B2C Companies on Data and Segmentation: it's Crucial for Growth and Development but We're Yet to Crack the Code

2018 had personal data, and not least privacy, high on everyone’s agenda, with the implementation requirements of GDPR’s. But what is the status of the B2C companies’ collection and use of customer related data? How much energy do they spend on it and how do they implement it across their business? Is it important? In all parts of the business?  Are there obstacles? That is what we uncover in our new analysis B2C Companies' Data Collection and Use where 154 respondents from Danish and Swedish B2C companies answer 20 questions on their collection and use of customer related data


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Data is Essential for Development and Growth

The analysis discloses that the B2C companies regard customer related data as essential for continuous growth and development. But is also shows that the road is long, from collecting data tohaving clear processes for their storage, maintenance, and use. E.g. when it comes to customer segmentation where there are challenges in both the analytical work and the operationalisation and implementation of the segmentation models throughout the organisation

Obstacles: Time, Compentencies, and to Operationalise Their Segmentation

The most common obstacles identified by the companies themselves are time and competencies; somewhat contradictory to the claim from half of the respondents that they work strategically with data in business development, sales, and marketing – though confirming the saying that data is on everybody’s list but never on top


This means the companies are likely to miss out on the value they themselves expect to gain from the customer data and the ability to work in a customer-centric way, because the data aren’t converted into actionable insights. However, the discovery and understanding of customer needs are a key requirement for the companies’ ability to compete, says CBS associate professor, Per Østergaard Jacobsen [linked story is in Danish]


The discrepancy between the general faith in data’s potential and the actual value, data are implemented in the business to create was recently documented by the IT giant IBM in a Harvard Business Review article where they claim that the US companies alone are missing out on a trillion-dollar potential


Nevertheless, 46% of the respondents believe their level of collection and use of customer data is high or very high. Given there is no benchmark, it is impossible to judge. It is noteworthy, however, that as many as 21% claim to not segment their B2C customers and only a third estimate their segmentation model to be operational


This indicates that the company experience difficulties to realise their good intentions and to capitalise on their data investments. It might be due to a lack of competencies; only 44% believe they to a great or very great extent have the necessary competencies in-house, and 27% identify this as a remarkable obstacle. In the end, 36% of the respondents claim their segmentation model gives them a competitive advantage, so there is room for improvement


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