The consolidated series on how CDPs unlock personalization
Marketing personalization has been the goal of marketers and marketing technologists for years. The proliferation of marketing applications has to lead to a lot of options to personalize the customer experience and has lead to the fragmentation of customer data. This fragmentation is what prevents marketing, product, and sales from understanding their customers as a whole.
There is a lot to cover so I made a digestible series where I will share ideas and use cases that marketers can achieve from a customer data platform. This consolidated series is packed with information needed to make a business case for a CDP.
Part1: Personalization Whats and Whys
Part 2: Data-driven Customer Segmentation
Part 3: Engagement Scores to Predict customer Retention
Part 4: CDPs Gives Visibility Into Your Customer Journey
Part 5: Finding ROI from CDPs
Part 1 - Personalization Whats and Whys
Customer data platforms (CDPs) are working to make personalization a reality for marketers. But how so exactly? In researching and practicing this topic I found that there are three key ways in which you can leverage your CDP technology and unlock marketing performance: data-driven segmentation, engagement scores, and customer journey personalization.
In the past, I shared personalization tactics that you can implement in the context of the customer journey. In this post, I want to start with the fundamentals then share specific examples of personalization tactics that are unlocked by CDP technology like VIEWN.
One could argue that perhaps a mixture of other technologies also can unlock these personalization tactics. My direct experience is with CDPs and it’s exciting in its efficiency and modular structure.
Quickly defined, marketing personalization or personalized marketing, is the practice of using data to deliver meaningful brand messages that are targeted to an individual prospect. This is to convey a one-on-one customer experience. Personalization flips traditional marketing on its head, in that targeting is both more efficient and effective than appealing to the masses hoping to acquire a small number of customers. Analytics are more sophisticated and better data collection on individual prospects allowing marketers to communicate with prospects using the most relevant message at the ideal time.
The arguments for Personalized Marketing
It delivers better experiences:
74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized. - Instapage
36% of consumers say retailers need to do more to offer personalized experiences. - Retail TouchPoints
Customers say it works:
66% of consumers say encountering content that isn’t personalized would stop them from making a purchase. - CMO by Adobe
72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging. - SmarterHQ
Personalization unlocked by a CDP
Powerful CDP-fueled personalization solutions will help you design and deliver a more personalized customer experience (CX) that your customers want and deserve. And we start at the top with your customers first. Have you validated your segmentation assumptions against the customer data that you have? Have you experienced shortcomings with traditional focus groups like missing other target segments? A CDP can take the customer data you have, and begin to distill customer segments organically from real-world data.
The second part will explore engagement scores looking at new and innovative ways to look across the different applications and still get a sense of how customers are interacting with you. We will look at the next evolution of Lead Scoring and see how Engagement Scores really takes the same notion and applies it to more marketing channels often required for orchestrating communications. A CDP can extend the data collection and scoring capabilities which at the very least improve the quality of marketing qualified leads.
The final and third part explores use cases from the customer journey in order to improve the customer experience directly with data and smart lists- export functionality core to CDPs. Optimizing the customer experience with analytics and the data you have driven many-core personalization tactics available. Digital marketing is often too satisfied with the email automation solution they have and miss the new channels preferred by the valued segment. CDPs like VIEWN compliment customer journey applications.
CX is a top priority of product managers, CX, and marketers - so if your organization still has some CX boxes to check, increasing customer personalization is critical and this series will be helpful. I’m excited to share my experience at VIEWN so far implementing real-world personalization techniques that deliver impactful results for different brands like increasing ways to sell and transforming customer retention.
Part 2 - Data-Driven Customer Segmentation
Industry analysts state that marketers purchase Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) for two core functions: 1. Identity management and 2. Segmentation. The value of customer segments defined from your real and most-current customer data is invaluable in nearly all parts of your business. Both B2B and B2C marketing teams benefit from this CDP segmented data but may look to weigh customer characteristics differently. I highlight use cases for both here.
Especially important for B2C brands, real customer segments consist of nuances in customer attitudes toward a product or service. Buyer attitudes can be a bit tricky- and not readily addressable from out-of-box data your customer is creating. New innovations around customer surveys like those from CEO Analytics, can capture attitudes and preferences in an unbiased manner from your mailing lists, social media Ads, or directly as a customer engages in your well-planned customer journey. Understanding customer attitudes towards different value propositions, brand recognition, or core features can greatly improve the messaging - central to personalization and customer loyalty.
And, the need has never been greater. Consumer behavior will permanently change and attitudes towards brands aren’t the most rational since COVID-19 social distancing, social unrest, and economic uncertainty. Traditional marketing shortcomings are showing up in the data in the form of longer wait-times, falling conversions rates, and increasing complaints. The nature of sampling, and finding willing participants can be biased toward people who can attend and who are more willing to speak up. This will lead you down the wrong path. We’ve learned recently that this wrong path can include leaving out minorities and lower-income levels.
