Even Santa Needs a Little Data-driven Help

Holiday spending is expected to increase to its highest this season since the great recession, according to various groups and organizations. The NRF (National Retail Federation) expects sales to increase 3.6% in November and December, to $655.8 billion – surpassing the 2.5% ten-year average.

With consumers using more and more varied shopping channels, and the expectation of hyper-personalization and engagement growing, retailers often struggle to deliver the right messages to the right consumers at the right time. Data can go a long way, but only when it’s first managed, organized and presented in a way that allows everyday business users, such as those in sales and marketing, to use it in their everyday efforts to reach customers.

Santa, like most retail organizations need to leverage rich customer data for smarter engagement, to ultimately deliver - whether by reindeer or drone - a better customer experience.

Data is Santa's most valuable marketing asset – he, and the elves need to get the right presents to the intended recipients through proper data management. For retailers, even though consumers pay for physical products from retail, the differentiation comes down to customer experience and service. Modern data management practices can help make the engagement with customers more personalized. But with the level of sensitive and proprietary data available, they also need to ensure the highest levels of security and audit for both compliance. Everywhere there's a Grinch looking to steal or misuse data. Data breach losses and noncompliance fines, coupled with lost of confidence in brand. Look for fine-grained audit and controls for tracking, alerting and managing access and distribution of data.

A complete view of the list through reliable data. Gone are the days where Santa could just rely on a letter to the North Pole. With the proliferation of channels for interaction, getting an accurate view of not just customer profiles, but their related behaviors, transactions, and relationships has never been more critical – it aids in better customer experience, enabling you to increase sales and customer satisfaction. New data-driven applications are enabling leading retail organizations to gain a complete view of their customers, and leverage the wealth of consumer information at big data scale.

Use machine learning for hyper personalization and engagement – As Santa knows, you're only as good or fast as your best Elf. Fortunately, artificial intelligence is quickly evolving from a buzzword to an essential component of a holistic retail data management platform – and it’s enabling retail organizations to provide more personalized communications with customers. Predictive analytics and machine learning can provide intelligent insights and next-best actions for customer engagement. Ensuring that even trainee Elves are empowered with the knowledge to succeed. But before implementing these technologies, first ensure your data is nice – naughty or incorrect data leads to misleading and poor execution.

Tools and techniques exist today to support Santa, and retail sales & marketers everywhere to deliver better customer engagement and experience. It's definitely better to give than to receive. Have a data-driven holidays.