Many retailers overlook valuable data on customers’ cross-channel shopping behavior that could support multi-channel marketing efforts, says Jane Griffin, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and co-author of a recent report on information management.
The report indicates that retailers and other companies lack both the business processes and the technology systems to gather and distribute meaningful customer data that help them better understand and market to their customers. “The more information about consumer buying patterns, the better companies can make special offers,” Griffin says. “Retailers should be looking at consumers across multiple channels, and optimizing and integrating that information across channels. But now if a customer goes into a store, the retailer doesn’t necessarily have information on orders the customer may have placed online and can’t make a personalized offer based on her online activity.”
The report, “Look Closer, Look Further: How to Build a Better Business Case for Improving Information Capabilities,” notes that many companies are aware that customer information is a strategic asset but still tolerate ineffective technology systems and processes.
One reason for the gap, Griffin says, is that many senior management staffs have lost sight of what’s most valuable in information management. Chief information officers, for instance, have become overly focused on deploying and managing technology without taking a broader look at how well managers are using technology to producing practical information to help their companies better serve customers. “CIOs are paying more attention to networks and hardware platforms than the information they produce,” Griffin says. “We’re finding that CIOs need to put responsibility for information back into their titles.”
Deloitte also found that many companies don’t provide easy access to information in a standard format that can be easily used by marketers. This relates to another problem, Griffin adds, in that companies often don’t understand the real cost or return on investment of their information technology and processes because they don’t know the value of the information they produce.
Moreover, no one department or individual is likely to take responsibility for investments in information technology and processes, Griffin says. “Information processing is not on anyone’s profit and loss statement,” she says.