Uncovering your key customer segments organically from data is our value proposition at VIEWN. It also provides a more unbiased approach to customer marketing. Innovation in data collection and analysis allows brands to validate their persona assumptions and adjust their content strategy more dynamically to what is going on in reality. CDP-fueled segmentation reveals to brands real-world information about people what they love and the channels they use.
B2C Use Case Example:
Addressing Churn with Customer Segmentation
A weight-loss program had much success bringing in consistent revenues with a solution targeting women but could improve churn and wanted to know which new audiences would drive growth moving forward. After collecting attitudinal data from CEO Analytics surveys, they uncovered prioritized attitudes by segment towards weight loss. This was accomplished in a manner of weeks.
Specifically, the team looked at three main factors that both lapsed customers and paying customers considered when evaluating weight loss programs: 1. Permanent results 2. Happiness about oneself 2. Cost.
This allowed them to align content around the important values of new more profitable segments. With a fraction of the marketing budget, they were able to create social media ads with specific messaging around the proven factors that covert.
We took the key insights and new customer segments, bringing the data into the CDP for further analysis with order data. Analyzing order data to evaluate product usage and sales, while filtering and slicing the information around the different customer segments, like working moms, revealed deeper insights about sales performance by segments. This informed the team of product mix opportunities and customer retention campaign ideas.
Middle-aged professionals looking to grow and gain a long-awaited promotion seemed to be a good segment with a clear motivation.
To address the problem of lapsed customers, a common problem in this industry, the insights informed the creative team’s win-back campaigns. The content to address churn emphasized key points on social media: 1. Fits into your lifestyle, 2. Uses the power of the mind and 3. Achieves fast results.
B2B Use Case Example:
Timing nurturing around a segment's behaviors
Within the marketing technology space, the primary buyer persona from the research showed Marketing VP followed by the CEO. The audience segments are nurtured differently because they have different needs and motivators. We did uncover behaviors that were similar between the two segments- their daily rituals of consuming information in the morning, especially Forbes. Our customer data platform takes individual profile information, considers the value-driving customer segments, cross-references it with geographic data to help when determining the timing of appropriate morning email communications, and afternoon social media ads that are pushed through our marketing automation platform.
These use cases are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the value data-driven customer segmentation brings to brands and marketing teams. With real-time data coming in to address rapidly changing trends, with our approach your brand can deliver empathy and create more meaningful and impactful messages to your valued customer segments. Addressing churn and increasing customer retention with informed and modular data set is the big differentiator in CDP fueled personalization.
Part 3 - Personalized marketing solutions that CDPS deliver
Most marketers have pretty much adopted the concept of lead scores to access where a prospect is in the funnel. They apply the score to marketing qualified leads in hopes to set sales up for an easier close. And this market acceptance has really fueled innovation. Application of predictive scores in customer engagement and personalized marketing is still young and emerging but has BIG potential.
A lead score is easy when you are working with one system and simple workflows. Insight into opens, click-throughs, and attendees informs the adjustments you need to make. It also helps save costs when you cancel the campaigns that don’t convert. As more business applications are used to drive your customer journey, the help of CDP technology, like VIEWN’s platform, will be critical to innovating into the next phase with Engagement Scores and Retention Prediction Scores.
Digital marketing can more efficiently look at opens and bounces from a single view. Even if the customer journey is tied together from a variety of apps, like email automation, webinars, CRMs, and POSs. Customer journey metrics in terms of usage and combined engagement scoring can provide deeper insights into how your customers interact with your brand so drill down into what they are doing and how they want to interact.
Engagement scores can be used to gain a better perspective of what is going on in a marketing funnel that seems to have many entryways, different speeding lanes, and a bunch of swirls before exiting. It weighs and measures the entryways and swirls from an individual’s perspective to gauge whether your customer is having a good experience. Engagement scores can be applied to predictive algorithms as well as a weighted average of different interactions tied to campaign types. This approach can be used to predict marketing qualified leads and factors that impact customer retention.
B2C Use Case Example:
Engagement scores to predict customer retention
At VIEWN, we are using our customer data platform to build more engagement scores that take in the bigger picture and that can consider the context of the customer journey in evaluating engagement health. Marketers need to be able to use the tools they have already invested in and we honor that by connecting to any source. Our experience with predictive analytics, in particular, has us looking at combined engagement scores to try to understand what it takes for a customer to stay subscribed one more month.
In this business with over twenty-five thousand customers, the buyer and user are not necessarily the same person, and much consideration is taken before purchase. In the CDP, data is brought together with lead scores from their marketing automation system, attitudinal data on motivations and purchasing factors, customer support tickets, and product usage measures from existing customers. This data represents the measurable engagement along the customer lifecycle and gave us characteristics to start looking at what factors will get a customer to stay.
