The Six Steps to Activating Customer-Centric Insights in a Channel-Centric World

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-2-54-02-pmMost retailers have made major investments in their marketing tools, their data, and their teams. They are aggregating customer information in data warehouses and making it accessible to marketing execution systems. New data science groups are being formed, and CRM teams are being integrated within the broader organization. So why is it still so hard to solve customer centric-challenges like the one time buyer problem? To reduce churn without over-spending on promotions? To focus your ad spend on consumers predicted to become high life time value customers?

In many ways, the last ten years have been the Age of the Channel. Email, Display, Search, Social, eCommerce -, the list goes on and on. Each channel has a dedicated team, dedicated tools, and dedicated analytic systems. But according to Forrester, we are now entering the Age of the Customer. And that requires customer-centric tools, customer-centric data, and customer-centric analytics that cut across channels. With all the investment in teams, data and technology, there is still a huge void right in the middle of the modern marketing technology stack that makes it nearly impossible to understand individual customer needs and wants. Without this deep understanding, brands will not be able to tackle customer-centric challenges like the one time buyer problem. Or reduce churn without overspending on promotions. Or efficiently acquire new high value customers.

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The gap in the retail marketing technology stack sits between customer data and the marketing teams themselves. Even after consolidating customer data in data warehouses, marketers still aren’t any better equipped to tackle difficult customer-centric challenges.  The gap is felt in two ways – through a lack of actionable insights generated from the data, and in the inability for marketers to easily access the insights to improve the day-to -day performance of the marketing team.

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Three Steps to Better Customer Insights with Guest Speaker Brandon Purcell of Forrester

Just as the 1960s were called the age of distribution, and the 1990s labeled the age of information, the 2010s have been dubbed “the age of the customer.” In this age, companies are reinventing themselves to better understand and serve customers who are becoming increasingly powerful.

As a side effect of the age of the customer, companies have been gathering massive amounts of data. While this data can take many forms (e.g. social, behavioral, mobile, sensor) and can differ from company to company, most of this new data has at least one thing in common: it’s not being used.

We work with smart people at some of the best companies in the world every day to tackle this challenge, but we can never pass on an opportunity to open the conversation to others. In that vein, we invited customer insights expert, Brandon Purcell from Forrester, to be a guest presenter at our webinar on the use of analytics to better leverage customer data.

We covered a wide range of topics with Brandon from fancy french restaurants, to Star Wars, and even Google Glass, but the biggest takeaway was these three steps to start using your customer data more effectively. (you can watch the full conversation below)
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Roundtable: E-commerce in 2020

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We like to brainstorm at Custora. It’s how we’ve come up with great ideas like building human-sized ROI calculating robots and sending baby garden snakes to prospects.* I sat down with Corey Pierson, Custora’s CEO; Jordan Elkind, our Head of Product; and David Stychno, our Head of Design to chat about how we envision retail and e-commerce changing in the next few years.

The warm up

Me: How do you see the e-commerce industry changing by 2020?

Dave: Local, mobile, social. virtual. Lomosovir. Like the gymnast.

Corey: Omnichannel.

Me: Personalization. Okay okay, no more buzzwords. Seriously.

Dave: I think television is going to be a much bigger e-commerce channel. It’s a bigger and more communal shopping experience. I’m loving my Apple TV. Never shopped on it though. Other than apps.

Corey: Programmatic TV ad buys. The ads I see will be very different from the ones you see.

Jordan: Traditional TV media buying is very old-fashioned. Planners actually buy media against blocks using schedulers…

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Download Custora’s Q2 2016 Pulse Report

Every quarter, we release a report recapping the state of US e-commerce based on data from over 500 million anonymized shoppers and $100B in e-commerce revenue from over 200 online retailers. Check out this report to learn more about the top e-commerce trends of Q2 2016. For real-time updates, sign up for the Pulse here.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the report or this data, we’d love to hear them. Feel free to comment here, or email us at

If you’re curious about the statistical methods we used to produce this report, check out this blog post about a previous report, which used similar tools.

Please enter your details below to get the report.

The Retail Tipping Point

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Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi


Growing retailers often place companies like Amazon on a pedestal, strategizing about the hurdles necessary to overcome and place themselves amongst the upper echelon. But let’s be honest, comparing yourself to the Amazon of today is simply unrealistic – and will likely only frustrate you.

Every company reaches what I like to call a “tipping point.” Some hit it at the $20 million mark, some at the $50 million mark, others much later. This “tipping point” forces a company to evaluate their strategy and make a crucial decision: continue with the status quo, or adapt and dig in to their customer data to move that revenue needle forward. If you are like most growing companies, you are probably leaning more towards the latter, devising a plan to move beyond optimizing one-time transactions and entering the realm of sustainable revenue through retention.

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