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Published September 13th 2018

Customer Data Integration Explained and Why It’s Important

We explain why customer data integration is vital for all brands, and share three examples of customer insights that can be found by integrating data sources

Here at Brandwatch, we’re always trying to push the envelope of applications for social listening information.

One way we do this is by bringing intelligence into companies’ strategic decisions. And a key way this happens is through customer data integration.

What does customer data integration mean?

Customer data integration (CDI) is a vital part of getting a 360-degree picture of the customer. Customer data integration is the process of collecting, organizing and synthesizing business and customer data, in order to identify bigger trends and paint a more complete picture of a business’ customers.

Data about your customers and prospective customers can come from every part of the business. Sales data, viewership data, social listening data, website data, customer service data, and many other data sources each tell a specific part of a customer’s experience.

Only by integrating data from more than one data source, can you begin to get a single view of your customer, which better informs decision making,

Customer data integration for digital marketers

Marketers are in a uniquely optimal position to use and act on customer data integration. By nature, our teams usually have access to several data sources at once, and there are many tools available we can use to easily combine and compare data sets.

One important customer data integration that can help marketers combines social listening data and search behavior. Knowing how people behave across these two online platforms can help companies outline their buyer journey and deliver the right messaging at the right time.

3 ways to utilize customer data integration insights

In our recent report with Pi Datametrics, a leading content performance and SEO platform, we took an integrated data approach to understanding the fashion industry by comparing search and social listening data.

1. How seasonality affects brands

By comparing search traffic data and social listening data, we identified several fashion trends that produced peaks in searches and social media conversation. Velvet was one of them, with behavior increasing in the early autumn months (in the Northern Hemisphere), and decreasing in the winter.

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We also saw that one brand managed to dominate the spike in conversation in 2016, planting their brand name within customer conversations with owned social media posts.

And as a result, the brand’s name was the second largest organization mentioned related to velvet, and two of it’s branded hashtags were among the most used hashtags, topped in volume only by #fashion and #velvet.

2. The role of pop culture and current events on consumer interest

In this digital age, pop culture, politics, and current events strongly influence customer behavior, and this is true for every industry.

For instance, Nike’s decision to include Colin Kaepernick in the brand’s ads was a strategic decision to take a stance in a cultural movement.

Social data saw conversation about this skewed negative with several boycott-related hashtags among the top hashtags about the brand, but Nike’s sales actually increased over 30% in the days after their ad aired.

Its likely that Nike’s strategic involvement into this cultural event will have both short-term effects (one-time purchases from people in solidarity with the movement) and long-term effects (folks refusing to purchase from them again) on the brand.

The way that Nike will be affected by the current events going forward can only be truly understood through customer data integration.

3. The ROI of events

Each year, companies (including us!) spend thousands or millions on events, totaling an estimated 565 billion USD.

But without combining several datasets to get a full picture of your events, how can you determine if your investment was worth it?

Customer data integration is vital for understanding the impact of marketing investments. We investigated the role New York Fashion Week on search and social media behavior, as one example of how, and whether, events affect what customers do.

Additionally, for huge sponsorship events like the World Cup where brands invest so much in getting their logos seen, you can’t rely on only one metric. The only way to measure sponsorship ROI is through CDI.

From how many people viewed the games, to how many times images with your logos were shared across the web, to search traffic, and ultimately to sales numbers, measuring the ROI of events requires brands to see the whole picture.

Customer data integration in action

The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. Our research is one example of the valuable insights you can gather by stepping back and looking at the whole picture of your customers.

To explore these and additional insights in depth, check out our report below, or begin integrating your own customer data within Vizia, currently offering dozens of data integrations that fit your needs.

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