At the customer profile level, these engagement scores can be tied to customer retention efforts. For example, a support ticket that comes in just after purchase can change the engagement score and trigger the profile for level two service in order to keep the customer from canceling. The product marketing team put together campaigns and promotions to test what will keep good customers from churning out. Further, at the time of renewal, email nurturing about the product's continued value may make sense. We continue to test for factors that move the needle.
Engagement scores can take the lead score and apply it to both on-line and off-line events within the customer journey before purchase and can be used to begin predicting customer retention after purchase. With the onset of big data and artificial intelligence applied to CDPs, the engagement score is just emerging but can deliver value to marketing effectiveness.
Part 4 - CDPs gives visibility into your Customer Journey
Orienting your marketing analysis and efforts using customer journeys may be the most powerful way to empathize with the experience your customers have interacting with your brand. And this applies to both on-line and off-line experiences- not just digital marketing optimization. Customers are constantly creating data for brands, now we need customer data platforms (CDPs) to make sense of it.
Making your customer’s buyer engagement world-class requires looking at your customer journey from lead-to-renewal then adding processes and systems that function in real-time while taking in new contextual factors like brand trends to define better more personalized messages. Sounds like a lot? A CDP can make customer journey analytics manageable within your own marketing team.
With CDPs, marketing analysts can have control of wrangling and securing customer data, but also be a deeply empathetic customer expert who understands the attitudes and behavioral nuances of the different segments.
In my last installment, I described how CDPs are used for engagement scoring which gives you insight into the health of your customer experience. And yes, engagement scores could be bucketed within customer journey analytics. But what I like to describe here are the ways analytics give you visibility into the details of what’s going on. These inform personalization tactics.
Customer journeys analytics to unlock marketing personalization
Analytics in general has vital importance in reviewing the vast amounts of data created in the digital world. Customer journey analytics can provide a quantitative link between customer experience and hard metrics like revenue growth by channel or profitability by offering. The challenge in getting there is due to the amount of disparate digital data sources, an inherent requirement is that the data be cleaned and processed before being loaded into “self-service” analytical tools like Tableau or PowerBI. In fact, according to Gartner’s 2019 Multichannel Marketing Survey, 58% of marketers said leveraging integrated customer data was a significant or moderate challenge. This is where a CDP fills in the gap to get the data ready for insights and customer journey analytics.
Inherently, CDPs readily connect to data sources like CRMs, POSs, email automation, and programmatic advertising. Further, marketers need everything in the context of time and seasons across all the channels where customers engage. But CDPs are up to the task by being able to handle identity management rules, organize and prioritize the different keys and identifiers as well as keep track of individual journeys over time.
What do you want to know?
Once you are set up, the excitement begins. This is where personalization becomes unlocked by the visibility you have from actual customer journeys. With the data in the customer profiles, you have a modular solution to slice and dice for insights. Cutting the jargon out, marketers get answer key questions like:
What is really happening versus what I laid out to happen in my customer journey?
Which campaigns are used to keep our valued customers with us?
When is the best time to ask for a referral?
Which offers are impacting loyalty and referrals?
Can I find a cadence of communication that works without overwhelming?
Which topics seem to need repeating?
What combination of tactics converts leads to customers most effectively?
What combination of tactics keeps customers most cost-effectively?
Are there groups that behave the same way?
What is the minimum number of interactions before purchase?
Which campaign tactics are working? Is it working for just some?
How many attempts does it take to reach a customer before getting a response?
Do reminders work? And by how much?
Am I nurturing my customers in the ways they need?
B2B Use Case Example:
Finding under-engaged segments in the buyer journey
For a healthcare services company, we found quite a number of customers registered for the same webinar over and over but never attended signaling interest in the topic but suggesting difficulty with the timing. The register data and email open showed engagement was high for, however, the actual conversion signaled an opportunity to improve our connection.
We partnered with Boston-based marketing consultants, Revenue Architects, and dove into a reusable solution with customer journey analytics starting with webinar data, web interaction data and 3rd party firmographics.
Through audience isolation methodology and a CDP at the core to crunch the data, the team targeted specific audiences based on location and title. For example, we looked at engagement from prospects in Legal vs Finance, practitioners vs managers, and policy heavy states like CA and FL. They went on to use the same data to create a new campaign after finding engaging segments by characteristics including organization type, purchasing stakeholder role, and team size. Better targeting which more impactful message improved conversions even when it was to educate a key influencer. Practically and more tactically, the insights informed updates to templates, timing, and frequency of the webinar and white paper offering in a new improved marketing funnel.
The big barriers to getting customer journey analytics once several applications are being used are getting that information in one place and in a coherent manner. CDPs were invented to solve the data connection problem and the identification problem. When used to segment and look at customer journey analytics, then you can begin to answer a myriad of questions that gives you visibility. When you can see what is happening and what is working, personalization happens.
