Marketers have more data at their fingertips than ever before, giving them insight into every step of the customer journey. According to a new Harvard Business Review report, using this data to improve the customer experience is key to creating a competitive advantage in today’s market.

Consumer expectations are higher than ever: they expect to get what they want, when they want it. To win hearts and minds, marketers need data and analytics strategies that will show them both what consumers want in the moment and how to drive new and better experiences for customers.

Many companies take a product-centric approach and use data to generate value for themselves. Take airlines, for example. Decades ago, they were the trailblazers in customer analytics, using sophisticated data to drive dynamic pricing and reward their best customers with loyalty programs. But since then, airlines haven’t done much more to add new value to the product. By contrast, Ritz-Carlton has focused on creating sustained value, using data and analytics to benefit its customers. It tracks special requests (like non-allergenic pillows) so that the company can anticipate the customer’s needs on their next stay.

A new paper from Harvard Business Review shows how leading marketing organisations have created new value for the customer and established a competitive edge. In interviews with executives, academics, and analytics experts, Harvard Business Review found that:

  • In some cases, companies that have captured the full customer journey by integrating multiple sources of data are generating up to 8.5X higher shareholder value.
  • While any company can use data to optimise costs or sell more products, real differentiation comes from understanding new information about customers and orienting their business around those insights.
  • In 2015, 60% of companies said that organisational silos were the greatest barrier to improving customer experience. Successful companies are finding ways to organise around customer needs, creating nimble teams with the customer experience at the center.

Check out the full report, “Marketing in the Driver's Seat: Using Analytics to Create Customer Value,” and learn more about how companies are creating customer value with innovative approaches to data and analytics.