The Single Customer View or 'Unified Golden Record'
A Single Customer View will only contain data that can be matched to an individual customer, otherwise the data will either be rejected or stored outside of the Single Customer View until it can be matched. An example of un-matched data might be web behavioural data (or clickstream data) that is anonymous but logs a list of page views and interactions. The data will only be accepted by the Single Customer View once it can be matched to a customer record and is no longer anonymous (for example, when the web browser makes a purchase or completes a web form).
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The term ‘Single Customer View’ is often confused with other terms such as ‘Big Data’ and ‘Data Warehouse’. The similarity is that all three are collecting and processing huge volumes of data and matching based on unique identifiers where possible, but the data can also be anonymous or ‘unstructured’.
The key differences are that a ‘Big Data’ storage solution and ‘Data Warehouse’ are used to collect high volumes of structured and unstructured data that do not necessarily need to match to a customer, and are normally projects under the remit of the IT Department. The data could be as relevant to HR, Finance, IT or any other department of an organisation as much as it is relevant for marketing. In fact the relevance for marketing is often questionable when attempting to use data mining tools to extract ‘actionable’ data from Big Data and Data Warehouse initiatives.
The Single Customer View is different because it is an initiative which focuses solely on customers and ‘structured’ data. The structured nature of the data, which always matches to an individual customer record, ensures that the data and analytics are meaningful and relevant to any customer-focused department (predominantly Marketing, Sales and Customer Service departments.)
The initiative will therefore normally sit with the Marketing department, rather than IT.
Whereby an organisation has a Big Data or Data Warehouse storage solution, the Single Customer View can sit alongside it and take any structured data about a customer that can then be aggregated and analysed in isolation.
A Single Customer View is often also referred to as ‘Single View of the Customer’, 360 degree Customer View’ or in the case of organisations referring to customers as members, subscribers or another then they can be referred to as ‘Single Member View’, ‘Single Subscriber View etc.
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