Part 5 - Finding FOI from CDPs
Look if it doesn’t make you more money or if it doesn’t get you more customers, then what’s the point? I decided to close this series, with a return on your CDP investment. So far, I have shared different use cases that encompass personalization enabled by a CDP, like VIEWN’s. It is important to talk about the return of investment that you can get from these personalization solutions.
I tend to think of an investment in CDP technology as more than just an IT investment, but rather an investment in being customer-centric and in customer experience (CX). And investments in CX is definitely nothing new, but still has a ton of room for improvement. In fact, a spring 2020 survey conducted by User Testing, found that 95% of executives report that CX is important, but only a third of employees surveyed said that their organization has a proactive approach to CX. So many organizations are just reacting to the market rather than leading it. What is causing the discrepancy? The survey goes on to say only 50% of respondents were empowered to use customer insights to inform decision making. They need a CDP. Getting the data together to build empathy with your customer is what’s missing. This is where a CDP fills in the gap- getting the data ready for insights.
Increasing revenue with personalization
While marketing departments may only still be scratching the surface in terms of the benefits Marketing Personalization brings. Technology innovation like CDPs is allowing marketers to get closer. Most customers are responding to personalization tactics now only purchasing when it is accompanied by pleasant customer experience. Deeply understanding the customer relationships your brand has cultivated, is the point of marketing. Building relationships implies multiple interactions with your brand over time.
Personalizing more of these interactions with tactics along the customer journey can pay off with greater customer satisfaction, increased retention, and strong brand loyalty. In researching the topic, I found case studies siting results in a 200% increase in revenue. Others claim projects that delivered a 3X increase in customer acquisition.
At VIEWN, we have narrowed our focus on segmented customer data to accelerate customer acquisition and target underserved segments while even throttling over-engaged segments. Because we look at a lot of digital journeys, % Increase in Conversion and Time to Close are both closely evaluated as you can start measuring things and look for the immediate insights. Conversion rates and speed to close are both revenue measurements that can be optimized with real-time tactics. We move the needle, by increasing Revenue per Customer from segmentation by providing customer insights regarding cross-selling and retargeting. Engagement scores and NPS are measures to get referrals and prevent churn, which also drives up revenue.
Controlling advertising effectiveness
Given the current economic headwinds, all marketers are looking at costs. Ad budgets are being modified because messaging needs tweaking to reflect the times. More medium-term KPIs to look at when justifying expenses are Efficiency in Ad Spend and Advertising Budget Spread across valued segments.
Our goals are to keep low customer acquisition costs with more relevant targeted ads and higher Ad conversions also known ROAS. Re-distribute Ad spend across a greater section of segments can be a useful tactic when looking to reach more audiences in order to grow.
The clearest and least debated way to look at your Return on Investment is baselining and comparing campaigns and how much you spent on Ads to grow your customer base. For example, for Project A, you spent $250 weeks on Ads to get 100 new customers. For Project B, you spent $250 on Ads and brought in 200 more customers. Project B does twice as better. It doesn't hurt to keep it simple while getting answers quickly.
Return on CDP Investments
For years selling enterprise software and cloud solutions, IT value propositions focused on speed to insights and data crunching duration. And while they were measurable benefits of IT, they often fell short in bridging the benefits of the greater business. As both a consultant selling solutions and a product manager producing solutions, I found this gap causes so much internal debate between departments on what’s really working. My recommendation when trying to quantify CDP returns is to focus on the solution value rather than the technological value.
Launching VIEWN has me learning a lot about describing sales values in terms of Better, Faster, Cheaper. And I’ve been trying to tie the KPIs and growth metrics to these sales values. As no CDPs are built exactly the same, how easy it is to get these returns varies. But it helps to make sure you know what you are going after with every program and initiative. Since the series, is about solutions unlocked from CDPs, the KPIs need to be about the value they bring. Here is a list of measurables by type.
CDPs makes CX BETTER:
Increases Customer Satisfactions
Drives Up NPS
Healthy Engagement Scores
CDPs makes money FASTER:
Increases Revenue per Customer
Increased Sales Conversion Rates
More targeted segments
Increased Digital Interactions
CDPs make marketing CHEAPER:
Strong Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
Increased Sales Conversion Rates
Increased Digital Interactions
Higher Customer Retention Rates
Lower Customer Churn
Solutions unlocked from CDPs, the KPIs need to be about the solution value they bring. You can get a strikingly good return grom Customer Segmentation, Engagement Scores, and Customer Journeys Analytics. I have even noted metrics that don't take forever to get insights. These solutions drive marketing personalization and are unlocked by new CDP technology that unified the data from different apps and puts them into profiles to be sliced and diced into insights that drive customer experience. This is an exciting time to be a marketing technologist.