Facebook, Data Collection and Personalization

Over the last two weeks the media has provided a daily IV drip of Facebook revelations around the compromised data of 50 million users. With each negative headline, tech stocks, especially “FANG” (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet -parent of Google) took a hit, leaving Wall Street on edge.

The Facebook story is a wake-up call to all of us who download apps without question or caution. Facebook relies on an advertising model to make money, but it now appears the model may have been a tempting slide into other transactions like letting protections on user’s data ‘go offline’ to third-party players. This growing saga reveals fresh fears about data protection and personalization.

Will Zuckerberg meet with Congress? Perhaps. He is on record with a mea culpa, “We need to make sure that we don’t make that mistake ever again.” Facebook’s mistake of unauthorized data collection was that the barn door was left open wide enough to access third- party apps.

Kevin McBrien, Vice President at Leidos, an information technology company, was recently quoted in the Harvard Business Review stating, “everything we purchase and do leaves behind digital bread crumbs that can be mined by analytics to predict how and what we will spend our income on.” Personalization is the gold in those digital bread crumbs that (we hope) accountable companies will properly and successfully mine. When we go on-line, we leave pebbles of data everywhere.

Today, our data is managed by just about everyone from the government, to retailers, marketers, educational and health institutions, and manufacturers. All these enterprises try to use personalization in our data to glean insights into our habits, and most of it is done responsibly, in a win-win transaction. When data is accessible and updated across all channels, the detective work to serve up personalized products and service, works effectively, and hopefully, ethically.

Matouk & Co., a 90-year-old high-end bed and bath linen company that continues to manufacture only in the US, understands how a personalized manufacturing game plan ultimately delivers on success. They implemented a Salesforce CRM and Rootstock ERP that was unified on one platform, and became a true game changer.

Sales is the Key

To modernize their operations, Matouk moved to a cloud-based ERP a few years back, which now provides them with the benefits of personalization at every level. These changes allow them to sell up via enhancements like monograms or crests, which is a crucial part of how they stay competitive. Matouk’s sales operations are now more competitive because they stay on their game with smart connected personalized data. Personalized data enables the best sales reps to have regular mobile updates that provide information around the correct inventory in stock, wait times, order changes, promised dates, and delivery status.

With personalized data, any sales operations team can transform itself to be better sell, deliver, service and up-sell from the data on the CRM and Cloud based ERP.

Personalization Helps Service

Fresh data = better service. For Matouk, even an inquiry about the status of a product can now be sent mobile to mobile since everyone from the sales rep, to the shop floor seamstress, to the tailor have a connected smart mobile phone at the ready. The bottom line, customer experience matters, and sales organizations must now adapt to a customer-led market through personalization. Enterprises need ERP/CRM to successfully engage first, service second and avoid falling behind and losing out to customer churn. Personalized data will be the touch point to leverage this relationship from sales to service and beyond.

Integrating CRM and ERP

Integrating ERP and CRM systems gave Matouk one unified database, ensuring that any changes made will be automatically seeded throughout the entire organization. This unified database allows both marketing and sales to see a complete system which in turn gives a complete, personalized picture of the customer.

An integrated CRM and ERP helps the Matouk sales team close more deals with better inventory and production forecasts. This in turn moves the product through the system and to the customer on time. With this efficiency, naturally financials naturally improve. Matouk has a clear picture of how it is doing from an income, expense and profit standpoint. The business analytics give an accurate data picture and the ability to better forecast and improve financial control and manage risk.

The Bottom Line

Personalization is a cooperative venture and should also be a win-win game for any company, especially a social media player like Facebook.

The personalization game is fair when both understand how the pie is shared. If the recent Facebook news taught us anything, personalization, if done right, can make or break any business.