Executives and management can improve business efficiency in many ways today. They can:
- Delegate responsibilities and tasks to the most relevant team members
- Ensure there is constant, seamless, cross-departmental communication
- Get rid of ineffective internal processes that slow down time to market
- Train (and/or retrain) their employees as needed to uplevel their skill sets
- Allow for face-to-face time (in person and/or virtually) with team leaders
But an oft-overlooked way organizational leaders can ensure their businesses run smoothly from an efficiency (e.g., reduce time wasted) and revenue growth standpoint is to invest in technology that erases data silos, reduces data hand-offs, and lessens complexity.
Notably, a customer data platform (CDP) like BlueConic that democratizes data across growth-focused teams: from data science and analytics to marketing and customer service.
Why process, not features, is the key to successful technology evaluation
When it comes to tech selection for their companies, key decision-makers (executives, marketing technologists, IT, etc.) often focus on who owns the technology.
Depending on the answer, they come to the table with a strong view on the type of technology they’d like to bring in and compare various vendors based on one question:
- “How does this solution’s features and functionality compare to those of other, similar systems we could invest in?”
By focusing on features and functionality, though, businesses miss a bigger opportunity when it comes to identifying the ideal tools for their teams. That is, they fail to ask:
- “How can this particular tech change the way our teams achieve common goals?”
For example, a company that wants to improve the ecommerce experience for customers might focus on how to drive better real-time personalization to various target segments.
Analytics might look for a solution with the best algorithm. Meanwhile, marketing may look for a tool with the ability to easily customize the look and feel of product recommendations.
Both teams are vying for the technology that best suits their distinct needs. But both may not consider that improving the ecommerce experience depends on:
- 1) Being able to feed first-party customer data into the desired algorithm
- 2) Using that data to provide relevant, timely product recommendations
Instead of considering what a given solution entails feature-wise, departmental leaders must focus on how a tech tool can help all growth-focused teams get things done better.
That is to say, more efficiently.
They should ask how their teams (and others) can use behavioral, transaction, engagement, and location data in a potential platform to deliver more impactful recommendations.
Similarly, they should ask if they will need to rely on manual processes to export customer data from existing systems and import it to the new potential tool to train the algorithm.
All this is to say you need a solution that reduces manual handoffs, shortens time from insight to action, and affords your growth teams greater agility and flexibility.
Improvements that will ultimately lead to far greater efficiency across the organization.
Improving business efficiency: A big priority for companies in 2021
Improving business efficiency requires buyers (i.e., companies) to think not just about what capabilities a prospective technology has, but also the processes it impacts.
Let’s dive in with an example.
Here’s how two growth-focused teams at one BlueConic customer, a multi-brand retailer, find common ground with usage of our CDP to ensure strong alignment, prevent operational silos, and, ultimately, deliver a first-rate customer experience.
The analytics team owns BlueConic. Onboarding our CDP offered two key benefits:
- 1) It can control and access customer data with ease. Before BlueConic, it relied on external agencies to manage its customer data. Without direct data access, it would pay fees each time it wanted segments pulled. A task that could take up to three weeks.
- 2) It centralized and standardized data across brands. Normalizing and cleansing data is time-suck for any analytics team. (Let alone one responsible for multiple brands across the globe.) With BlueConic, the centralized analytics team can more effectively and efficiently put its customer data to use without long lead times for data cleansing.
But the company’s marketing team also benefits from BlueConic in tangible ways:
- Prior to investing in BlueConic, marketing also had to wait weeks for data (e.g., segments of frequent and high-intensity visitors) to inform its lifecycle orchestration.
- Because BlueConic provides marketing access to real-time data — and, in turn, increases its speed and improves its agility — it can now test and iterate on new ideas.
- Before, the team would’ve weighed its decision to test a new email campaign with a new segment against the cost: three-plus weeks and $5,000. Without that cost, though, team members can test and learn without having to weigh the risks and benefits.
