How to unlock the power of unstructured data

How to unlock the power of unstructured data Adam joined OpenText in October of 2000. Over the past 14 years, Adam has served in Product Management, Marketing, Engineering, Information Technology, Office of The President/PMO, Partner Development, and Mergers & Acquisitions. He has developed an extensive awareness of OpenText and its customers, people, culture, products, and markets.


Marketers know well that leveraging the right data can unlock unprecedented insights into their target audience, enabling personal and exceptional experiences.

Around 53% of organisations say data-driven marketing was their top strategic priority for 2016, while 81% of global marketers describe data as important to their efforts.

And there’s plenty of data to get your hands on. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), there‘s been an explosion in the variety of available data, created at higher velocity and in incredible volumes. But the IoT has also upended expectations of how consumers interact with organisations.

The digital revolution has radically increased the formats and channels on which we engage. The challenge for organisations is to meet customer expectations with personalised communications that are timely and via the right channels.

A good marketer uses the wealth of data at their disposal to create an experience that meets these demands. It’s about turning data into intelligence and joining up the customer journey to create better engagement and insight. But it is as simple as it sounds?

Giving strategy structure

Looking at the statistics, it doesn’t seem so. Marketers find data a big challenge. According to research from Econsultancy, only 10% of marketers across the world have managed to tie together customer data across channels, tools, and databases.

What’s more, 87% of marketers see data as their most underused asset.

We know marketers have always been data driven and invest a lot of time and energy in understanding the customer journey

While business solutions adopted by organisations have largely tamed and made sense of structured data through distributed storage and processing, massive amounts of unstructured information sits poorly managed and largely untapped – that’s a problem.

This is data from social media feeds, customer service calls, website live chats – the list goes on. Valuable information doesn’t flow effectively to the point of greatest impact.

Businesses need to break down these silos and adopt a ‘customer-first’ strategy in the experiences they deliver. This means turning attention to technologies that enable real-time integration in each of the key areas, including web content management, customer communications management, and customer care and support.

By connecting insights and feedback from each stage of the customer journey – from first contact through to renewal and retention – in an integrated platform, marketers can better understand what content and messaging works best for each channel and group across the whole customer lifecycle.

Add to this solutions that enable analytics and experimentation, and suddenly marketers have the perfect ingredients to maximise the value of their websites, mobile experiences, and campaigns.

Analytics, for example, allows marketers to build up a picture of a customer’s patterns, habits, and preferences, giving them insight into how best to market to them. But this information has to be available and not siloed.

Delivering in the age of the customer

We know marketers have always been data driven and invest a lot of time and energy in understanding the customer journey. But this is just scratching the surface; big data tools enable marketers to segment customers and predict behaviour at a much finer level of detail.

It is crucial that marketers use the data at their fingertips more intelligently to deliver the differentiated experiences which their customers demand.

This is only possible with tools that can make sense of all the available data available – structured or unstructured – in real time. At a point where marketers struggle to maximise the value of their data, having the right tools is a real competitive advantage. As consumer demands shift, those who have not mastered their data stand to fall behind.

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