Why a Unified Database is the First Step to Real Time MarketingImagine a customer interacting with your mobile app on a smartphone. She completes tasks and unlocks a rewards discount. The next day, sitting at her home desktop, she visits your website, and, voila! -- her rewards points display along with the discount offering. 

Perhaps mobile apps aren’t core to your business. What if a prospect retweeted your blog post and you sent a triggered email a few minutes later thanking him, which invited him to follow you on LinkedIn? Or if someone walked into your store, and within moments received a text message with an offer customized to her past interactions with your company?

The idea here is that you’re delivering cross-channel, behavior driven communications -- all in real time -- that are uniquely relevant to each contact in your database. But delivering this level of tailored customization instantly is easier said than done.

The explosion of communication channels and devices during the last five years has opened up exciting ways for marketers to interact with people in real time, while also introducing new challenges. Customers and prospects now tell businesses all sorts of things about themselves and their interests through actions taken across these different channels.

As a result, these same empowered buyers are demanding a new level of attention. But many marketers struggle to scale the personalized messaging that their customers and prospects crave on an instantaneous level.

The best way to achieve this is twofold. First, by embracing behavioral marketing -- whose practitioners were 29 percent more likely to grow revenue faster than other marketers -- while also combining the approach with marketing automation solutions for execution. 

But before integrating a marketing automation solution into your customer and prospect outreach strategy, the first and most critical step is having a unified master database to draw upon.

Let's look at why a unified database is important, as well as an outline of how marketers can evolve from traditionally siloed systems.

The Importance of a Unified Master Database

When you consider that your marketing programs are only as good as the data you use to power them, it’s easy to see why the database is the most valuable asset for today’s marketers. But with the ever-increasing number of communication platforms, processing all this data is a challenge: Less than half of today’s businesses capture and consolidate customer behavioral data from multiple channels in a single database.

Because the channels contain disconnected silos of interactions, it’s been difficult for marketers to create a quality customer experience. Consider a few of the undesirable scenarios that can result from fragmented or missing data:

  • A customer purchases a steel refrigerator, then gets an email a few weeks later with the subject line, “Tired of steel refrigerators?”
  • A new boater comes in to test ride the latest personal watercraft and provides her cell phone number. Two months later, she gets a text message alerting her to a special offer on your new 30-foot cruisers.
  • A prospect retweets your new blog post, then gets an automated email from you offering a demo. Problem is, he’s already in the nine-month nurture because he told you his existing contract won’t expire until next year.