What is Customer Intelligence?

Meet the innovative approach to marketing, rooted in deeper empathy, complete context and meaningful customer connections: customer intelligence. 

Customer intelligence means much more than just knowing a few key characteristics such as a shopper’s name. It means knowing what a customer wants, needs and where she is in her buyer journey. It means realizing the opportunities to improve the relationship by solving her problems, anticipating her needs or purely delighting.


Simply put, customer intelligence is about collecting, connecting and acting on customer signals in real time. It aims to enrich a brand’s understanding of every moment of the customer journey, as people interact with brands and products across multiple channels and various platforms. 

By leveraging these insights, brands can deliver messaging, products, and content on an unprecedented individual customer level. Give customers exactly what they want, when they want it — and you’ll reap the business benefits. In fact, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations, which is a clear competitive advantage. 

Equipping decision making with actionable data, customer intelligence empowers companies to better understand their customers, enhance the customer experience, and as a result build lasting brand loyalty. 

Why is Customer Intelligence Important?

Customer intelligence elevates marketers’ capabilities beyond what they’ve been able to accomplish before. It begins with leveraging existing customer information — and gets smarter with every user interaction, growing your customer knowledge over time. 

With the support of this dynamic data, marketing campaigns can reach customers in the right context — across every channel, device or platform — in real time. Coupled with customer identity, customer intelligence means enriching a cross-channel, persistent customer profile to become the foundation for successful marketing and lifecycle management.

More importantly, customer intelligence allows businesses to more fully utilize first-party customer data without gambling with third-party data vendors. When disparate data gets collected and unified, marketers can do more with what they already own to uncover customer insights for business growth.

Robust, dynamic customer profiles equip marketers to create more engaging customer experiences and gain a deeper understanding of behavior across all platforms. In-the-moment understanding of customer behavior can have a significant impact on marketing effectiveness. By leveraging real-time data, marketers can provide more relevant campaigns while achieving better results. By connecting brands to the customer, customer intelligence can translate into significant growth and innovation in not only the marketing department but throughout the entire organization. 

Without complete context, customer data has little value to businesses. When siloed, customer data fails to live up to its potential. With people demanding convenient, friction-free brand experiences, marketers must understand that consumer engagements aren’t defined by any single device, channel or campaign. Rather, they are a reflection of everything a brand knows about a customer — needs, desires and past behaviors — and take shape at the right time and in the right context of a buyer journey.

How to Select a Customer Intelligence Platform

Not all solutions boasting customer data capabilities are worth the investment. A true customer intelligence platform is a technology provider — not a data broker. When choosing a customer intelligence platform, marketers must understand which solution best suits their needs and long term brand vision. 

First, let’s discuss the difference between some legacy customer data technologies and customer intelligence, terms that are easily confused in an ever-evolving marketplace.



The Evolution of Intelligent Marketing: DMPs vs CDPs vs CIPs

How is a customer intelligence platform different from older solutions such as data management platforms (DMPs) or customer data platforms (CDPs)? More than a decade ago, DMPs emerged to help marketers manage online audiences through cookie-based ad targeting, ostensibly offering a step towards personalization, over simple contextual ad targeting of the past. However, DMPs rely on third-party cookies which are temporary, unreliable, and soon to be obsolete. So, DMPs gave way to CDPs as brands sought to centralize and orchestrate personalized experiences within their owned channels.

However, CDPs don’t natively offer onboarding, a key capability required for deepening customer understanding and fully leveraging first-party data. Another missing component with CDPs alone is the ability to extend 1:1 consumer engagement outside of a brand’s owned channels, to other paid media and analytics vendors. That’s where customer intelligence solutions, like Signal, come in. Customer intelligence technology can incorporate data and behavior from across the marketer’s ecosystem to empower brands to build and enrich customer profiles that only get more robust over time.

Now, customer intelligence offers the modern approach to customer data by enriching customer profiles with realtime behaviors and actions. It requires the ability to connect all the information a brand may have about an individual — data in offline CRM storages and POS systems, web browser history, app searches, chat box queries, etc. — and tie it back to a deterministic customer profile.The solution empowers brands to make strategic decisions and obtain contextual insights from their data.

5 Results of Leveraging a Customer Intelligence Platform


Before marketers begin the first steps of investing in a customer intelligence solution, they must narrow in on the results they’re seeking to inform their decision. When implemented properly across the organization, a customer intelligence platform can:

  • Build Customer Loyalty
  • Enable Real-Time Marketing
  • Improve ROI
  • Reduce Wasted Ad Spend
  • Develop a Single Customer View

1. Build Customer Loyalty

Personalized interactions build brand loyalty. By leveraging actionable real-time customer data, marketers can deliver personalized experiences at every touchpoint. A customer intelligence platform allows you to capture the customer at the right time in the proper context every time and cultivate meaningful interactions with your brand that translate into lasting relationships.


2. Enable Real-Time Marketing 

Real-time marketing means responding to your customers in the moment. This requires marketers to know exactly how the customer is interacting with the brand in any channel. This real-time interaction management gives marketers the speed of consumer decision-making by enabling targeted customer experiences at the right time. 


3. Improve Marketing ROI

Optimizing messaging and customer experiences both on and off online properties results in user recognition and targeted, effective marketing. Customer intelligence allows marketers to collect and merge data between all channels and devices to effectively understand what’s working, what isn’t and how best to optimize their campaigns for the future and improve the ROI of marketing efforts across the board.


4. Reduce Wasted Ad Spend 

Launching ads into an ambiguous audience segment is one of the main causes of wasted ad spend. With customer intelligence, marketers can deliver ads to their existing customers, at scale. By knowing when a customer has made a purchase, marketers can stop advertising that is no longer relevant, saving on previously wasted impressions.


5. Develop a Single Customer View

Creating rich, holistic profiles as customers move across online and offline channels requires the collection and unification of fragmented, cross-channel data into a single customer view. Customer intelligence ensures customer profiles are rooted in deterministic data, while preventing the data loss associated with disconnected third-party solutions and, most importantly, allows marketers to maintain ownership and control over their most valuable asset: customer data.


Signal Customer Intelligence Platform


Signal’s Customer Intelligence Platform empowers brands to deeply understand the customer journey, transforming data insights into business value.  

We help marketers create opportunities for meaningful brand engagement. Signal’s platform  leverages real time data collection, hosts and maintains a dynamic brand identity graph, and unifies customer profiles to enrich customer knowledge. With our solution, you can collect data on all of your properties in real time while gaining valuable customer insights that are yours alone. We build a profile graph from your brand’s first-party data, tied to your own customer ID. We enrich that identity graph over time — while your brand maintains complete ownership and control of the asset.

Signal collects, connects and activates customer data in real-time. Our Customer Intelligence Platform grows with your business and moves with your customers to create opportunities for more intelligent — and effective — decision making.

Every customer engagement with your brand is a signal.

Customer Intelligence Solutions