How to create your customer analysis plan

Written by Pete Howroyd 

Paying Customer

Analysing customer data should be the first point of call when making decisions in your organisation. Customer analysis acts as the foundation of your plan and provides you with all of the necessary insights showing opportunities to build new initiatives.


Many businesses miss a massive opportunity to leverage the power of their CRM and Loyalty data by only using the data as a marketing tool. Using your customer data only for marketing purposes is a traditional and outdated method of managing CRM & Loyalty.


To unlock the real value of your customer data the data needs to be shared in the correct way to teams across your organisation and the business needs to undertake a level of ‘upskilling’ to understand how to use the data. Before any of this is done a plan and mapping exercise can help to understand the objectives of what you are trying achieve and to take stock of what data you have and where it can be used.


The ultimate goal is to centralise customer data into the heart of the organisation so that the brains for the organisation can pull from it to make important decisions. To kick start this strategy its important to understand what the business is trying to achieve and the questions they would like to have answered. Taking some time out to meet key stakeholders across your organisation from functions such as Buying, Merchandising, Store Management, Marketing, Logistics & Operations and E-commerce will help the CRM & Data analytics teams to understand the objectives of each function in more detail and to query where customer data could be used to improve the day to day for some of these functions.


A simple exercise of mapping each function can be undertaken along with aligning the relevant stakeholders that will provide useful insights for the analyses plan. In some functions such Buying & Marketing there will most likely be more than one stakeholder that can be spoken to, so ensure to map them all and talk with each of them.


A good way to begin the conversation with key stakeholders is to take along a recent piece of CRM analysis, perhaps a general overview of the company or department performance and talk the stakeholder through this analyses. This will then spark interest and open up questions from the stakeholder which may provide important insights into additional data that can be gathered to support them further.


In parallel to meeting with the stakeholders, another important piece of the mapping exercise is to understand what data the business has available to interrogate. Dependant on how the business is structured this may come from varying sources such as your I.T & B.I team your CRM platform or similar. Once you have a view what data points are captured you can begin to work out how these data points can be used to make future decisions for your organisation.

For example; If you have stores and your buying division wants to know which ranges are selling in each store, split by customer groups then you need to ensure that data points for Stores, Range & Customer group are all available in the data source. Similarly, if the business wants to run a Birthday campaign each year then you need to asses first of all whether the correct data is captured to know if the customer has a birthday coming up.


During the mapping exercise its important to also remember that if data is not available then this shows a new opportunity to add in additional data capture methods to fill these gaps, add these to your plan too as they will come in very handy later down the line.


Spending some time to understand both your stakeholders and mapping your data will provide you with a much stronger understanding of expectations and what is realistically possible before jumping straight into development of analysis & reporting.


Pete is the founder of The loyalty People and has directed and grown many well-known loyalty programs across department stores, fashion, pharma, and luxury retail. Known within the industry as a thought leader and expert in his field, Pete has a passion for unlocking the value of customer data. Pete founded The Loyalty People to allow businesses to build and accelerate customer loyalty.