Companies understand importance of customer centricity but fail to come to terms with data explosion, Experian research reveals


84 per cent of marketers left out in the cold by the multi-channel data deluge



London, 24 May 2012 – Seventy two per cent of UK businesses recognise the competitive advantage of using data and insight to put their customers at the heart of their business and are already exploring how a single customer view (SCV) would work for their organisation. Yet few are able to fully exploit the consumer demand for greater personalisation from brands and effectively link customer data across multiple channels and digital platforms to accurately tailor marketing communications, according to research released today by Experian Marketing Services.

The study of 400 UK businesses found that only 16 per cent – the “SCV Elites” – currently have a true SCV in place; a readily accessible summary of all customer relationships across numerous brands, businesses, products and channels, which in turn enables personalised multi-channel engagement with customers.

The same research also polled 2,000 UK consumers to explore perceptions of marketing today and clearly demonstrated the benefits to business of becoming an “SCV Elite”. Seventy four per cent of consumers said they would respond positively to personalised marketing communications while 44 per cent would request additional marketing information, demonstrating that they are ready to reward the brands that understand and communicate correctly with them across multiple channels.

Key findings from the Experian Marketing Services study of 400 UK businesses:

  • The ability to put the customer first was an important business driver for implementing a SCV:
  • 50 per cent acknowledged they would see improved customer service levels
  • 41 per cent indicated they would see better customer retention
  • 37 per cent  said they would be more attractive to new customers
  • 70 percent identified cost savings as a core benefit from SCV, of which:
  • 21 per cent thought they would grow wallet share with customers
  • 33 per cent wanted to increase revenues
  • 20 per cent said it would help them to reduce bad debt
  • 85 per cent recognised the lack of a single customer view had caused business problems:
  • 17 per cent felt they had exposed themselves to business risk as a direct result of having an incomplete view of their customers
  • 29 per cent said it delayed important business decisions being made
  • 16 per cent said it was the cause of high levels of customer churn
  • 22 per cent felt that they had lost opportunities to competitors
  • 18 per cent said they had likely missed cross- and up-selling opportunities

Nigel Wilson, Managing Director, Data & Analytics at Experian Marketing Services said “The benefits of a SCV are indisputable, both in terms of costs savings for the business and customer satisfaction, but our research shows that many marketers are still struggling to make effective use of the data that their business holds across multiple-channels. Some organisations are already on their way, so the rest need to see SCV as more than just an intangible ideal and instead a key business requirement for the future if they are to avoid being left behind by their competitors.”

Name of group

Group’s SCV status

% of sample in each group

The No Plans:

No plans at all to attempt a single customer view at this time


The One Days:

Not yet started down this route, but will do at some point in the future


The Planners:

Currently planning a single customer view strategy


The Implementers:

In the process of implementing a single customer view strategy


The Unfinished SCVs

Have a single customer view strategy in place, but it is not yet effective


The SCV Elites

Have a single customer view solution in place and it is effective


Table 1.1: Single customer view terminology and distribution of groups across the sample

“Proper integration of the data collected from different channels is particularly important for marketers. Our research found that even the SCV Elites – those furthest along the journey to implementing a true SCV solution – had only integrated 3.2 channels from the average of 6.65 through which they collect data,” concluded Wilson. “We are definitely moving in the right direction, but many UK businesses have a long way to go in their data journey, in fully understanding their customers and achieving effective multi-channel communications”.