Based on both RFPs submitted to BlueConic and conversations our team has had with companies interested in customer data platforms (CDP), we’ve seen how organizations across industries and with different business models evaluate and choose CDPs.
We’ve also learned the typical stakeholders who are involved in CDP assessment.
Leaders from marketing, customer experience, commerce, digital products, analytics and other growth-focused teams come to the table with their C-suites and IT teams to select their initial CDP use cases, define their ‘minimum viable data’ for those use cases, and develop their overall CDP roadmap to achieve their desired return on investment.
Some of the most important voices at this table are those of data and analytics leaders.
That’s because these individuals bring a unique and valuable perspective regarding their companies’ technology stacks that can help them make the right investments — and ensure all technology users can make the most of their first-party data.
Why data and analytics leaders need a seat at the table for CDP assessment
Data and analytics leaders — from CDOs and business intelligence analysts to customer insights directors and data scientists — tackle many tasks during tech evaluations:
- Determining the efficacy of prospective tools and how they complement existing tools
- Considering how those tools bring customer data into their tech and data ecosystem
- Understanding how potential database technologies are organized and structured (e.g., their unique data architectures, how they send data to activation solutions)
In other words, data and analytics leaders provide a different perspective than their counterparts in marketing and CX on what makes a given platform suitable (or unsuitable) for growth-focused teams based on the above factors, among others.
It’s only when there is ongoing communication among these leaders regarding team needs, business goals, and preferred use cases that we see the greatest success with the CDP evaluation process (and eventual CDP implementation).
As BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach noted in our recent Analytics Unite session, “If we’re not all talking about who our customer is at the same table, we also can’t select technology to support that view in terms of operationalizing.”
Some data and analytics leaders get into the trap of evaluating marketing and data technology in incomplete ways (i.e., solely assessing their features and functionality).
But savvy data and analytics pros come from an angle of ‘How will X solution impact the way we work across the entire organization — not just our team?’ when evaluating tools.
By bringing this mindset to the table and sharing their wealth of data experience and expertise, data and analytics leaders can ensure their company invests in a CDP that helps them unlock new insights and realize greater operational efficiency.
How data and analytics can help growth teams make the most of a CDP
Data and analytics’ technology utilization differs than that of marketing. But a pure-play customer data platform like BlueConic transforms how both teams work for the better.
Consider BlueConic customer VF Corp. The multi-brand apparel company took a calculated approach with its CDP evaluation process, ensuring departmental leaders across the organization not only had a say in what they wanted and needed in a CDP, but also involving them in every step of the assessment.
VF Corp. VP, Global Digital Consumer 360 & Advanced Analytics Reem Seghairoun led the evaluation process and ensured the business considered its ‘internal customers’ (i.e., those who will regularly use the platform) as much as its ‘external customers’ (i.e., consumers/shoppers) when making its decision.
“[W]e’ve learned that the roles that end up using the CDP across our brands do extend, in fact, beyond marketing into analytics, customer experience, and even strategy,” Reem stated during our 2020 MarTech Conference session.
Identifying the specific people who would use BlueConic and including them from the very beginning of the evaluation process gave their business teams the confidence to utilize BlueConic in their day-to-day and prevent them from having to ask IT for help, Reem added.
Specifically, this cross-departmental communication throughout the CDP review process and eventual BlueConic implementation has led to greater operational efficiency for all teams.
“The fact [VF] can cut 50 steps down to five or reduce a week’s worth of work to just one day through automation, those are material impacts for the bottom line of the business,” Cory indicated during our Analytics Unite session.
With access to sophisticated, real-time insights when and where they need it, the marketing orgs at VF brands that use BlueConic can better understand and engage customers.
Reem and Co. have also freed up time to focus on more strategic, long-term initiatives since they don’t have to spend as much time on tasks like data cleansing, since BlueConic automates customer profile clean-up.
Sharing data and analytics knowledge a key component to CDP success
During the CDP evaluation process and post-implementation, data and analytics leaders need to ensure their teams as well as other growth-focused teams are set up for success.
And that means sharing insights with teams like marketing so that, once they have their hands on better, more actionable data in the CDP, they can use that data with confidence.
Customer analytics pros have different skill sets and knowledge than marketers. They typically know more about things like identifying customer trends, building custom predictive models, comparing segments, and interpreting data.
That info can help their colleagues charged with engaging customers do so more effectively.
“You know your customers at the data level almost better than anyone,” Cory said during Analytics Unite. “So finding ways to bring that knowledge to bear and helping your marketing team think about activation in that context — that proximity of insight to activation — is really critical.”
Start with each team’s respective use cases, then liaise with them to learn which data and/or insights they need to execute: That’s how data and analytics leaders can empower the likes of marketing, customer service, ecommerce, and CX to orchestrate bespoke experiences and messaging to customers.
“If you have the data and analytics folks involved in their process, they’re constantly looking at, ‘What data are we getting back? How can we be thinking about the insights we’re bringing in?'” BlueConic SVP Customer Success Jackie Rousseau-Anderson stated during Analytics Unite.
It’s this multi-person approach to building a first-party data strategy centered around a CDP that’s “much more powerful than any one team working in a particular silo,” Jackie added.
And data and analytics teams play an essential role in the success of this strategy.
Download Forrester’s 2020 Now Tech: Customer Analytics Technologies report to learn more about the top data and analytics tools on the market — including BlueConic.