Customer data – Different types and supplemental software

Three customers accessing different devices.

Marketers need a basic understanding of customer data – what it is, how it’s used, and the different types. After that, it helps to know how to efficiently collect, analyze and use customer data. This article will give you the basics, as well as the tools needed to succeed.

What is customer data?

Customer data is the personal customer information, such as demographics and behavioral data, that businesses obtain in order to better serve their customers. Customer data can show all types of interesting things about someone, including their business goals and needs.

On the surface, all customer data seems pretty similar, but there are a few different types you should know about.

Customer data types

The following types are the most helpful customer data sources marketing teams encounter.

Essential data

Essential data is our basic way of identifying customers. It gives details about the most general of identifiers.

What types of information it entails:

  • Customer name
  • Email address
  • Phone number/other contact information
  • Employment details
  • Demographic information
A customer profile on a CDP interface.

How this information is utilized:

Essential data is often used to organize records, improve communicative relationships, build customer trust/loyalty, and improve customer segmentation efforts.

Behavioral data

Behavioral data delivers unique customer insight through recorded patterns during an interaction. This includes how customers interact throughout purchases as well as behavior on a webpage.

What types of information it entails:

  • Customer history
  • Types of purchases made
  • Financial statistics
  • Subscription data
  • Webpage route-taking (from which page to which the customer ventures/ventured)
  • Webpage interactions (where and what the customer viewed/clicked, etc.)
  • Product/service interactions
A behavioral scoring card.

How this information is utilized:

Gives marketers a way to truly understand customers, which leads to a better overall grasp of what types of strategies will be most successful. Furthermore, it shows how customers behave around particular products/services.

Engagement data

Engagement data gives the specifics of how a customer connects or engages with your brand. This type of data usually includes the type of platform the customer engaged with, but it extends further than that as well.

What types of information it entails:

  • Advertisement engagement. This involves the statistics behind a customer’s contact with an advertisement, often measuring the clicks and cost of the interactions compared with the price of the ad.
  • Video views. The value of video views has increased over the past few years, especially when you consider that YouTube videos are added to many Google search results, plus there are business YouTube accounts which can promote and link to a business.
  • Social media interactions. Information from social media platforms includes things like how often a customer comments on a post, if and when they share it, and how well they respond to a post.
  • Webpage visits. This is usually the most cited and most valued type of engagement data. It measures when a customer visits through the website and how they navigate its pages.
  • Customer service interactions. These pieces of information involve what types of experiences users have with customer service, such as types of questions asked, complaints filed and problems unsolved, solved or resolved.

How this information is utilized:

Marketers can take engagement data and adjust their campaign and advertisement strategies based on the common access points from users across the board.

Preferential data

Preferential data is roughly related to behavioral data, but it focuses more on the way the customer thinks instead of the way they act.

What types of information it entails:

  • What drives a specific customer to act
  • What types of beliefs customers have about industry-related ongoings
  • General attitudes of the customer
  • The many preferences a customer has (this has plenty of overlap with other customer data categories)

How this information is utilized:

By understanding the preferential data available, marketers can better determine the types of campaigns and content would be acceptable for individual customers.

With these different customer data types in mind, let’s discuss how to best collect and interpret these important pieces of information.

Managing customer data

Now that you are familiar with customer data and its many different types, the next step is learning how to collect, manage and interpret it. Doing so without the help of cutting-edge technology is ill-advised, and puts yourself at a huge disadvantage. Instead, you’ll want to use software designed specifically with customer data in mind. The solution is a customer data platform.

A picture of the CDP profile.

A customer data platform (CDP) manages and organizes data in a central location, where it is analyzed using artificial intelligence to make the best use of it. This modern technology not only collects and interprets customer data, but also helps marketers create extremely accurate customer profiles.

Another thing to point out is, in the current landscape, marketers and customers alike favor when data collected is first party data. Fortunately, the CDP is best suited to handle this preferential data type.

Ultimately, customer data is only as helpful as the tools you use to maximize its efficacy. A customer data platform connects all the useful dots to ensure marketing teams can make the best of their efforts.