When it Comes to Customer Data, Think Uber not Yellow Cab

For years, marketers have relied on visit-based measurement to optimize their marketing channels, resulting in lots of analysis, but little action.

Today’s marketers need to embrace visitor-based actions – and quick – if they want to stay in the game and drive better customer experiences.

Traditional visit-based measurement focuses on the interactions of a unique individual who is continuously active on your site – a new visit is usually started after 30 minutes of inactivity – and includes metrics such as page views, average time spent, bounce rate, visit depth, conversion rate, etc. They help answer basic questions such as what content do people prefer, what is my conversion rate, what is my bounce rate, and which level of my pre-defined funnels suffers the most abandonment?

Visitor-based metrics, on the other hand, focus on the actions of the individual visitor, and is essential for taking action to improve results in modern marketing.

To understand the difference, let’s look at ride-sharing services such as Uber, versus traditional taxi cabs.

Yellow Cab

If I order a taxi from my hotel, they come pick me up, and take me to my destination. I pay in cash or credit and likely never see them again. The taxi knows where they picked me up, where they dropped me off – and that’s about it.

The next time I hail a cab, even with the same cab company, they likely never knew I took that initial ride. In aggregate, the taxi company knows peak usage times, areas of demand, ride length, etc. Sound familiar? This is visit-based measurement.

Uber

Now, let’s look at a ride-sharing service like Uber, which immediately ties me to a credit card and my profile information when I hail a ride via their mobile app. They keep track of where they pick me up and where they drop me off. The next time I jump into an Uber, they know it’s me, and they know where I go. They know the ratings I give the drivers, and they know the ratings the drivers give me. They begin to amass more and more data on me as a valued customer each time I used the service, which can and will be used to optimize the experience and upsell the customer.

Uber has already streamlined their process for picking up rides at the airport, based on user feedback, and is tied into loyalty programs such as Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). Where could they go from here? The sky’s the limit: recommending restaurants, dry cleaning, attractions, events, etc., all based on your personal preferences. This is visitor-based data collection, and one of the reasons for Uber’s staggering valuation (which may be soon be worth $50B).

“One of these methodologies is dying and one of them is booming,” said Mike Anderson, co-founder and CTO of Tealium, who uses the Uber data example to help prospects understand the changing data landscape.

“We believe that visit-based information is dying and it’s moving toward visitor-based,” he said. “If you are going to act on a customer, one, you have to collect information about the customer and store it, and two, you have to be able to deliver that data wherever it needs to go in real time. And three, you have to be able to deliver it to a ton of places because there is a huge eco-system out there.”

Analytics solutions are great at supplying visit-based information, usually in the form of reports. Tag management vendors like Tealium, meanwhile, are helping global brands take the same visitor-based approach as Uber: creating and storing universal customer profiles that can be leveraged anywhere in their digital eco-system in real-time. These profiles can be used to fuel powerful omnichannel personalization in a fraction of the time and effort required under traditional batch-processing methodologies.

“The same thing we did for tags, we are doing for customers profiles: centralizing the data on the page, fuel it to everyone, centralize the visitor profile, fuel to everyone. It really is simple when you boil it down.”

Simple as hailing a ride through Uber.

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