It’s not enough for companies to simply break down data silos by connecting disparate solutions across their technology stacks today. They must also ensure all their platforms and applications ‘speak’ with one another and share critical customer data and business information in real time.
Not every technology setup offers this kind of essential interoperability, though.
Take the ‘all-in-one’ marketing clouds. Many claim to provide a single customer view and connectivity among all solutions in their suites. The reality is they offer useful tools and apps, but they don’t sync well (or at all). What’s more, users often can’t import data that resides outside the suite into the suite.
This deters efficient data utilization and the ability to achieve desired business outcomes.
A best-of-breed stack built around a truly interoperable system — such as a pure-play customer data platform (CDP) like BlueConic — offers more value for organizations today.
With this tech setup, companies gain the agility and flexibility they need to thrive and adjust on the fly when business priorities, economic conditions, and consumer behaviors change.
Why interoperability matters — and how it impacts your growth-focused teams
Marketing, customer experience, analytics, ecommerce and other growth-focused teams can’t execute efficiently when forced to rely on an inflexible approach to integrations with other data sources and systems.
They need tech-agnostic stacks that ensure all data sources and systems sync seamlessly, share data with one another, and enable them to act on data when and where they need.
The ideal interoperable technology checks three important boxes for businesses:
- 1) Connections with all other solutions: Business intelligence tools, campaign management software, ecommerce platforms, adtech: Interoperable databases can integrate with any other system in companies’ data and tech ecosystem.
- 2) Data-agnostic configuration: Regardless of the types or sources of customer data, an interoperable solution can handle any and all data types from any platform.
- 3) Schema-less architecture and ‘pluggability’: The optimal interoperable tech also has a schema-less, profile-database architecture and allows for ‘pluggable’ customization.
Based on these specific criteria, BlueConic passes the interoperability test. Our CDP:
- Can handle other data types and allow our customers to match identifiers across platforms and sources to create accurate, individual-level customer profiles
- Was deliberately designed to enable our customers to add both BlueConic plug-ins (e.g., dialogues, listeners, insights) and/or custom plug-ins to their tenants
Regarding this latter functionality, BlueConic’s unique architecture allows for the creation of modularized customizations and extensions in the form of server-side ‘plug-ins.’
These plug-ins are small pieces of software or modules that add a feature to BlueConic and can be developed, installed, maintained, or removed independent of BlueConic’s core foundation.
How BlueConic’s interoperability accelerates growth for our customers
Consent statuses, recent purchases, email and ad clicks, product preferences: All data from our CDP’s pluggable connections updates in real time in persistent customer profiles and informs everything from segment creation to customer scores.
Thanks to this real-time connectivity, BlueConic customers are able to utilize this data confidently for their growth initiatives (e.g., democratizing data science and analytics, creating new digital products) and key programs (e.g., executing loyalty program launches, testing seasonal or holiday offers).
Consider how BlueConic customer HEINEKEN USA leverages our CDP’s interoperability:
- HEINEKEN wanted to optimize its media spend and develop more direct customer relationships. The problem was it relied too heavily on third-party data and cookies for its ad programs and didn’t have ‘owned data it could use to build DTC relationships.
- So, the company prioritized its ‘consumer data journey’ — specifically, the collection of first-party data. Using a combination of BlueConic listeners and connections, it began gathering data from both online (e.g., site visits) and offline (e.g., festivals, concerts) sources and merging that with data from retail and delivery partners.
- Today, HEINEKEN now has millions of ‘golden consumer records’ in BlueConic (categorized into ‘Gold,’ ‘Silver,’ and ‘Bronze’ tiers). This helps the multi-brand company gain richer insights into shoppers and how to best engage them.
This facet of BlueConic’s interoperability — actionable, dynamically updated, first-party data always at technology users’ fingertips — distinguishes our CDP from legacy databases.
Data lakes and master data management systems, for example, can store all customer data for a given company. But the legwork it takes to make that data actionable for growth teams requires a substantial amount of IT and/or data science resources.
By the time that data reaches marketing or analytics, it’s latent and effectively useless.
The interoperability of tech like a CDP empowers marketers, in particular, to “optimize the full customer journey,” LiveRamp CEO Scott Howe wrote for Harvard Business Review.
For instance, BlueConic ensures all first-party data is readily available for lifecycle orchestration: explicit responses to where individuals are on their customer journeys. This approach eliminates our customers’ need for (or, at least, reliance on) static, outbound campaigns as their primary activation method.
“[R]ather than executing marketing campaigns in dozens of siloed channels using multiple proprietary technologies, marketers can instead create omnichannel plans” based on a holistic, real-time customer view and in a single user interface with interoperable technology, Howe added.
Moving to a best-of-breed approach with a CDP as your interoperable database
“[I]n this environment, it’s never been more apparent that marketers need technology that’s flexible, interoperable and adaptable,” BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach wrote for Forbes.
The marketing cloud suites don’t offer any of those traits for your organization. In fact, these suites limit your business use cases and the places from which you can pull in customer data.
A best-of-breed tech stack built around a customer data platform like BlueConic, meanwhile, does offer these characteristics. Notably, this approach offers several benefits, including:
- A single UI featuring a uniform, up-to-date first-party data set from which every growth team can work from — not multiple interfaces spanning multiple solutions that may feature different, incomplete, and/or inaccurate data sets.
- The ability for data scientists to streamline the creation and deployment of machine learning models and for marketers, CX professionals, and analysts to derive insights from those models without having to wait on data science.
- Accelerated time to value for teams like marketing and CX who interact directly with customers as well as the ability to experiment with new engagement approaches and channels, given they can add new tools whenever they require.
With a best-of-breed tech stack that’s custom-tailored to your unique business needs and goals — and a pure-play CDP like BlueConic as the interoperable, centralized database at the heart of your stack — your company can scale its data-liberation efforts and achieve true business transformation.
Learn more about the interoperability BlueConic offers companies today and how you can benefit from our customer data platform. Request a demo of our pure-play CDP today.