Customer 360: Everything you need to know

Apr 30, 2024

In recent years, the concept of Customer 360 has become a hot topic among marketing, IT, and data professionals, and it’s not hard to see why. Organizations, especially large consumer brands, are accumulating massive quantities of customer data that often becomes fragmented, incomplete, duplicated, inconsistent, ungoverned, and outdated as it moves throughout the organization.

When you consider this issue across millions of customer records and countless touchpoints, it’s no wonder brands struggle to answer even the most basic questions like:


  • What’s the lifetime value (LTV) of our most profitable customers?
  • Where can we find opportunities for upselling and cross-selling?
  • How can we improve customer service and satisfaction?
  • Which campaigns are driving increased purchasing behavior?
  • When’s the best time to engage with our customers?

To tackle questions like these, brands are turning to Customer 360 to get a clearer picture of their customer journeys, so they can identify personalization opportunities, maximize every user interaction, and ultimately drive more ROI.

In this article, you’ll learn why Customer 360 is essential, how you can achieve a comprehensive view of your customers, and why relying on a packaged CDP just won’t cut it when trying to consolidate all customer data into a single, reliable source of truth.

What is Customer 360?

Customer 360 is a framework designed to give businesses a holistic, 360-degree view of customers across all touchpoints and interactions. It involves collecting, integrating, and analyzing diverse customer data from various sources and consolidating it into a cohesive profile of each customer. This comprehensive view gives brands the insights they need to deepen their understanding of customers, anticipate their needs, and provide one-to-one engagement at scale.

A recent survey by Harvard Business Review of over 1,000 executives found that 88% of respondents believe that having a single customer view across the organization is critical for business success. Yet, there’s a gap between this ideal and reality: only 31% said they currently have that single view of customer data, and among those who do, only half have the organizational structure, tools, and technology to make full use of those insights.

Traditional models keep customer data in separate disconnected silos, making it difficult to create a unified view. Customer 360 aims to bridge that gap by centralizing all customer data, ensuring everyone across the organization can share, access, and leverage a consistent source of truth about their customers.

With all of your data in one place, you can transform scattered, incomplete data into personalized customer experiences, optimized marketing processes, and actionable insights that empower marketing and data teams to excel.

Why Customer 360 is so important

Delivering effective cross-channel engagement hinges on the consistency and accuracy of customer data – where it lives, how it’s managed, and its organizational structure. Without this alignment, it becomes nearly impossible to deliver accurate messaging that hits home because data about your customers is spread across multiple systems.

Marketing and data teams often face this challenge, especially when dealing with millions of customer interactions and touchpoints. Data often lives in a chaotic state, scattered across disparate systems and hidden in sales and marketing tools. Much like a tangled web, this messy data reflects the complexity and disorganization many big brands face.

Acts as a single source of truth


If you can stitch the millions of diverse data points you have into a single platform, you can transform your data warehouse into a well-spring of insights that fuel personalization, analytics, strategic decision-making, and operational efficiency.

With this single source of truth, you can build robust customer profiles with the confidence they’ll remain manageable even as they grow in complexity. You’ll gain a full understanding of how every campaign, interaction, and response impacts the customer experience and use that intel to guide your data strategy.

Relying on a single version of customer data fuels analytics and AI models, freeing up time for data teams so they can spend less time wrangling data and resolving discrepancies and more time extracting valuable insights.

Prevents silos and improves data quality


Data silos are a notorious source of headaches for marketing and data teams. When different teams across the organization use separate systems to store and manage information, data becomes inconsistent and generally hard to work with. This fragmentation makes it difficult for teams to work together efficiently towards shared goals and results in missed opportunities for collaboration and informed decision-making.

By consolidating all your data and achieving Customer 360, data is no longer fragmented or isolated in separate silos. This eliminates duplication and inaccuracies caused by redundant data stored in multiple systems. Armed with a clean and unified view of data across the organization, teams can work with the same up-to-date customer records needed to streamline workflows, maximize operational efficiency, and collaborate seamlessly towards common objectives.

Better collaboration between marketing and data teams


Marketing teams rely heavily on data to create personalized and targeted campaigns, but without a complete view of customers, they often have to lean on data and IT teams to gather, interpret, and analyze the information they need. This process can be slow and cumbersome, especially with the increasing pressure to deliver quick results and drive revenue.

Add to this the increased pressure to deliver results and drive revenue, and data teams can quickly find themselves inundated with requests from marketing that may take weeks or even months to process.

By the time marketing finally has the data, it could be too late to leverage it for any meaningful engagement. If this happens regularly, marketing teams might eventually stop requesting the data they know they need quickly, as the expected time lag diminishes the data’s value.

Combining Customer 360 with a warehouse-native customer engagement solution transforms how marketing and data teams collaborate. Marketing teams gain direct access to the data and insights they need, reducing their reliance on data teams and expediting the campaign launch process. This collaborative approach not only enhances efficiency but also ensures marketing endeavors are underpinned by timely, relevant data.

More personalized customer experiences


With all your data in one place, your single customer view serves as a catalyst for forging stronger relationships and engaging customers with greater relevance. This complete data integration means data teams can conduct advanced analytics and segmentation with ease to identify profitable customer segments and support real-time personalization efforts. 

