if you don’t utilize this resource properly then you’re just wasting an opportunity that you already have. Therefore, if you’re actually serious about engaging more with your customers and creating long-lasting relationships that make them come back for more, data unification is your cheapest and best bet. Ignore it at your own peril because everyone who wants to be successful in online business is adopting it and it’s already yielding them pretty powerful results.