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Ian Tomlin

Ian Tomlin Director

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Leave early from work today: How to export dealer customer data for campaigns without the manual data crunching

One of the great pains of being a marketer is getting customer lists prepared for campaigns. It sounds such a simple task to perform but all too often it becomes an activity that fills the day and keeps marketers working away until the wee hours.

There are a number of obstacles to overcome:

1. Getting the data

It starts with trying to source the data from the back-office systems that hold it.  Most dealers will use a dealer management system and will need to produce one or many reports to export the data.  Marketers might also want to exploit data held in contact centre, lead management and showroom systems where prospect records are held that contain useful email address and phone numbers (etc.) that aren’t held in the DMS.

2. Merging the data

Having got the data files, it’s then normally a question of merging the records together on a spreadsheet (fun) so long as the spreadsheet can cope with the volume of records and doesn’t present the dreaded ‘hung’ screen of death.

3. Cleansing, de-duping and transforming data

Then the real fun starts getting to work on the data using the tools provided by a spreadsheet to concatenate fields, delete unwanted fields and records, expose duplicates and delete them etc.

4. Sorting and filtering data

Having got the records in a consistent level of quality, then happens the task of distilling the records that are wanted for the campaign using filtering and sorting tools (a much more pleasant and rewarding task after all that data crunching).

5. Uploading data to campaign communications tools and systems

The final task is to get the data uploaded into the campaign communications apps that your business uses.  This can be frustratingly awkward if the upload tools are not easy to configure.  Often marketers will find they have to keep re-organizing their spreadsheet of data and save it into a .csv format in order to be accepted by the consuming application.

Having done all of the above and left the office at 11.00pm, the most disappointing thing for marketers is knowing that you’re going to have to go through this entire process all over again the next time you want to produce another campaign list!  It would also be a rarity for campaign systems to record the campaign against the source customer record which means marketers have no idea which customers are being over-marketed to and with others are being under-marketed to.

Thank goodness for cloud CRM data-marts.

Fortunately nowadays dealer marketers have the opportunity to overcome these issues by subscribing to a Cloud CRM data-mart service. What these services do is automate the harvesting of data from the various dealer management systems and third party apps a dealership employs, invoke algorithms that act on the data to automatically cleanse, de-dupe and transform it to then create a relational database in the cloud for marketers to gain a single-version-of-the-truth of their customer data and interrogate it.

Given that we’re talking about the precious commodity of customer data, protecting the data and making sure it’s not accessible to the wrong people (including unscrupulous employees) is always going to be a big concern to business execs.  Providers of Cloud CRM Data-Mart technologies like Encanvas provide their customers with their exclusive private cloud to secure customer data being used.  The only way to access the data is via a secure login and EVEN with a login, only certain roles have access to the data – with each query and request logged on the system, so it’s known who is accessing the system at any time (note: these are named users, not ‘terminal numbers’ or IP-addresses and things that don’t expose the actual name of the user).

Here’s how the same process works using a Cloud CRM data-mart:

1. Getting the data

Using powerful Extract, Transform and Load tools (normally supplied as part of a Cloud CRM data-mart) uploads from back-office and third party systems are automated and uploaded to the cloud having been checked for their consistency.

2. Merging, cleansing, de-duping and transforming data

The harvested data may go through a second, third or fourth ‘transform’ to do things like merging and cleansing.  Users don’t see all this work happening as clever algorithms take care of the data crunching.

3. Sorting and filtering data

Once the harvested data populates the cloud data-mart, that’s when the fun really happens.  Using the drop-down filters, and radio-button selection tools marketers can sort and filter their customer data to obtain the precise record selections they want to act on.

5. Uploading data to campaign communications tools and systems

Having produced the record selections, normally a Cloud CRM data-mart can be configured to populate the target third party application so in most cases there’s no need to suffer the hassle of manually uploading data.

 

It used to take me 2-4 hours to create a campaign list of customer records (sometimes it even took longer due to data quality issues).  Using a Cloud CRM platform removes the challenges of running through the process I’ve highlighted above and gives you a good reason to head off home from the office on-time.  But perhaps the biggest reward from using the technology is that it enables marketers to install a sustainable method of keeping data quality right up there so you don’t have to repeat the data cleansing activities ALL OVER AGAIN on the next campaign.

Cheers Mr. Cloud.  At least one marketer just loves what you bring to the party.

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