Connected Data: What It Is and Why It Matters


Share on LinkedIn

Connected data is a term thrown around often in today’s marketing conversations, but what does it actually entail? A fundamentally simple concept, my team and I define connected data as all the data across the enterprise that is connected into, and visible through, a central location with context and interrelationships determined. It’s also the first step toward building a “golden record” of an entity such as a customer, product, or service. Connected customer data is particularly problematic not only given the number of business functions that interact with customers, but also because the customers themselves often generate data through devices, digital channels, or other means. Competing in a digitally connected world calls for a central point of data control now referred to as a customer data platform (CDP).

The connected data concept recognizes that the historical division of data between business functions – such as sales, service, marketing, and operations – no longer benefits the organization at large. This wasn’t always the case: businesses for centuries had found it easier to divide their activities among specialists, allowing salespeople to sell and crafters to craft, and keep any resulting data separate. Those functions further specialized into channels such as call centers, stores, internet, email, etc. That is no longer a viable strategy in the modern world, largely because consumers interact with brands across dozens of possible touchpoints and can show up in any engagement system at any time.

As today’s customers have an almost unlimited array of ways to engage with a brand, the functional or channel-focused approach taken by marketers based on siloed data creates a gap between customer experience and expectations. In a recent Customer Experience Impact Survey, 86 percent of customers said they would willingly pay more money for a better experience yet only one percent of customers felt brands met their expectations. Brands have failed to close this customer engagement gap over the years, in large part because of their investments in siloed channels and technologies. Connected data counteracts this isolated approach to technology investment, arming brands with the right information, at the right time, to close the customer engagement gap and forge powerful customer experiences.

Why Connected Data Matters
As the foundation for gaining deep levels of customer understanding, connected data is required before conducting highly personalized and contextually relevant engagement in today’s digital world. Without connecting data across all systems, this level of understanding falls short of customer expectations. Ingesting all of the data, CDPs have been key to connecting all of it and making it accessible throughout the enterprise.

This single point of data control creates the right conditions to construct, continually update, and provide a customer “golden record” that is so crucial to enterprise engagement, cross-channel marketing, and omnichannel experiences. The golden record allows the enterprise to understand customer behaviors, preferences, and trends across all touchpoints throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

For an enterprise to truly have connected data, they must integrate all data sources, types, and cadences across the enterprise. So whether the data comes from the CRM, email service provider, web analytics, social media, or Internet of Things (IoT), all interaction data is stitched together and visible through a unified view. This advanced single customer view is then able to drive advanced analytics and real-time engagement flows, personalizing interactions with consumers in contextually relevant ways to close the engagement gap.

Connected Data is the Future
The volume of data every enterprise must contend with has exploded. Worldwide, the amount of data generated every day is double the amount of data generated from the beginning of recorded history up to the year 2003. The sheer scale of data created across the enterprise is enormous, and right now it’s all locked down tight in functional silos … inaccessible to everyone who doesn’t work in that particular silo. You’ve collected all that data – make the most out of it.

With the rise of digital engagement, including IoT and all the device data it entails, it’s becoming less and less viable to operate with siloed data. Customers increasingly leave brands that are unwilling or unable to provide relevant experiences or act in a customer-centric manner. Connected data allows marketers and other stakeholders to know their customers more closely and more completely than ever before. There is tremendous value in creating a connected data environment, and the brands that recognize that will be the ones who remain competitive in the age of the empowered customer.

Buck Webb
Buck is an experienced technology leader with more than 30 years of professional services experience in business intelligence, data warehousing, marketing and business analytics. As Vice President, Cloud Services for RedPoint, Buck oversees RedPoint's product strategy for on-premise and cloud-based architectures. Previously Buck spent 9 years at Merkle Inc, a performance marketing agency, where most recently he built a Global Delivery Center capability in China and was the solution owner of the cloud-based data management solution. Buck has also worked as a National BI Advisor for Cognos.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here