Everyone across the organization can understand the complete customer journey – their preferences, behaviors, and interactions across every touchpoint. Marketing teams, armed with data-driven insights, can anticipate and respond to customer actions in real time, provide cross-channel consistency, and continually optimize personalized experiences.

Customer 360 use cases

Here are just a few examples of how brands can harness Customer 360 to drive better business outcomes.



Centralized data enables data teams to analyze the entire customer journey, from the first touchpoint to repeat purchases. With a clear understanding of which marketing channels and programs are driving results, data teams can provide accurate insights into what is driving customer acquisition, engagement, and retention. This invaluable data can inform lead scoring, marketing budget allocation, KPIs, and even shape broader organizational strategies.

Advanced audience segmentation


Consolidating all your customer data means access to more data points, facilitating the creation of more reliable customer segments and profiles. This helps marketers refine their targeting strategies for higher conversion rates and improved ROI. By targeting the right audience with the right message, marketing and data teams can reduce wasted resources on campaigns that don’t deliver on results.

Cross-channel personalization


Customer 360 makes it easier for data teams to analyze customer behavior and preferences, meaning marketers have all the data they need to deliver personalized messaging that resonates across every channel.

Each customer interaction serves as an additional valuable data point, and with a 360-degree view, you can leverage this data in real time to deliver highly targeted campaigns. This agility could make the critical difference in engaging a customer with a personalized offer before they consider churning, for example. 

How Customer 360 works

Creating a clear and comprehensive view of your customers involves gathering complex and messy data from various sources and making it cohesive and actionable.

Data collection


Customer 360 starts with gathering data from various sources, including CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, social media channels, website interactions, sales databases, customer support records, and more. This data may include demographic information, transaction history, communication preferences, browsing behavior, and customer interactions.

The data collection process is the foundation for a deeper customer understanding by providing the raw data used to create a comprehensive 360-degree view of the customer. 

Data integration


Once you collect all your data across the various sources, it’s consolidated into a single, centralized repository like a data warehouse. Data integration involves merging, cleaning, and reconciling data from disparate sources to create a unified view of each customer. This process ensures all relevant information is aligned in a structured format, making it accessible and consistent across the organization.

Data quality


Once all your data is in the data warehouse, you’ll want to identify and resolve any issues such as duplicates, inaccuracies, incomplete records, and inconsistencies. Data teams will use cleansing, validation, and enrichment techniques to maintain data integrity and resolve any issues stemming from the data’s previous dispersal across multiple sources.

This will ensure everyone across the organization has an accurate and up-to-date single master record that includes all relevant information for each customer. Once this phase is complete, data is not just accessible but usable, laying the foundation for effective activation and analysis.

Data analysis


Integrating customer data uncovers actionable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and demographics. By analyzing patterns and trends from multiple data sources, you can predict future behavior and make informed decisions that influence successful marketing and customer engagement strategies.

Incorporating AI models into your data analysis further refines your understanding of customer behavior. For example, these models can predict a customer’s propensity to buy or churn by analyzing patterns in their past interactions, browsing behavior, and purchase history. 

Implementing successful Customer 360

Customer 360 tools help businesses construct actionable profiles and execute strategies based on derived insights. 

Use a legacy CDP


One approach is to use a legacy Customer Data Platform (CDP). These platforms provide pre-built, usually one-size-fits-all solutions for collecting, integrating, and analyzing customer data. However, they don’t offer the same level of customization and control over your data as other solutions, and they ultimately create an additional, incomplete data silo.

While CDPs do ingest data, they don’t provide a complete picture of all the data you need to draw conclusions about the buyer journey. At best, they’re allowing you to paint an incomplete picture of your customer; at worst, a wholly inaccurate one.

Build Customer 360 in-house


To solve the inflexibility of legacy CDPs, you might decide to build Customer 360 in-house. This involves collecting, integrating, and analyzing customer data from various sources using your own resources. This approach gives you complete control over your data and allows you to tailor your Customer 360 view to your brand’s specific needs.

However, this is an extremely resource-intensive project and requires a high level of technical expertise. It offers flexibility and power but typically comes at too high of a cost. Building and maintaining a Customer 360 in-house requires significant engineering resources for basic data plumbing and cleaning. This leads to projects that can take months or even years to complete.

Use a warehouse-native solution


All your data and business logic should be centralized around a solution that costs less and delivers far more: the data warehouse.

A warehouse-native solution (like MessageGears) works by running directly on top of your data lake, using it as the single source of complete customer profiles. What makes MessageGears different is our platform accesses and activates your data from its origin but without ever needing to copy, map, sync, or store it in its own separate silo. 

A warehouse-centric approach like this allows you to use best-in-class components that connect directly to your customer data – all without the restrictions and drawbacks of an out-of-the-box solution.

Achieve Customer 360 with MessageGears

The reality is most B2C enterprise brands recognize the value of collecting and centralizing data but often struggle with where to start. MessageGears offers a clear path forward, helping you transform your data into a powerful tool for customer engagement.

💡 Interested in achieving a comprehensive Customer 360 view and activating your data directly from your data warehouse? Schedule a demo with MessageGears today and connect with our data solutions experts.

About the Author
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Sarah Kelly

Sarah is a passionate marketing professional devoted to crafting thought-provoking content that fuels business growth and success. With over a decade of experience in the ever-evolving marketing world, she brings a strategic and data-driven mindset to her role as SEO.