Virtuous CycleThe subject of fragmented channels, which is fragmenting audiences, has been written about frequently. Advertisers though, secretly still long for the “glorious” days of focusing on just a few major channels and is one of the reasons why the rare shows that can predictably garner mass audiences (Super Bowl in the US, World Cup Soccer, personality driven radio shows etc.) attract a very high premium.

However, rather than chasing the very few predictable high-audience opportunities, the marketing dollar is much better invested in building up the complete view of your audience by integrating multiple touch points through which they are engaging with your brand. The audience has not disappeared – it is simply spending a smaller slice of time engaged through a particular medium. But brand loyalty is still as real as it ever was in the days of the “MAD MEN“.

And what’s more, the benefit of this integrated view is not simply to drive better marketing and sales leads (which it will), but to also inform corporate strategy – for your stakeholders are talking to you all the time, leaving behind breadcrumbs of valuable information if you are willing to take the effort to piece them together and read them. However, this remains challenging, though progress has been made.



Much has been written about developing a 360 degree view of the customer, the contextual view of the customer and more – but the barriers to doing this effectively are myriad. 

The data about your customers is in disparate marketing and customer touchpoint applications, and the data stores use different methods to store them. There is no unique customer profile that can be used to fetch them. Some industry collaboration between vendors would help here.

Correlating behavior based on when and what data has been stored in these different applications is an art at best, and is one of the reasons why a large number of behavioral patterns have to be discerned to ensure a true pattern has been spotted. Big Data processing and analysis becomes a must in this light.

Some applications, especially reservation applications, do not provide an easy way to export that data – this is a “so 90s” behavior – and vendors would help their customers by always having an easy way to export the data they store in their applications, especially providing a way to export them to a Big Data platform like Hadoop.

Unstructured data processing, including text, is beginning to become table-stakes in the world of integrated view of a Customer – so that data collected through not just social, but other sources such as company meetings, communications and so forth must be gathered and analyzed as one whole unit. Customers are talking – are we listening?

An integrated view of the customer  and other stakeholders is hard to develop and maintain, but not only is it worth it – there really is no option. Importantly it frees the marketer from the constant churn in content providers and content consuming devices and allows focus to shift towards maintaining that comprehensive view of the stakeholders and really listening to what they are so insistently trying to tell us. Yes, the latest hit show will attract top dollars and advertisers will be clamoring to get placement spots – but if your systems are designed to gather information across myriad touch points, you just might let go of that “next big thing” and know that your customers are still talking to you…. and you are listening.


Sri Srikanth

Advanced Data Analytics & Strategy, Senior Data Scientist, Cisco Digial