Digital analytics are creating petabytes of new first- and third-party consumer insights on a daily basis. Improved data collection strategies mean that consumer activity can be tracked across multiple channels, both online and off — from initial impression through conversion and beyond. And the analysis of this data through predictive statistical models means that the margin for error in the forecasts that underlie marketing decisions is shrinking.

In short, marketing finally has enough data and supporting technology to make the prediction and delivery of effective consumer experiences more science than art, and managers — from the CMO down to the channel lead — are increasingly expected to apply the science of prediction to their decisions.

Successful managers will need to be quick to understand how to use culture, team and processes to leverage this accountability as a basis for success. Below are some tips for creating and managing a data-driven customer-centric organization.

(Editor's Note: Scot Wheeler will be speaking at CMSWire's DX Summit 2015 conference on Nov. 3 and 4 in Chicago.)


Putting the customer at the center of an organization really means putting data and analysis about customers at the center of the organization.

The customer-centric organization requires a sense of accountability around delivering experiences that meet both customer and business goals. This requires the application of the best data available — and predictive models incorporating the variables that are most influential on the customer experience (CX) outcomes that you are seeking to drive.

All of this means that CX decision-makers will only thrive in a culture that supports the careful collection, analysis and interpretation of data, and that listens to managers’ requests for the data they need to make their decisions. At the same time, customer experience managers who find themselves working in a data-driven culture must not rely on the expertise of others to define the data and analysis that guides their decisions, but must begin taking responsibility for defining the data collected and analyzed. 

Any manager lacking a strong, data-driven organizational culture must begin with the aim of educating the organization on the benefits of predicting over guessing, with the ultimate goal of building a data-driven culture in support of predictive customer experience delivery.


Placing data and analysis at the center of CX delivery is a team effort, and successful managers will cultivate contributions from their counterparts in Information Technology and Analytics along with their Creative and Design team colleagues. CX managers need cross-functional teams to achieve their goals.

Learning Opportunities

Whether his or her role is as the designated leader of a cross-functional team, or is limited to influencing another leader, the CX manager must enable the team’s success by regularly presenting it with a clear vision of the way in which data, analytics and experience components can come together to achieve optimal results.


With a data-driven culture in place (or being established) and with visionary leadership around CX- related activity and outcomes being provided to cross-functional teams, a manager seeking success via accountability will turn to the organization’s performance measurement process.

To have success in a culture of accountability, a manager must ensure that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are tied to actual business outcomes and not just marketing process outcomes. Many marketing and customer experience functions are run via the measurement of outcomes related to the processes of a specific function — so the experience team may be measured on clicks, video plays, downloads, form submits or other types of engagement, while the media team is responsible for impressions and clicks through to the experience.

Media delivery and engagement and experience interactions cannot be measured solely based on minimizing cost and maximizing functional metrics (e.g., cost-per-impression, cost-per-click or cost-per-lead). What the business ultimately cares about is what happens to that impression, click or lead. Does it become a customer? And does that customer then become increasingly loyal and valuable?

In digital experience management, digital attribution analysis along with customer segmentation can be used to accurately estimate the ways in which each digital channel ultimately impacts a business-driving conversion like initial purchase, repeat purchase or cross-sell/up-sell. In a culture of accountability, the goals for which managers are accountable should be not just outputs of their function, but rather their function’s contribution to the overall goals that justify customer experience management in terms of business returns.

If you'd like to learn more about data-driven CX culture, Scot Wheeler will be speaking at our DX Summit, which will be held Nov. 3 and 4 at the W Hotel — City Center in downtown Chicago. Find out more here.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Bogdan Suditu 

Learn how you can join our contributor community.