Know your data, know your customers

Treat your customers as individuals through technological transformation


How well do you truly know your customers? Maybe you can identify them on multiple channels, and you know how to cross-sell products in various situations. But do you know your customers better than your competitors do? And do you know them well enough to keep their data safe? 

Truly knowing your customers is about more than identity. It’s also about preferences, needs and the contextual knowledge of time and place. In the digital world, customers expect to be known as individuals with distinct preferences, not just as one member of a segment. Understanding digital habits and demographic data is just the beginning. 

If your company isn’t embracing technology transformation, you won’t be able to address the increased demands from clients or deal with the challenges and disruptions of the digital marketplace.

If you think digitalization starts and ends with amassing data, think again. The world is shifting from data being king to knowledge being king. Knowing your customer is powered 10 percent by your internal data and 90 percent by your ability to model the behavior of your customer. 

It should therefore come as no surprise that knowing your customer starts with analytics. An analytics factory can help you industrialize the process of customer knowledge, starting with a decision hub that can be used to open up consistent dialogue with customers across all your touch points. 

We’ve packed this issue of Intelligence Quarterly with examples of companies approaching it the right way – the customer-centric way. For instance:

  • Trade Me, New Zealand’s largest online marketplace, leads a paradigm shift in how we think about advertising. And data is required.  
  • Telenor, a telecommunications leader in Norway, changes its sales model by analyzing mobile data. 
  • FANCL, a large Japanese retailer, uses analytics to change the way it communicates with customers. 
  • Dustin Group, one of the leading Nordic resellers of IT business solutions, doubles conversion rates with analytics.

If you can’t add your name to this list of companies, it’s time to ask why. What are you doing to please your customers? And how are you gaining knowledge to do that? The knowledge that you derive from customer data allows you to treat customers differently, to anticipate market changes and to meet global expectations.

‘Know your customer’ regulations

As you build your customer programs, also consider the regulatory importance of customer data. Especially in the banking industry, “know your customer” (KYC) initiatives are becoming crucial to verifying and protecting the identity of each customer.  

The same data you use to improve digital marketing programs can also be used to prevent identity theft, financial fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing. When considered from this perspective, knowing your customer moves beyond marketing to become a broader corporate initiative. Customer knowledge moves beyond helping the customer find the best product. It can also help all customers and employees feel safe that their data is secure and their investments are protected.

To accomplish KYC, consider whether your customer view is consistent across the house, allowing you to take preventative measures in the front office. Is your data secure, and how much of your IT budget goes into moving and storing transactional data for operational purposes?

Without analytics and data management, your data can be a liability as much as an asset. It is what you do with the data that can determine the risk-weighted performance of the information flowing into your organization. If your company isn’t embracing technology transformation, you won’t be able to address the increased demands from clients or deal with the challenges and disruptions of the digital marketplace. 

Following the advice in this issue — and future issues — of Intelligence Quarterly will help you gain knowledge of your customers to simultaneously meet customer needs, ensure that customers are who they say they are, and fully protect the use of customer data. It all starts with analytics.


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