9 min read
Finding the Customer Data Solutions that Work for You
By Rebecca Scully
There were several announcements this week on offerings to help companies better connect with their customers. Salesforce has a new approach; LiveRamp is adding capability; and Microsoft, SAP, and Adobe are now working together. This comes as no surprise – there’s huge value to be gained in building better customer relationships, and a lot of hurdles to get there. These hurdles are the reason we founded Amperity and built the world’s first intelligent customer data platform.
We’ve been working with brands in the space for nearly three years now, and we’ve learned a lot about all the different capabilities available. We know that not all solutions will work for all brands and that the right solution comes from a combination of best-of-breed products and solutions. When you read the news, go a level deeper to make sure the platform or vendor you’re considering is able to solve the specific problems your business is facing today and will face in the future as you grow and scale, and that allows you to tap into the full power of the ecosystem. Here are some questions to ask and areas to explore as you consider your next steps.
Identity resolution that works for your data
Not every vendor solves for the same types of customer data challenges. As we’ve written about before, the traditional approach to customer data management doesn’t work for many large consumer brands. While some brands have a single identifier that spans all their systems, more often the data is messy, lacks linking keys across sources, and changes frequently as you add new programs and technologies. Many approaches rely on ETL, complex and difficult-to-maintain connectors, and fuzzy or deterministic matching, all of which leave a you without a complete customer 360 if you aren’t starting with clean data and static systems. As you research your options, make sure the offering you’re considering has an identity resolution approach that works for you. We built Amperity from the ground up to leverage machine learning and cloud-scale to revolutionize customer data management. As a result, we are able to unify customer data from all your existing systems, and building the most complete customer profiles possible.
A tailor made customer 360
Your company is unique. Your customers are unique. Your business is unique. Many vendors start with a specific definition of a customer profile and take a one-size-fits-all approach. If this definition works for you, great. Otherwise, during implementation, your data must conform to a potentially narrower scope. This can result in the loss of important information about your customers, like how they engage with your specific products, or the off-the-beaten-path ways they’ve interacted with your brand. In working with our customers we’ve discovered that even though many things are the same across their businesses, it is what makes them unique that matters. These small things often define the soul of your business and they are not items to be removed, but the very things that need to be understood. Find a system that conforms to your data, not the other way around, and creates a customer 360 optimized for you.
Invest in your own data asset
There are many ways to get to know consumers. Third party data offers amazing insight into consumer demographics and purchase intent. Second party data can open up entirely new audiences that are the perfect fit for your products. But first party data is the foundation upon which your entire data strategy must be built. If you don’t invest in your own data asset – collecting customer data in innovative ways, combining it to understand your customers, modeling it to garner new insights, and acting on it to personalize experiences – you’re ignoring the gold mine under your feet. At Amperity, our focus is on unlocking your data, an investment that pays off in the short and the long term.
Many of the brands we work with have taken a best-of-breed approach to building their marketing technology stacks. This allows them the freedom to tailor their investments to their particular business objectives. It also allows them to experiment with new technologies and products as they come online, a clear advantage in a rapidly changing and highly competitive marketplace.
To enable a best-of-breed approach, there are two important factors to consider. First, you should to steer clear of solutions that trap your data within a single ecosystem. If a vendor wants you to buy their data management solution, their analytics environment, and their suite of engagement tools, it’s a red flag. Second, you need a customer data management foundation that’s built for flexibility. This means it can ingest data from any source and push data out to any destination in the precise formats that your end systems require. Amperity was built from the ground-up for the flexibility you need to enable a best-of-breed approach.
Move fast and insist on results
At Amperity, we know that the world moves quickly – and you need to move faster. We also know that you can’t take a leap of faith when investing in your core customer data foundation. That’s why we’ve built a platform that’s up and running in weeks, enabling an iterative, test-and-learn approach. In the first 90 days Amperity is ingesting real data, finding hidden connections between customers, creating a unique customer profile tailored to your company, and creating your first segments. We follow with rapid iterations that add more data sources and light up more use cases, with the flexibility to adapt as we learn together. This means, in a few short months, our customers have achieved remarkable results.