Two teams. Two different objectives for using a CDP. But both are able to better accomplish their respective objectives — and realize far greater efficiency (and ROI) with BlueConic.
How a customer data platform contributes to greater business efficiency
BlueConic customers that get the most value from our CDP know it’s a shared investment.
One that benefits multiple teams, as each has its own processes and use cases that can co-exist with those of other users — and all can benefit from unified profiles.
Several teams and users can work within BlueConic to carry out their core tasks. Specifically, they can execute on as many business use cases as desired. (And at the same time.)
- For instance, data science can build and deploy predictive models in AI Workbench. Their output can be used by marketing (one-to-one messaging, optimizing ad spend.)
- Our Jupyter notebooks allows data scientists to schedule models at their preferred cadence. As they run, individuals’ profiles and related segments update dynamically.
- Because all this happens in one platform, it eliminates the need for data handoffs. (And even the need for a data scientist to refresh a model to create new segments.)
- This process is now automated and can even be scheduled by a non-technical user. And the impact of these scoring and models means multiple teams become more efficient.
Each growth team benefits from the close proximity of these scores to their engagement channels. But they also get time back in their day to focus on more strategic tasks:
- Marketing teams get freedom to experiment: Profiles update automatically with each scheduled model refresh, and segments update in real time based on those profile attributes. That means marketers can get more creative and experiment with engagement activities. For instance, they can test new campaigns with various segments. And won’t have to wait for data science to provide a static segment list.
- Ecommerce teams build dynamic experiences: Ecommerce can use propensity-to-buy and -churn models in addition to other customer attributes (e.g., past purchases, loyalty status) to deliver relevant messaging. Data about customers’ behaviors and transactions are automatically captured in the profile and can be used as inputs to train the model. This creates a feedback loop to continuously improve customer experiences.
- Product teams test new engagement models: Teams that are responsible for growing audiences or finding new revenue streams can use the output of predictive modeling to optimize their spending and costs. Audiences that are likely to subscribe, for example, get no discount offers. Meanwhile, those that are not, get a 20% off offer.
Regardless of your industry or business model, BlueConic can eliminate inefficient processes and increase operational efficiency so all growth teams can scale and streamline their work.
What C-suites must consider when investing in a CDP to boost efficiency
Of course, improved business efficiency is only realized with proactive measures.
That includes making changes to personnel (e.g., hiring new employees, training staff members) and processes (e.g., ensuring the aforementioned teams work better together).
But it also means changing how you think about your technology investment decisions.
Too often, when C-suites evaluate tech, they focus on how a given solution will improve revenue and track the success of tools against key performance indicators for programs.
But they don’t always put equal weight in how tools can optimize processes, free up time for tech users, and reduce friction between teams to realize desired revenue growth.
That’s why operational efficiency becomes so important for these businesses today.
It’s what really gives growth-focused teams and tech users the time and freedom to experiment, act more quickly and flexibly as business conditions and goals change, and adapt with greater ease as consumer behaviors, wants, and needs change.
As BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach explained in a post for Toolbox, effective change management, starting at the top of the business, is your path to successful adoption of transformative technologies. Specifically, a CDP:
- “When change is managed correctly, marketers and their adjacent teams in product, data, and analytics can realize the full potential of their CDP investment not only in the outcomes it delivers … but also in the operational efficiencies it drives.”
Translation? Change comes when companies choose tools in the context of how they aspire to function and deliver value. Not in the context of who owns it and its bells and whistles.
The features and functionality of your (presumably numerous) business technologies are certainly important. As are the people and processes you put in place around those systems.
But, first and foremost, you must evaluate solutions not only how the help with short-term goals, but also how they can help you transform your organization in the long run.
That is, how they’ll improve efficiencies and, in turn, profit margins in the years ahead.
And you won’t find a better solution that can help you avoid operational silos, ensure strong alignment among growth-focused teams, and elevate business efficiency than a CDP.
Request a BlueConic demo today to discover how your company can improve its business efficiency and accelerate growth with our pure-play customer data platform.