Get to know Amperity’s newest executive hire, Chris Chapo. After spending two decades of retail analytics experience most recently as SVP of Data and Analytics at GAP Inc., he joins Amperity as VP of Customer Success responsible for expanding our analytics and customer intelligence offering and helping our customers turn analytics into actionable business outcomes.
Tell us about your time at Gap and how it translates to your new role at Amperity?
At GAP Inc., I led the team responsible for data-driven, evidence-based strategies across the enterprise, from customer and marketing, to supply chain to product operations. My primary expertise is building data science organizations and platforms, and I’ve been able to apply statistical and analytic rigor to a variety of functions including marketing, customer experience, loyalty, customer service/support, and supply chain/inventory analytics.
As a former customer of Amperity’s, I saw firsthand how their data foundation transforms business and customer analytics. I knew I had to be a part of the company’s next stage of growth.
At Amperity I will be responsible for expanding the company’s analytics and customer intelligence offering following Amperity’s recent acquisition of Custora’s customer analytics platform. Every modern brand needs to invest in bringing together two elements of clashing crafts – data-driven decisions/initiatives, and branded customer experiences. Amperity is known for providing some of the largest consumer brands with the strongest, most complete customer data foundation, yet the greatest challenge lies in making that data actionable and turning it into insights that drive a positive impact on the business.
How should brands view the urgency of customer-centricity today?
These are unprecedented times, shrouded in uncertainty. But now is not the time to divest from customer-centricity or any of the things that enable it. There will naturally be some cost-cutting across the board given current circumstances, but one thing that can't be on the chopping block would be anything that keeps the company from communicating in a personalized, relevant, and time-sensitive way with the customer. That is paramount.
Now more than ever, that empathy for your customer base is important. How do you understand and service their needs in a difficult time? Strategically, it begins with a 360 view of the customer.
The same data infrastructure that underlies a relevant and personalized message is the one that will help you reduce waste from your marketing activities overall. If brands are looking to cut costs, the 360 customer will guide where they pull back strategically, and also where they need to lean in and provide ongoing support.
Once business recovers and you find yourself needing to enable customer retention strategies, you don't want to have to go back out in a year's time after you've cut costs and divested of the infrastructure that's intended to keep them there in the first place.
What is the importance of a data foundation for successful analytics?
You want to provide the best experiences, that are personalized to each one of your customers. Without Amperity - the only truly comprehensive customer data foundation I’ve seen - no one actually knows who their customers are because identity resolution at scale is an incredibly difficult problem to solve and technology to build. Maybe you have some customer insights or campaign data, but if the foundation of customer data feeding those insights isn’t comprehensive or unified across channels, you’re going to make poor decisions. Amperity has solved this problem better than anybody else.
Now once solved, layer on enticing analytics so that you can actually begin to drive those automated, personalized experiences. That's why I was excited about Amperity: you can layer or build anything on top of it. That's the secret sauce. A multichannel retailer may be sitting on vast amounts of customer data from different sources, but without a unified identity, there’s really nothing there. Your analytics is only as good as the customer data foundation that supports it.
How do you see the role of analytics leaders in today’s enterprise?
Analytics leaders help translate between data technology and business decisioning. Companies have the data and the tools to activate it, but the ability to learn from data and have it inform business strategy is where the analytics function really shines. You need to think simultaneously as a data scientist and as a business entrepreneur, working bilingually between what are often times, separate languages.
Analytics is too often seen as a tool that answers questions about the business but doesn’t necessarily seek to guide future decisions. But with the data foundation and Customer 360 that Amperity provides, analytics can and should have an immediate and lasting impact on overall strategy.
Something that people don’t know about you?
While you might see from my LinkedIn profile that I’m a scientist (physical chemist) by training, it's a little known secret that while in graduate school I had the opportunity to be an extra in the Robin Williams movie Flubber as someone in my research group was the science advisor for the movie. And somehow in the sea of hundreds of extras, I was one of the handful who was credited in the IMBD for a period of time. I like to think of this as my 15 milliseconds of fame.