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Transforming your approach to customer data to transform your customer experience

04th May 2022

Author Lena Jenkins

Highlights from the first in Merkle’s CX Imperatives 2022 webinar series: How to expand your vision for customer data

Last month Merkle Australia kicked off the first in a series of three webinars delving into Merkle’s findings and guidance from Merkle’s Customer Experience Imperatives 2022, focusing on the first of the report’s three imperatives: How to expand your vision for customer data. You can access the session on-demand here.

Think big, start small, move fastand create value was the overarching mantra for the session, featuring an engaging line-up of three seasoned data and CX experts, Lionel Kho (Merkle’s VP, Data Transformation), Gayle While (dentsu Creative’s Chief Client Officer) and Chris Bower (CEO dentsu Solutions).

Through conversation and examples, Lionel, Gayle and Chris explored the central tenet of Imperative 1: that identity and data are the strategic assets that underpin the creation of contextual customer moments – and that now is the time for us to rethink the data we collect and how we use it to make experiences more valuable and relevant.

For the team at Davanti, we’re all about creating holistic connected experiences that help organisations get closer to their customers, and our approach to data transformation is part and parcel of this focus on the total customer experience. Simply put, as organisations, how we approach and unlock the value of our data is at the heart of the customer experience we create – and we can’t truly understand or respond to (let alone anticipate) the needs of our customers quickly, meaningfully or with contextual relevance without it.

As I reflected on the role data plays in customer experience transformation through the session, here are some of the top pointers I took away. For more detailed information, you can download this year’s full Merkle CX Imperatives report here.

Start by knowing your customer and what they value

We know that customer needs are ever-changing, and that customer experience is the leading differentiator for organisations (the Adobe Digital Trends 2022 Report attests to this) but how well do we really know our customers and what they really value?

Data can help us firstly to understand our customers. Then, by understanding what they value, we can create a Value Exchange (the data that customers are willing to share in exchange for experiences they value) between our organisation and our customer. This creates a valuable and mutually beneficial feedback loop, helping our organisation to continually enrich the experience we provide to our customers based on their specific personal needs.

As Chris quoted:

“The most valuable data is the data your customers want you to have because it creates a better experience for them.”

To illustrate this point, one real-world example he shared was Disney, whose customer proposition has expanded from creating great content to – in more recent years – creating great content and providing this flexibly, available from anywhere. For parents, the value inherent in this exchange is peace of mind.

As an organisation understanding your customer and the experience they value in order to create the right Value Exchange, the order in which you approach this is important.

  1. Start by asking: Who is the customer I want to build a relationship with?
  2. Then: What is the customer experience I want to deliver?
  3. And then: What do I need to understand about them to create a personal experience?

Creating added value for your customer will quite often come down to extending the value of your product or service or approaching things in new ways. However, before you can do this, you first need to have a clear picture of your answers to the three questions above.


Create the business case for data, ask the big questions, experiment

As Lionel Kho pointed out, a great place to start is by looking at your organisation and asking:

  • Where does the opportunity lie in our business for us to increase our value and the value we provide?
  • What data do we have today?

The next step is using this data to size the opportunity – and then you can go on to experiment, which is where the think big, start small and move fast mantra comes into play.

Another point Lionel made was that it’s important to look closely at your data collection strategy and ask:

  • How are we collecting data and how can we collect more of it?
  • How well equipped is our organisation to turn this data into insights, and those insights into action?

From there, a fuller set of questions to ask when you are rethinking your data strategy (outlined in the report), include:

  • What are you asking your customers to tell you?
  • What do you plan to do with the answers they supply?
  • When are you asking for this information?
  • Do you have a deep enough relationship to ask for specific data from your customers?
  • What are customers getting in return for providing their data (e.g. better experiences, smoother transactions, more rewards, more personalised content, etc.)
  • How do you use data to deliver more effective experiences for customers?
  • What insights are you building with the data you have?
  • How fast is the data becoming useful?


Better value exchange leads to greater customer experience, which drives business outcomes.

Organisations that excel at delivering great customer experience and using their data – in the right ways – to continually improve that experience – are rewarded with:

  • 7x customer retention
  • 6x customer lifetime value
  • 4x faster revenue growth

About the Merkle CX Imperatives 2022: Shaping customer relationships in the new age of experience

In CX Imperatives 2021, Merkle shared a formula for achieving these relationships: data transformation + digital transformation = customer experience transformation. The 2021 Imperatives were intended to connect with the entire C -suite, delving into the technological and organisational components necessary to facilitate this transformation.

This year’s CX Imperatives look at Merkle’s vision for expanding on this foundation. It starts by taking a look at customer data and what it means to create a feedback loop through a value exchange (the subject of this first webinar). Imperative two looks at how we can use measurement as a catalyst for change – measuring what truly drives commercial impact and how this can set organisations up for long-term success. Imperative three looks at what brand loyalty really means in today’s customer experience economy and what we need to do drive next-generation commerce experiences.

Stay tuned for the next two webinars coming up later this month and in June: Imperative 2: Using measurement as a catalyst for change on 25 May, and Imperative 3: Delivering commerce experiences to drive next-generation loyalty (date TBC).

Watch webinar 1 on-demand here.

If you’d like to talk to us about your data transformation strategy or any of the topics covered here, we’d love to talk.